What Does It Mean To Be A Vegan Activist?

Over the years the discussion of what it means to be an activist has been the subject of great debate in the vegan community. 

Were the pioneers who created the Vegan Society in 1944 activists? They certainly weren't marching down the street with banners but they were taking bold steps to create a new culture.

In 1980, after making from-scratch tempeh to share with friend and family, 30 year-old Seth Tibbott started his own company. To keep costs down he built a 300-square-foot treehouse he called home. In 1995 they launched their first Tofurky holiday roast striking a chord with an America hungry for a tastier meat-free thanksgiving. 

Plant-based food pioneers like Seth challenged what a Thanksgiving dinner could be. But would his pioneering business fit the narrow definition of an activist?

Seth Tibbott, Founder of Tofurky and his treehouse in the 1980's

Seth Tibbott, Founder of Tofurky and his treehouse in the 1980's

To my eyes to be an activist is to be a great ambassador for a vegan life. If you make your non-vegan friends delicious plant-based food you are being an activist. If you give up your job to create a vegan business you doing activism. If write articles talking about veganism, or make YouTube videos educating people about veganism. Yes you are being active. And of course if you are taking part in street based activism you are an activist too.

Yet things are not always so cut and dry. There are many effective altruists out there supporting animal rights advocacy organisations. Many of these people have high paid jobs in investment banking, law and media. They may have never been to a protest, they might not own any vegan tee-shirts yet they give huge sums of money to fund the vegan movement. 

I believe these people are activists too. Helping the movement to grow and thrive. The point being, to create change we need many different types of people and different tactics.

Sentience Politics, May 2016. (Can you spot us?)

Sentience Politics, May 2016. (Can you spot us?)

For one person it will be a vegan doner kebab that sets them on their vegan journey. For others it will be the writings of Peter Singer or books like a Diet For A New America. Others like myself will stop eating meat for environmental reasons before making the connection with animals and going vegan. 

What The Pitta vegan doners start many people on their vegan journeys

What The Pitta vegan doners start many people on their vegan journeys

Judy and I share a mission to accelerate the growth of vegan culture around the world. To build Vevolution in to something sustainable which plays a part means we have to pick where we focus our energies carefully. 

Effective activism will be a big focus of this year's festival. We will be joined by Founder and President of America's biggest farmed animal advocacy organisation Mercy For Animals, Nathan Runkle.

Nathan Runkle, President of Mercy For Animals during his 545 mile bike ride to raise money for HIV treatment and services.

Nathan Runkle, President of Mercy For Animals during his 545 mile bike ride to raise money for HIV treatment and services.

We also have Toni Shepherd from Animal Equality speaking about their fantastic work and the vegan strategist, Tobias Leenaert talking about how we guide the world to what he calls 'veganville'. 

We will also have an effective activism panel taking place on the ProVeg stage. In our workshop room we will have London Vegan Actions hosting a workshop titled: The Activist Within All Of Us and you can get crafty with Bright Zine and Francesca Page hosting creative workshops.

Crafting at the Bright Zine workshop at Vevolution Festival 2016

Crafting at the Bright Zine workshop at Vevolution Festival 2016

In life we're all busy and we all have to make choices about what we can do. This year's festival will help you hopefully inspire in your life to choose a path which is right and exciting for you. 

Tickets for this November festival which will take place in London on the 25th November are selling quickly. Get your ticket and join this year's most exciting vegan and conscious living festival.