“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
Changemaker (n) – A term coined by the social entrepreneurship organization, Ashoka, meaning one who desires change in the world and by gathering knowledge and resources, makes that change happen.
—Being a Change versus Leading the Change
Do you want to see a change in the world?
Probably, yes, as most of us do; but if so, are you working towards making that change happen, or are you just satisfied with just wanting, wishing for or even being the change you want to see in the world?
People like to quote Gandhi “BE the change you wish to see in the world.”
But is BEING enough?
Is that all that he was doing and advocating for anyway?
Here is another quote from Gandhi:
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
To me it doesn’t sound like those “determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission” are just sitting around waiting to alter the course of history by just BEING.
To me it sounds more like being the change while also working towards making the change happen.
To me, what it’s really about is TAKING ACTION towards becoming a changemaker and a LEADER that alters the course of history.
On Being Vegan Changemaker
Most vegans (I assume) want to see the whole world go vegan, but the truth is it’s not going to happen any time soon, if we don’t stop simply wishing for a change, or even being the change and start doing something towards making that change happen.
Now, I know being vegan is already a lot for many people.
Just BEING a vegan in the room can stir up discussions, questions and arguments, attract ridicule and even hostility.
This is challenging enough, to a point that some of us choose to do it on Mondays only, or only when it’s convenient enough, not too controversial, not too risky. Some of us choose to do it under-cover.
Some of us just QUIT, because it’s too tiring, too demanding, too inconvenient, too… whatever…
I know that staying vegan and speaking your truth about being vegan can be tough. It’s tricky to keep the balance between being outspoken and heard by those around you, and being tactful and not turning people off.
Truth is the stereotype of an angry vegan is so prevalent that it affects many people’s ability to speak out. Some are so afraid of being preachy to the point of not telling anyone in their nearest environment about their deepest beliefs, like that woman I read about on one blog who didn’t tell her husband she became vegetarian, until three years later he finally asked her during dinner why she was not eating any meat.(1)
In the article, she goes on to say that she lives by the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” and then goes on to explain “nowhere in this quote — or in any of the teachings of the great masters, saints, and mystics — do they say to make changes in yourself and then set about to change all the people around you! (…). I strongly believe that we effect change in ourselves and the world — not by making those around us feel bad for their choices or by preaching our beliefs to them — but by earnestly living our lives as authentically as we can and allowing others to do the same.”
While there are many people who will not change no matter what you do, and making people feel bad should not be on our agenda, being silent and flying under the radar to the point that even your closest family doesn’t know what you are up to should not be our priority. (That is certainly NOT what Ghandi or Jesus were doing.)
If we just go around waiting for people to ask us about “why are you ordering just a salad?” or “why is veganism so amazing?“, we may have to wait a long time.
Truth is there are many people out there TODAY, right this minute, surfing the internet, searching for information, who are READY to hear this message, but are not hearing it.
And they will not hear it if all of us, vegans, keep our mouths shut and wait for the world to notice.
Now, I understand that it is hard for many of us express such views in public. Being a rather shy and introverted person myself, I don’t like to attract attention, especially hostile criticism, awkward questions, ridicule and pure rudeness which I often face when people find out I’m vegan.
I also know first-hand that the harshest critics may be those that are closest to us. I find that I’m often more effective with people I barely know, than with my closest relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
I shouldn’t feel bad, though. Even accomplished vegan authors, speakers, and changemakers admit having a hard time speaking openly about this topic fearing the backlash.
For example, at some point, when I became more interested in the climate crisis and environmental destruction that we humans are causing at this planet, I came across the book “Comfortably Unaware.” I remember reading it, and coming to the last chapter entitled “Not-To-Read-Chapter” with a subtitle in tiny print “A closer look at the animals.”
Here is what the author, Dr. Richard Oppenlander, says (emphasis mine):”Of course the title of this chapter is facetious; this chapter desperately needs to be read. And this is why: although I have presented the impact our current food choices have on global depletion, it would not be right to exclude the reality of animal management. Why? Because it is real. Similar to global depletion, the manner in which we treat animals raised for food is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Please understand: this book is not about animal rights, although that is a very noble concern. It is about truth, so some mention of the way animals raised for food are treated behind the scenes is in order. I do not want to expound heavily on this topic, however, because, frankly, you might not view the entire contents of this book properly otherwise. Animal rights has inappropriately become a stigma in some venues. The vast majority of humans would rather not hear about their food origins, particularly if it involves inhumane treatment, torture, abominable living conditions, or the pain and suffering of living things. It is much easier to simply turn the other way.”
The possibility of backlash and criticism is very real. It happens to vegans every day.
However, it mustn’t stop us doing what we know is right: spreading the message.
There is a delicate balance between passive approaches, and aggressive approaches. I believe compassionate, sincere and ASSERTIVE approaches are the answer.
That is another reason to consider starting your own community — and possibly a business– online.
Being active online allows us to expand our reach exponentially.
Just think about it: you can reach like-minded people no matter where they are in the world, get to know them, let them get to know you, provide them with real value, and talk to them about veganism.
Are You Ready to Become a Changemaker?
So who is a changemaker anyway?
Changemaker (n) – A term coined by the social entrepreneurship organization, Ashoka, meaning one who desires change in the world and, by gathering knowledge and resources, makes that change happen.
The term changemaker is simple to understand, but the question you may have what kind of “change” does the term refer to, and what makes changemakers different from everybody else.
So, what kind of change do changemakers seek? For the most part, the only change that really matters: social change, or any other kind of change can help make the world a better place for all. Changemakers can be described as social entrepreneurs, activists, or any other number of titles.
There is one main difference between changemakers and the rest of the world. Most people wish for a change, think change would be nice, something the world could use, or even strongly desire change; many know what they would like to see different in the world, and some even know how it could be done best, but most of them never try or quit when they fail. However, this is where changemakers differ: they make their change happen.
Using a combination of knowledge, resources, and determination, they push through until their dream becomes truth, and then push some more. Changemakers are the force of social evolution; everyone can become one, and everyone should.
So who are you?
Are you a just a dreamer?
Or are you ready to take action, make things happen in the world, and LEAD others to do the same…
If so, let’s get in touch.
My mission is to inspire you to become the changemaker: provide the online tools and knowledge required for changemakers accomplish their noble goals. To create a gathering place for vegan changemakers to learn, share, and grow.
If this speaks to you, please comment or email me at joanna<at>worldgoesvegan.com for information we could work together or how I could help you become an online changemaker yourself.