One way to manage this is to try and incorporate activist activities into the existing areas of your life. You can share a video on factory farming practices with your church group, for example, or ask your employer if they would consider supporting an animal rights organization at a local event.
Always pick your battles carefully. There are a lot of terrible things going on in the world, and you’re just one person. It’s better to make a real difference on one issue than to spread yourself so thin that you’re ineffective at all of them. Your activism could be as simple as starting a vegetarian support group or helping out at an animals rescue group, or as intensive as becoming a full-time PETA volunteer. But choose your fight, and devote yourself fully to it.
The important thing is to think carefully about how you can realistically work activism into your life. You’re going to be a vegetarian for years, and excited as you may be right now to jump into serious activism, if you burn yourself out by adding even more activities to a busy life, you’ll be shortchanging yourself and everyone else. You have a lot of time; do what you can, when you can, and you’re still doing a lot more to help the world than most people!
Consider Other Ways You Can Go Green
Once you start eating ethically, it’s a short hop to thinking about your other habits that harm the earth. You may not want to adopt a 100 percent sustainable lifestyle—and, frankly, in today’s world, it’s almost impossible to do so—but there are a number of ways that you can lessen your impact on the environment in addition to your vegetarian lifestyle:
Reduce, reuse, recycle. When you buy new products, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Is there another product which would do the same thing but with less impact on the environment? Will this last a long time? Are the materials used to make this renewable? Buy items that are durable, maintain them, and have them repaired if possible. If you don’t need something that’s taking up space in your home, give it to someone who does! And recycle whenever possible to cut down on matter going to landfills.
Treasure your resources, and cut back on waste. Fix your leaky faucets, toilets, or water pipes, and install water-saving faucets. Conserve fuel by turning down the heat at night and when you’re away from your home, or install a programmable thermostat. Insulate your home against heat loss, and periodically check insulation. Avoid driving; walk, cycle, or
use public transportation whenever possible. Use recycled batteries for appliances that require them. Buy locally; it’s good for the local economy, and it saves energy because it hasn’t traveled far to get to you.
Use less toxic substances in your home. Use nontoxic cleaning alternatives in your home. Buy furniture made from natural fibers, wood, metal, and glass. Avoid the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in your home, including shower curtains, flooring, and children’s toys. Avoid the use of aerosol sprays.
Be responsible with your waste. Don’t put toxic household wastes such as paint, paint thinner, and antifreeze in the garbage or down the drain. Check with your local waste facility for proper disposal. Take your own bags to the grocery store, and use plastic bags until they’re completely worn out. Avoid excess packaging, and always use reusable products rather than disposable ones—plates, napkins, mugs, lunch containers, batteries, pens, and razors.
Go green at work. Print on both sides of the paper you use, and reduce the number of copies you print. Buy recycled, chlorine-free paper, and have a recycling box under your desk for used paper goods. Buy a permanent mesh coffee filter instead of buying disposable paper filters. Encourage your workplace to use alternative cleaning materials. Use refillable pens and pencils rather than disposable ones. Walk, ride a bike, use public transit, or carpool to work.
Conserve in the kitchen. Your refrigerator uses more energy than any other appliance in your home, so try to keep energy use to a minimum. Keep the temperature of the main body between 38–42°F and that of the freezer at 0–5°F. Open the refrigerator door less frequently, and clean the condenser coils at least once a year. Use electric kettles to boil water— they use half the energy as boiling water on the stove. Avoid storing food in plastic; use reusable glass containers for storing food in the refrigerator. Never microwave food in a plastic container; even microwavable plastics can leech chemicals into your food when heated. Buy food in bulk whenever possible, as it’s cheaper and uses less packaging. Look for products made from recycled materials, and use cloth instead of paper napkins and towels.
You’re On Your Way!
Thomas Edison once said, “Nonviolence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
You’ve made a wise decision by choosing a vegetarian lifestyle. Enjoy the new world of interesting foods that you’ll discover, and be proud of yourself for taking an ethical, responsible path through life’s great journey. It will be a fulfilling and healthful adventure that you’ll enjoy for years to come. You will look back at this decision and be glad that you made it!
You realize that instead of spending your money on hospital bills, you can enjoy your golden years with your loved ones with great vitality! Not so many people are this fortunate!
You realize that the planet is in better shape because of your decision. You can look at younger generations in the eyes, without saying, “I’m sorry I made this mess.”
You realize that more food and water is available for humans because of your decision. And they’re grateful for it. So are the animals!
You just know that you made a really good decision. And you can’t hold your smiles every time this comes to your mind. It’s a victory for you, your loved ones, the planet, and the animals. And I want to congratulate you for that.
Congratulations, my friend!
May God blesses us all