Since I started this blog over two years ago, I've noticed one thing has dramatically changed. Reflecting back over the last 200 or so posts, I've come to realize how thoughtfully I've refined and shifted my moral and ethical viewpoints. I started this blog right about the time I was making the leap to becoming a full-blown vegan. At the time of my becoming vegan, I had no idea how much I was still unaware of and where my new lifestyle would lead me.
I'm proud to say now, that I not only consider myself a vegan, but I consider myself to be an animal rights activist. I used to shy away from concern for animals, especially when I was a mere vegetarian, but I am now confident and proud to admit that my main concern is for animals. Looking back, I think I just failed to realize how fundamentally unjust the world is for animals and how deeply concerned I was for their justice at heart.
Starting out, I had little information and didn't feel comfortable debating complex animal rights issues, which is why I avoided it. The more I learned and the more confident I became, the more I realized how simple the message really is at the core. No one wants to harm sentient beings unnecessarily, but most of us do. We live in a world where dominating non-human animals is the norm, so most of us fail to realize that we all hold the ability to simply end it.
You don't have to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of animal rights theory to understand that animals suffer like us and that we have the power to stop it. We don't need to use animals to live healthfully and peacefully on this earth, but it's so widespread that we fail to recognize the obvious solution. We convince ourselves that it will never end, or that it's too hard, or that if it were so easy to avoid everyone else would be doing it too.
I've now come to understand that this isn't some new idea and that I feel no differently about the subject now than I did as a child. I never wanted to hurt animals or the earth, but it's only now that I've realized that I hold the power not to. I'm proud to say that in the past two years, I've witnessed a dramatic shift in the direction of veganism. It's so empowering to be surrounded by so many like-minded people and to know that we are making progress.
As I progress, I find myself becoming not more radical, but more outspoken. I can honestly say now that I only wish someone had awakened me earlier in my life. I now feel that beyond being a vegan, the main way I can contribute to the cause of ending animal exploitation and preserving the planet is through informing others. So, my projection for 2010 is to forge ahead and be as loud and clear as I can to create the largest effect possible.
One person can make a HUGE difference and we need lots of little "one peoples" planting seeds and ideas of change in order to shift the entire paradigm. Little by little, person by person, through a grassroots initiative, we are making dramatic progress. Most people already agree with the message, it's just a matter of empowering and informing people to align themselves with their hearts and minds.
Not to write a novel here, but one of the most important things I think we can all do besides becoming vegans, is to be visible to the public. Unfortunately, the system is against us and profits and industry are trying as hard as they can to keep us down. I thought I'd share a personal experience I recently encountered as I led a small, peaceful demonstration to educate the public about the myth of "humane" animal products.
I was simply exercising my right to free speech with a fellow activist when police had asked me to cease handing out literature. I'm not an expert in law, but I knew I had the right to do what I was doing. I ignored the police and continued my efforts at which time I was placed under arrest. Yes, I was arrested for handing out literature. Thankfully, the ACLU is now representing me! I plan to do an extended post concerning this troubling situation and will keep you all posted on the progress.
In the meantime, I'd like to share a video I took of the officer who arrested me right before the actual arrest. I am continuing these demonstrations at this location and this event has done nothing but fuel me to be an even more vocal advocate! This is not meant to scare you, but to encourage you to take a stand for what's right and continue spreading our important message.
So, in a nutshell, my New Year's resolution is to forge ahead with being the most effective force for change I can be! I hope all of you are inspired to do the same and I'm interested to know what your goals are for the new year. Please share them below :)
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