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Resolved: Vegan USA by 2018

Building on Miriam’s “pushy vegan campaign,” VINE Sanctuary invites every vegan—pushy and otherwise—to join us in resolving to convince two people to go vegan this year and, in so doing, begin the process of reforming U.S. food and agriculture in five years.

At present, only 0.5% of people in the United States are vegan. If all of us convince two people to go vegan, that brings us up to 1.5% at the end of 2013.

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But do the math: If we do the same the next year, that brings us to 4.5% of the population by the end of 2014, Again, and we’re at 13.5% of the population by the end of 2015. Yet again, and we’re at 40.5% of the population by the end of 2016. One more time and we can ring in 2018 with vegan nog for everyone!

Of course, all sorts of other changes will have to happen at the same time. Some will happen naturally. As demand for vegan food rises, costs will drop [due to economies of scale] and availability will increase [due to new producers entering a newly attractive market]. But that won’t fix the problem of lack of access to healthy vegan food in many urban and rural low-income communities. We’ll need more efforts like the Food Empowerment Project. (And vegans will need to do more than just say they support such projects. Everybody will need to pitch in, doing whatever is needed to make sure that everybody in their particular city or county has access to fresh fruit and vegetables, bulk beans and rice, and kitchens to cook in.)

Similarly, as decline for meat, dairy, and eggs drops, some farmers will be able to easily transition to the more satisfying and lucrative venture of growing food crops for people. But other farmers, like some former tobacco farmers who now grow organic vegetables, will need grants and technical assistance from the state or from non-profits. We’ll also need to do something about those federal subsidies to the meat and dairy industries, which artificially lower their prices and elevate their profits while also helping them to export to other countries.

Whew! That’s a tall order.

You have to start where you are. That’s the first tenet of effective activism. So, let’s start here and now. Start with where you are, with the people in your social circle. Those are the folks you know best and with whom, most likely, you share some socioeconomic and cultural characteristics. Those are the folks, then, who you are in the best position to influence.

You don’t have to convince everybody, just two. Perhaps a sibling and an ex. Or perhaps a neighbor and a coworker. Or perhaps your grandmother plus that bike-riding barista who you happen to know is lactose intolerant anyway.

The next tenet of effective activism is educated and mindful trial and error. Throughout the year, we’ll be sharing tips gleaned from what we know—not guess, but know—about persuasion, in general and related to veganism. We’ll also be asking you to join us in information gathering, by sharing your stories of success or failure.

Psychologists know that persuasion isn’t a  one-size-fits-all process. Some people are swayed by direct and logical argumentation, others by appeals to emotion. Some think only of self-interest while others are insulted by the notion that they are only interested in themselves. Some make snap decisions; others need time to think. Some people balk—becoming even more unlikely to be persuaded—if they feel pushed. Others like a direct challenge.

Similarly, we all bring different strengths  and weaknesses to the task of persuasion. Some are skilled at creating those logical arguments, while others have wonderful intuitions that help them connect at the emotional level.  Some hate to stray even an inch from the realm of rational argumentation while others feel smothered by demands that they stay within that realm. Some vegans are great cooks who can bring truly delicious food to the table while other vegans should be banned from ever bringing a tasteless casserole to a potluck again.

Some things do seem to be abidingly true across the board. One is that people are more likely to follow through on pledges that they have actually verbalized to others. So, first things first:

Please join us in resolving to persuade two people to go vegan this year. You don’t have to decide which two people yet, just make the pledge.  Do so by making this comment below:

I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.

Then, start thinking: Who will you choose? Why? What persuasive tactics are likely to work with each of them? Why? Are they similar or different? What will you do or say first for each one? When will you begin?

We’ll keep track of who’s made the pledge. (We’re starting on New Year’s Day, but anybody can take the pledge and start any time during the year, as long as they can bring in those two vegans by December 31st 2013.) We’ll post updates here and also set up a private discussion forum to which people making the resolution will be invited.

Oh, and… Happy New Year from VINE!

 

23 comments to Resolved: Vegan USA by 2018

  • pattrice
    I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Beth Levine
    This is a great post and great idea! I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Jill Fletcher
    During 2012, my first year as a vegan, I was happily surprised that I got two people to go vegan. So, I already know I can do this. I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Taylor Theggie
    I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage other vegans to do the same
  • Sheryl
    I do! I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • animal lover
    Before I read this post today I had already decided one of my New year’s resolutions is to get 10 people this year to go vegan or vegetarian I know that sounds like a lot of people but I think I can do it!! I already got my 2 daughters to go vegetarian and hopefully they will adopt vegan lifestyle soon.
  • I’ve been serving vegan meals to ANYONE who wants some for the past 14 years, and am thrilled I’ll get ‘some help’ in getting more customers! (NOT easy in our capitalist economy).
    Will try and work with our local (Toronto Vegetarian Association) to ‘kick start’ throngs of people on this peaceful path….(get a lot more than just 2 people!!)
  • David Karcz
    I love this idea!! I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • I’m in. I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Sally
    I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Ana
    I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Sarahjane
    I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage other vegans to do the same.
  • I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year by showing Earthlings or The Peaceable Kingdom or The Witness (depending on who is in the audience) at my local community center once a week. To entice people to come to the movie, I will prepare a free (vegan) meal. I will encourage every vegan I know to do the same just by sharing with them how easy it is to show the movies and bring strangers in for a free meal.

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLi_04xncfcPUPnB1oPWEvLiP0j41yUK5O

    I am also pledging to post more vegan recipes that busy, budget-restricted carnivores are more likely able and willing to try to cook for their families at http://www.BoeDevi.org.

    Thank you, Brave Birds, for all you have taught and given us this year. I am remembering all that you did for Lou.

  • I resolve to persuade two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same.
  • Amanda
    Hey Bravebirds – this is a great post and I think it’s such a do-able resolution to make! I mean, two people in one year – surely we can all manage that. right? OK, am in! One thing that I have used in the recent past to help people is the 30-Day vegan challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. There are a few people I know who would love to go vegan – or even veg for that matter – but who don’t want to have to work it out for themselves. So I pointed them to her challenge (http://www.the30dayveganchallenge.com) and in a couple of cases I bought the program as a gift for them. It’s set up so they have a mentor – who is not *me* all of the time! – who can hold their hands through the process. I can totally recommend it. :) Thanks for everything you do and now I’m headed out to see that bike-riding barista at our local coffee shop again! :)
  • As I posted my less ambitious goal, I’d be happy if we just made one more …

    http://www.martysflyingveganreview.com/2012/11/make-one-more-campaign.html?m=1

  • lisa shapiro
    i resolve to make at least two people vegan this year~!
  • I resolve to convince at least two people to go vegan. In fact I do it ongoing every month, every week, every day. I do it by sharing vegan meals with people and making it a bright shiny way of life.
  • I resolve to encourage people to be more rational this year… I know that includes opting for veganism.
  • victoria figurelli
    I will encourage and educate 2 more people on why to go vegan this year
  • Terrific idea – thanks so much for sharing it! I resolve to inspire two people to go vegan this year and to encourage every vegan I know to do the same. (Like “inspire” more than “persuade”…)
  • I’m at 1.5 already! 3/10/13
  • bravebird
    Excellent! Tell us how you did it and also what the 1/2 means.

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