I first came to plant-based eating on behalf of animals. I didn’t want to be vegan. I’d been vegetarian for nearly a decade, but I hung tightly—like so many do—to dairy and eggs. Then, I picked up Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, and by the next morning, I’d changed. I had come to terms with the fact that, in our factory system, the lives of dairy cows and battery hens are just as bad, often worse, than those raised for meat, with a similar fate. Not wanting to harm or confine another creature, I found the changes in the diet weren’t nearly as challenging for me as I’d thought they would be. It was just a fact of life. In the end, this sacrifice has only made me realize I could do more, and doing more has only made me realize just how easy it is.
So, if you are already plant-based or working at it, or if you just want to help animals as much as you feel possible, here are five more ways I’ve learned to help from home:
1. Donating to Cause(s)
Sure, there is giving money outright to animal rights causes and conservation efforts, but there are more ways to donate than just departing with cash. Check out Goodsearch, a site that allows you to earn money for whatever non-profit organization you choose every time you use their search engine. Simply sign up for the program, download the toolbar, and use Goodsearch instead of Google. So, in essence, it’s a way of donating, even on the tightest of budgets. You can also go through their Goodshop website to donate a percentage of all your online purchases.
2. Signing Petitions
It’s great that you’ve made your own choices for protecting animals from being an industrial product, or being carted around as a mascot, or from losing their habitats, or being killed. Truthfully, I believe all our individuals choices in such instances matter immensely. I also believe that, when we take those individual choices and make a collective statement with them, more people and politicians begin to listen. Take on a personal challenge to sign a petition a day. It only takes a minute, and it counts.
3. Shopping Ethically
Many plant-based eaters, whatever their motivation, take on the habit of not using animal products—wool, leather, fur, etc.—as well. This is fantastic, but there are even more habits that can make a difference. Just like the collective voice of petitions can more easily be heard, the same is true for boycotts. Money speaks volumes, so don’t give any to those companies that test on animals. It only encourages them to continue. Don’t buy their products and let them know why you don’t. Plus, shopping ethically will also encourage companies that are making an effort.
4. Building Habitats
Wild animals are pretty well equipped for taking care of themselves and existing within diverse ecosystems, so try to give some of them back. After all, human developments are what have thrown nature out of whack. Forget having an expanse of useless lawn. A better choice is to create good habitats for animals to find food themselves while growing some food for yourself to boot. In turn, you’ll get to enjoy seeing the animals around while you eat homegrown, organic produce.
5. Sharing Amicably
For all the petitions you sign, donations you give, habitats you build, and ethical shopping you do on behalf of animals, share the energy it gives you. One mistake many of us plant-based folk make is focusing on the negative. Sure, it’s a reality, and there are times for that discussion. But, positives inspire people, and that’s how our army of animal-lovers will grow. Do it now. Do it with this article. Do it from home or wherever you are.
Why not? If you are fully plant-based or moving towards a largely plant-based diet, why not spend a few fairly painless minutes getting your claws into the animal cause? And, if you are already down and deep into it, please share any further tips you might have in the comments section below. That’s what One Green Planet is all about, and we want you with us.
Are you in?
Image Source: Juanedc/Flickr