HELP-How To Make A Difference?

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Jun 15, 2023
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San Francisco
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  1. Vegan
Vegan since 2016. I am an effective vegan (google effective altruism). The whole point of going vegan to me is to vote with my dollars, which will translate to the sales data of meat and dairy industries to breed fewer animals to suffer their hell whilst encouraging vegan companies to make more vegan food.
But it takes me a HUGE amount of effort to go vegan, especially when I can get free omnivore food at work parties and with my omnivore family. There are just so many choices that are omnivore at even chains like Wholefoods and their vegan options often don't taste good (except their desserts like vegan brownies and chocolate chip cookies are BETTER than the omnivore versions at wholefoods).
Anyways, the point is that I'm inconveniencing myself and depriving myself and my wallet in hopes of making a change to the animals' suffering, but it's starting to feel like it's not even worth it and I'm not making a change at all while these morbidly obese 600-pound omnivores are stuff their faces with animals. Even healthy-weight individuals are eating and indulging in whatever they want. It's like I'm depriving myself and it's not even translating to anything at all because the change I'm aiming for is so indirect (sales data to companies).
After so many years, I feel so exhausted. My health is AMAZING but I'm so tempted to succumb to gluttony and convenience when everyone else is doing it and when i feel like it's not even making a difference to animals. A few years ago, I would have hated the person who is writing the stuff I am now but I'm so exhausted by my other life stuff and I hate depriving and inconveniencing myself when it doesn't even seem to make a dent or a drop in the bucket for animals. It takes so much effort for me when eating anything i want would make my life so much easier. I guess i just want someone to factually convince me that my vegan efforts are paying off somehow?
 
Maybe you could try a different tactic? I have to admit I'm vegan more for my own sense of what I perceive as right and don't focus as much on others. My main advocacy is through discussions on cooking and baking and sharing food. I've thought of volunteering for Food Not Bombs but I work so many hours I haven't fit it in.
I also don't often call myself vegan. I went back and forth from being vegetarian in my teens, to omni when I had kids, back to veg and for the last 10 or so years have been what I refer to as mostly vegan. In my early days I was far more emotional, and OCD than I am now, and if I didn't let up on my restrictions and my desire for change I may not be vegan today. It can be overwhelming.

Take a break and focus on your own needs, and how you make being vegan work better for you. If you aren't happy with the foods and choices you can't possibly make it appeal to others!

Brownies are one of few foods I still say are far better with eggs 🙄 :rofl:
 
No one I've known wanted to hear about statistics. People do need to hear ways that can make things easier, cheaper, and better for them and their families. More often than not they won't give things up completely, but when provided the reasoning that plant foods can be cheaper, given ways to prepare food made quicker, and feeling secure that they can be healthier they will make changes. Just talking about how much cleaner it is not prepare meat will make people think.
 
What you are doing is making a difference and in time we may be the key to making this a larger movement. :)

If eating meat is morally bad then you shouldn't do it just because others are.

That's like saying "sexual assault/theft is common place here, so I may as well join in"

You are still making a difference.

Another effective altruist here, by the way, good on you for that, I give majority of my charity to Give Well or Peter Singer recommended charities.
 
one day I was feeling sort of the way you do and my guru told me this:

one morning you are heading to work and there is a mob of people heading to the town square to stone a sinner. There are lots of things you can do but no matter what - you don't join in.
 
As consumers we have very little power. Our choices are already defined by what food corporations have deemed to be in their interest to offer us, and our economic impact on them is miniscule. If you're looking for a sense of effectiveness as a consumer you're looking in the wrong place IMO.

I believe our society is on the verge of evolving away from animal products and animal exploitation. Everyone knows factory farming is horrific and the more the justifications for it are challenged the more people will realize how flimsy they are. It won't happen linearly, it won't happen without cultural and industry pushback, and it won't happen without activists organizing and continuing to work hard even when they doubt their effectiveness. But I really believe it's an issue whose time has come. And you've been on the right side of it for a long time now.

If you need to feel a sense of effectiveness to continue as a vegan you should connect with some activists near you. Your profile says you're in San Francisco. I can't think of a better place to live as a vegan or animal activist. Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is headquartered in Berkeley and does tons of events nearby. Tomorrow they're doing a beach clean up and vegan BBQ at Golden Gate Beach. Saturday they're having an activist meet up in Berkeley and a protest at the Golden Gate Fields horse track.

Its atleast worth a shot before you break your 7 year vegan streak right?
 
I don't steal things because that seems like a morally bad thing to do.
I don't litter because, again, it just seems wrong.
I don't cheat on my partner because it would be a bad thing to do.

But none of my above (non-)actions make much of a dent in the overall statistics for them. Stealing would save me money. Littering would save me time. And cheating, well, there have been moments of temptation, but you get the drift.

Now, why do you suppose I stopped eating meat, dairy and eggs or wearing animal skins?

And then, as for making no difference. Why do you suppose there are so many vegan options these days? There are any number of plant milks, multiple vegan burgers, sausages, faux-meat. Even in my small town I can choose from about 10 different types of Tofu, Tempeh, etc.

So even if one person is statistically irrelevant, the combination of all people is certainly not.
 
Vegan since 2016. I am an effective vegan (google effective altruism). The whole point of going vegan to me is to vote with my dollars, which will translate to the sales data of meat and dairy industries to breed fewer animals to suffer their hell whilst encouraging vegan companies to make more vegan food.
But it takes me a HUGE amount of effort to go vegan, especially when I can get free omnivore food at work parties and with my omnivore family. There are just so many choices that are omnivore at even chains like Wholefoods and their vegan options often don't taste good (except their desserts like vegan brownies and chocolate chip cookies are BETTER than the omnivore versions at wholefoods).
Anyways, the point is that I'm inconveniencing myself and depriving myself and my wallet in hopes of making a change to the animals' suffering, but it's starting to feel like it's not even worth it and I'm not making a change at all while these morbidly obese 600-pound omnivores are stuff their faces with animals. Even healthy-weight individuals are eating and indulging in whatever they want. It's like I'm depriving myself and it's not even translating to anything at all because the change I'm aiming for is so indirect (sales data to companies).
After so many years, I feel so exhausted. My health is AMAZING but I'm so tempted to succumb to gluttony and convenience when everyone else is doing it and when i feel like it's not even making a difference to animals. A few years ago, I would have hated the person who is writing the stuff I am now but I'm so exhausted by my other life stuff and I hate depriving and inconveniencing myself when it doesn't even seem to make a dent or a drop in the bucket for animals. It takes so much effort for me when eating anything i want would make my life so much easier. I guess i just want someone to factually convince me that my vegan efforts are paying off somehow?
In many ways what you’re saying is that your influencing budget and efforts aren’t able to compete with the food manudacturers’ marketing. Not surprising given the amount they spend.

What you are perhaps missing, though, is that neither you nor they can dictate consumer choices and for all their millions of budget they still haven’t made any headway on your choice. It’s a stalemate, if you will, despite the odds being in their favour. I’d call that a win.

You also have to bear in mind food companies aren’t trying to get the world to eat meat; they’re trying to get the world to consume whatever’s profitable. Take a look on the shelves and see how much more plant-based choice there is now compared to just 10 years ago. Stuff isn’t on the shelves unless people are buying it so its very presence demonstrates consumer power is working in the direction you want. Granted, not as quickly as you’d like, but it’s happening.
 
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I have been vegan for the same amount of time and although our circumstances are completely different I have no regrets whatsoever, especially my wallet and my health. I find it much less expensive and much tastier although I do not have access to free food other than family and so I just don't stick around to watch them eat if I can avoid it.

We love our food due to the spices and choices and not spending money on leathers and wool etc is also helpful. My weight and health is significantly better than it was in 2016 and although the grocery store is still full of meat and eggs and milk, the areas that have vegan food are a lot bigger than they were in 2016 and I like to think that I have helped to make that difference.

I have posted this before and it is always good to be reminded... think of this:

Supermarkets are mostly vegan by default:
  • all produce aisles - fresh fruits and vegetables and herbs
  • frozen aisles - frozen fruits, vegetables
  • bean aisles - canned beans, dried beans, breakfast beans
  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • pasta aisle - most pastas and sauces, noodles
  • condiments aisle - vinegars, olives, pickles, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauces, mustard, tahini
  • snack and bulk aisle - nuts, dried fruits, nutritional yeast, various grains, some potato chips
  • cereal aisle - oatmeal, Spoon Size Shredded Wheat, Shredded Wheat etc
  • beverage aisle - sparkling water, herbal teas, coffee
  • bakery aisle - sprouted breads, pitas, tortillas
  • dairy aisle - tofu, plant-based milks, cheeses
I am sure I have missed some things but you get the gist.

Welcome to the forum, I hope hanging out with us will help you to stay the course.

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 
It is true that one person's actions may not seem to make a noticeable difference. But they do add up- as @Brian W and @g0rph pointed out. Consider this: McDonald's... Mc-Freaking-DONALD'S , mind you!!!.... is now offering a veggieburger, which they call the "McPlant". I don't know how long this will last, considering that even their french fried potatoes (as far as I know) are cooked in beef fat.

Also: granted, there are other ways to benefit animals. For example: from the beginning of 1993 to the end of 2019, I adopted a number of animals who needed homes: a total of 5 cats, 1 hamster, 3 rabbits, 5 gerbils, 5 goldfish (who turned up in a friend/coworker's koi pond, along with about 25 other brothers and sisters who someone else took in), and 4 Rosy Red Minnows. I paid an adoption fee for 3 of the cats, the rabbits, and the gerbils, but the main expenses were for food and veterinary care. I also had to have two cats boarded when I took a 3-1/2 week trip to Europe back in 2000- at that time, they were the only animals in my care. But the main thing for me was the commitment- and the worry! They weren't a hobby that I could indulge in when I felt like it, and set aside when I pleased.

And they were so damned creative when it came to finding ways to get into trouble- like the time my rabbit Hans somehow got his neck wedged into the supports under his cage and had almost blacked out when I came into the room... or the time my cat Crystal came into my bedroom gagging because she had almost swallowed a leather shoelace, and if she hadn't come to me, or if this had happened when I wasn't home, she might have died.

Oh- I forgot to mention the time I left the bedroom door open for 20 seconds, and when I came back in, my cat Phil was trying to get at my hamster Dory murder him. (I had to keep Dory's cage in the bedroom with the door closed because of Phil. At least Phil was clear about his intentions from the start, so I knew I'd have to give Dory a safe place).

Like I said: worry.

But we have to eat anyway. I've been omni, pescatarian, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, and now strict vegetarian (I'd be vegan except for my shoes). When it comes to benefitting animals, I believe veganism (or vegetarianism) gives the most results for the least effort.
 
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After so many years, I feel so exhausted. My health is AMAZING but I'm so tempted to succumb to gluttony and convenience when everyone else is doing it and when i feel like it's not even making a difference to animals.
I don't think my post above fully addressed your main issue, which I think I've quoted above. What do you find most difficult about veganism, and what do you miss about the foods you have given up? Do you not like to cook or prepare food, or do you find your own cuisine unsatisfying?