“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
So, you want to live more ethically? Me too, but in this messed up, complex world of conflicting information, misinformation and lets face it ……lies, it’s not always easy and definitely not simple. Despite this, here are some suggestions, that may get you those wings or a few feathers at least!
In the main, people tend to just accept the status quo (guilty, your honour!) in terms of ‘this is how the world is’and ‘what can I do to change things anyway’. If you want evidence of how the majority accept the status quo without trusting their instincts about what is morally (not legally) the right thing to do, watch the documentary ‘Dominion’on YouTube. After watching this, ask yourself one question what can I do to reduce the suffering? Try to answer from your heart without societies influences. Be warned, Dominion is graphic and heart wrenching, some people choose not to watch and that’s okay. I am not one of those people, I like to know the truth, even if that truth is grotesque. Remember, the truth is knowledge, knowledge is power and knowing the truth can lead to change of the masses. This brings me on to the first suggestion.
The first and in my opinion the most direct impact is to live a vegan lifestyle. Vegan’s get a lot of stick for their beliefs and there are some aggressive vegans, who hinder the vegan movement, then there are aggressive animal consumers too. I don’t agree with any form of individual intimidation even if it is done passively, this is bullying and not an effective way to get people to see your point of view. I have watched a video on You Tube with one abattoir worker breaking down crying. Their job is difficult enough, staff turnover at abattoirs is reported to be 200%. Off course I don’t agree with slaughter and I do believe the majority of these workers will pay for what they do, whether that displays in their own mental health or their conscience, they may even go on to be vegans, it took me 50 years before I woke up.
Animals are slaughtered because there is consumer demand for it, don’t blame the farmer or the abattoir worker, they are merely our employees, doing what we tell them to do. There is no humane way to kill these animals, it is wrong and if you stop to think about it, educate yourself you will know instinctively just how wrong it is. It really riles me when activists abuse those in the industry, show them compassion as they need to come to the conclusion themselves, educate them with facts and overtime I believe things will change.
Vegan products use no animal products and are not tested on animals, hence, no animal suffers. You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to use these products but your choices can make a difference. The best mascara and the only one that does not irritate my eyes or smudge is Poppy Austin’s vegan mascara. If it became the norm for consumers to purchase humane products, those that use animal products for manufacturing and testing would be forced to change their ways, as it’s the consumer that creates demand, don’t ever forget that.
The whole world can change if individuals make a small effort. Don’t think vegan products are expensive, some are but there are many that aren’t. Astonish in the UK do not use animal products or test on animals, these products are some of the cheapest you can buy and they are great at cleaning too. Lavera beauty products are also great vegan products and very reasonably priced, check out the Amazon reviews.
You don’t have to be vegan either to like vegan friendly food and drink, I was drinking plant-based milks, including almond, hazelnut and oat milks long before I became vegan, because they are healthy and delicious. Never underestimate what you can do to influence manufacturers, just by changing the milk you drink can save the suffering and lives of animals and dairy farmers may branch out into plant-based milks as demand increases.
There are people who will mock you for your beliefs and lifestyle, for some reason you threaten them, probably because they don’t have the capacity to have insight into their own actions or they choose not to have capacity, don’t mock them back, just do what you believe in, trust me your living ethically will make a difference. Don’t preach, but when an opportunity arises tell people of the great products you use, write the name down for them if you have to, word of mouth is a powerful form of promotion, use it!
Despite what happens in the world I don’t believe we are designed to kill anything whether human or animals. In the main, we are compassionate by nature and the way animals are slaughtered completely goes against this natural compassion we have. On the other hand, I understand vegans feeling so strongly about their beliefs, they desperately want to try to stop the slaughtering. I don’t believe all people will give up meat (yet), unless meat is scarce, but I do believe at some point in the future, though maybe not in my lifetime that vegans will be in the majority. To me farm animals are beautiful, innocent, child like, some mistrusting (and rightly so) but most completely trusting of humans, they are gentle and in the main tend not to hurt other beings unless defending themselves or their young. Ethical lesson number 1, stop eating and purchasing animal products, they deserve so much more.
Want to go Vegan? Don’t know where to start? visit Challenge22.com, it is a free resource and if you sign up to do a 22 day vegan challenge, you get assigned a mentor that will advise and help you every step of the way, if after 22 days you decide it’s not for you, then you have lost nothing.
I believe a lot more people can give to charity than they currently do, I am talking small regular financial donations or donate time if you have it. People are more mistrusting of charities now, this is unfortunate but with reports of some CEOs and Directors of charities being on excessively high salaries, I am not surprised of this mistrust.
Find just one charity, what do you support, what in this world do you think is unfair or unjust and what can you do to change things?, make an impact. If you don’t think you personally can make a difference, find a group that you can support to change things on behalf of others. To be assured (as much as you can) that your chosen charity is ethical, do your research and not just from their website, find other independent sources, then give as little as £1 a month, even this would make a difference as charities can plan ahead knowing they have that £1 a month coming in.
Don’t Breed or Buy pets
Again its supply and demand, don’t buy or breed pets whilst there are thousands of rescue animals looking for forever homes, adopt one or more if you can. If more people started adopting rescue animals, supply would decline, why would breeders want to be stuck with a litter of pups because the majority of people adopt rescue dogs?, they wouldn’t. I know it can be hard and puppies are cute, but you can get puppies from rescue too. Give a dog, cat or other animal the chance of a loving forever home, you can change their life for the better. Check out these sites to see the beautiful animals waiting for their forever home; Many Tears Rescue, The Dogs Trust and the RSPCA, there are also many other smaller rescue centres, google if there is one near you. If you don’t have the time, money or commitment to adopt an animal, consider sponsoring one, you can do so for a very small amount, e.g. £10 a year and even get to visit them, check out; The Farm Animal Sanctuary or Hillside Sanctuary. Sanctuaries like these do an amazing job, they not only save lives but give the animals the quality of life they deserve, read some of the individual animal stories, they are wonderful.
Put Pressure on Governments
Do some good in the world even if it is from your armchair, sign online petitions at PetitionParliament.uk.
We have the power to change the world, although it may not seem so, in democratic societies, politicians are our puppets, hit them where it hurts, if we let our feelings be known, trust me they will mostly follow through, they will listen not because they care about the people, they care about votes and we cast the votes.
Feed the Starving
Okay, I agree this is not the answer to world hunger, it’s doing ‘something’ and it’s fun if you like your online quizzes. This site has interactive quizzes you can play for free and for every answer you get correct, 10 grains of rice go to feed the hungry in developing worlds. Its called Freerice.com, give it a try.
Find out where your purchases come from, do your clothes pay people a fair wage or are they made by children for a pittance? Don’t Know? then find out.
Gather knowledge, get your facts straight, be aware of the sources of information, government websites can and do give misinformation and sometimes complete inaccuracies. Governments often rate their success on how the economy is doing, so they often don’t have our best interests in mind in terms of health and the environment. There is a trend at the moment to ban palm oil, however, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, some say 100% certified palm oil is sustainable, others say it still causes environmental damage. A great website for getting your facts straight is the Ethical Consumer, a very broad website covering everything from clothing to food and drink and many other things in between. It also has information about palm oil too.
Minimalism is a lifestyle in which people stop over consuming, they declutter their living spaces which in turn has an effect on their wellbeing. Isn’t it funny when you live more ethically, you feel better, less mental clutter, this is because the world we currently live in is so far removed from how humans are at their core.
The effects of over consumption impact on the planet too. I have been decluttering for 2 years now (I had a lot of stuff), some I have sold but in the main particularly lately I am giving stuff away, I do this on a weekly basis and still have a way to go. I have even downsized my christmas decorations, I have one tree and one ornament. I only had to put my tree up and put the ornament out and I was all done, it just makes life easier and less stressful. This week I have given away; beauty products (because they weren’t vegan), ornaments, christmas decorations and dog food, because my beautiful dog died 14 weeks ago, I planned to adopt a rescue dog, but I have decided the time is not right yet, as I am single and work full-time.
Mainstream views, mostly learned from governments and the media are often wrong. Historically mainstream views throughout the world have been wrong about; slavery, women’s votes, and ethnic groups such as Jews in Germany and the Tutsi’s in Rwanda. They are wrong now about deforestation, animal slavery and slaughter. Gather your facts, educate yourself, then try to educate others. Culture change takes time, most people don’t want to know the truth because they know their conscience will struggle and people mostly take the easy option, the option of ignorance. I did it myself for a long time.
Whatever you do to live more ethically, remember you don’t have to be ‘vegan’ to use vegan products or eat vegan food, you don’t have to be a ‘minimalist’ to start minimising, you don’t have to be a political activist to sign petitions that matter to you, you don’t have to have money to help the starving, and you don’t have to be an expert to consume ethically. All you need to do all or any of these things is to have a heart and make a small effort, just 5 minutes a week to explore some of these suggestions may just be enough. I truly hope you do because your actions matter!