This will certainly not come as a shock: the world is on fire. It all began with the Amazon fires that experts attributed to the meat industry. Ranchers deliberately set fire to portions of the rainforest to clear away land for their livestock. These fires then went out of control.
Now, this year’s news has been dominated by the Australia bushfires. Sure, this time the meat industry wasn’t directly involved. Nevertheless, there is no denying that climate change has played a direct hand in maximizing the impact of the fires.
And as everyone knows, raising livestock has a negative impact on the climate. The answer to a better future is clear – a plant-based diet. This isn’t just the speculation of vegans – even the UN is advising people to cut down on their meat consumption.
This rising fear over a self-destructing planet has led to many people actually considering going vegan. As they understand just what is at stake, more and more individuals are willing to take that plunge. Since it can be such a jarring change, however, many are still not quite there yet. So, how can you help them make the right decision?
Take Fear Out of the Equation
As mentioned, many people want to go vegan because they are afraid of what is happening around the globe. However, this can be an unpleasant starting point. After all, it is difficult to enjoy what you are doing if you feel forced into the decision.
This is why one of your first moves should be to make vegan a more fun option. Show anyone who is curious about veganism all of the delicious dishes that you can make with plant-based ingredients. You can also take them out to local restaurants and cafes to test out interesting new foods and items. Show them that this lifestyle change can be positive for them for so many different reasons.
Consider Their Point of View
It is important to remember that people who are going vegan due to climate change aren’t coming from the same place that you once did. Thus, they aren’t going to be motivated by the same things that you were convinced by. Due to this, you are going to want to adapt your approach to each individual.
Remember, when it boils down to it, it doesn’t matter why someone wants to switch to a plant-based diet. The most important thing is that they are making a change that will have a positive impact for animals everywhere. This is why you need to encourage them to do things their own way.
For instance, if a friend or family member is already headed in the general direction of veganism, hearing about the cruelties of the meat industry may not necessarily help. Instead, it may be better to guide them through the process of going vegan without putting any added pressure on them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Promote Flexitarianism – At Least in the Beginning
As a vegan, you have managed to cut out all animal-based foods from your diet. Now, this is certainly an excellent decision on your part. Unfortunately, this all-or-nothing approach can turn people away from adopting a plant-based lifestyle.
Keep in mind, most people have grown up having meat and dairy with virtually every meal each day. Therefore, the idea of completely excluding these foods from their diet can be daunting or even unthinkable. This is why many can have a knee-jerk reaction to veganism and simply think, “I can’t do this”.
To overcome this particular obstacle, you may want to first guide people onto the path of a flexitarian diet. Here, people will consume plant-based foods for most of their diets. At the same time, they will not give up meat and dairy completely – they will consume it in smaller quantities or only on the weekends.
Of course, as a vegan, this may not sound very palatable. However, once again you need to consider the alternative. Would you rather people continue to consume as much meat and dairy as they are doing now or would you like to see that amount drastically drop?
Once people have become more comfortable with their flexitarian diet, you can then start the conversation about veganism. You will often find that people find that option more agreeable once they discover how easy it is to be vegetarian or eat plant-based foods most of the time.
Provide the Right Resources
One of the main reasons that people are hesitant to go vegetarian or vegan is because they don’t have access to the right information. This is because most people have only ever heard the myths and stereotypes surrounding veganism. Thus, they believe that it is difficult to consume the right amount of protein and iron. Or, they imagine that veganism is expensive.
It is up to you to show people the truth about veganism. Provide them with information about how to be healthy, what kinds of foods to buy, and where to get guilty pleasures such as snacks and desserts. Every little detail that you offer up can make the lifestyle seem a lot easier to manage. In turn, people may be able to take their considerations about going vegan a lot more seriously.
If you know of a family member or a friend who is considering going vegan due to the climate situation, make sure that you are there for them. They have crossed the most difficult obstacles by themselves and are in a great position to be convinced of leading a more conscientious and healthier lifestyle.
Nonetheless, it is important to go easy on your friends and family members. They should go vegan at their own pace and when they feel the time is right for them. It is only then that they will actually stick to the decision that they have made and make a legitimate lifestyle change. Your job is to simply be a sounding board and a guide as they navigate this landscape. Sure, this role may feel frustrating at times, but you can guarantee that your efforts really will pay off at some point.
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