Because let's face it, building a vegan world (or at least, reducing animal cruelty and suffering as much as we can until everybody else catches up) is a daunting task. While being vegan is rewarding (how many other actions have the direct impact of saving lives?) and ultimately a win-win-win solution for the planet, the environment and ALL animals including ourselves, being immersed in the continual bombardment of animal pain can be stressful. Especially, I think, because most vegans are more empathetic to the violence other sentient beings face on a daily basis, we can easily get lost in negativity and despair and wonder if what we do will ever be enough. And that we need to be careful of because burnout isn't going to push our cause forward whatsoever. To that end, I'd like to share a few articles that should banish some of the pessimism you may feel, and help you deal with the stress of being an activist.
Vegan Outreach has written some great stuff over the years about the process of building a vegan world piece by piece, about how much things have already changed, and more recently, strategies with real results. And this week on their blog they're having a series of interviews with Nick Cooney author of Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change. Cool.
A guide for animal activists called Animal Action! by David Sztybel has a lot to offer to both new and seasoned activists whether you're an animal welfarist, partial abolitionist or total abolitionist, and covers private activism, public activism, empowered and disempowered thinking, and ways of avoiding burnout. It's comprehensive, and some of the things I like about it include the cognitive approach, inclusiveness of different types of activists, and its concrete action orientation. I defy anyone to read it and not feel encouraged! David has also written an excellent document on coping with animal rights stress using cognitive therapy techniques, which you may find useful as well.
Remember, just by being vegan you are already doing so much. You're part of a growing social justice movement that is getting stronger by the day, one that will eventually change the lives of every sentient being in this world for the better, and for that (regardless of what our ideological differences may be), I think you're awesome. :)