Sure, the standby resolutions like quitting smoking, losing weight, or cutting back on your drinking (and we don‘t mean water) are classics for a reason: they all reflect our desires to be slightly better in the coming year than we have been in the past. While there‘s nothing wrong with making an effort to shape up, why not extend your resolution repertoire into the activist realm? Here are a few of our favorite, fail-proof ways to help animals, make yourself a better person, and lose weight. Well, OK, you‘ll at least be helping animals!
Start a book club. No, you don‘t have to take up knitting, too, or slap a cozy on your teapot while you talk literature. It‘s up to individuals to bring important books like those read in our very own VegNews Book Club and countless others into the living rooms of our friends and neighbors. Don‘t forget to bake vegan goodies to share while you discuss some of the most important topics of our times.
Donate your time. If you agree with all of the reasons to adopt a veg lifestyle but lack the motivation to take the next step and promote your veg ethics, you may benefit from allowing yourself to get emotionally charged. The best way to get activated is to volunteer some time at a farm sanctuary. Getting to know the animals who would otherwise be exploited and killed for their meat and other body parts will surely stir up the activism that‘s been dormant until now. Find a sanctuary near you by logging on to farmanimalshelters.org.
Get active in local politics. For the newbie, a good way to dip one‘s toes into the political pond is to get a resolution passed in your town condemning battery-cage eggs. If the entire state of California can take a stance against the cruel practice of confining egg-laying hens—as it recently did in passing Prop. 2—so can your town. This is a great way to make a statement that will likely generate local support, and requires no sacrifice on the part of the town council—just a signature. While it won‘t directly or immediately affect change for chickens, it will likely cause a ripple effect that will get your local politicos and neighbors thinking about animal issues.
Get active—for human rights! Vegetarians are often accused of being a special-interest group that only cares about animal issues. Even if you‘re just making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and handing them out to homeless people on your own, each sandwich is a meatless meal for someone who would have otherwise gone without. For a more organized approach, get involved with your local chapter of Food Not Bombs, a nationwide network of volunteer-run groups who serve vegetarian meals to the homeless, or Compassion Over Killing, whose website has instructions for hosting a “feed-in.”
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