Your Thoughts Thursday: Influence

April 22, 2010 by Keri

Happy Earth Day!  Stereotypically, the vegan community tends to be a more tree eating hugging crowd, but there is one school of thought both vegans and eco-enthusiasts have to overcome.  “One person can’t make a difference.”  Many people maintain this reasoning as they guzzle down their soda and toss the aluminum cans in the trash by the dozen or chew their steak while pondering over animal suffering.  But not only does one person make a difference, that one person influences the ideas of many and gets thoughts and curiosities flowing in the community at large.  It could be that “one person doesn’t make a difference” is just an excuse to avoid making a seemingly inconvenient, yet necessary change,  or maybe it’s a legitimate fear those who want to make a difference have, but either way it’s a rationale that slows progress in any direction.  So my thoughts raise a few questions today.  Have you personally witnessed your lifestyle, whether green or vegan, influence someone in your life to make a positive change in their own lifestyle?

  • Does your vegan lifestyle lead you to make more eco-friendly decisions or visa versa?
  • Do you ever feel defeated by being “just one person?
  • What are some eco-friendly things that would be simple for people to do, but are commonly overlooked?
  • Do you think Earth Day is a good idea, or just an excuse for the public to repent one day a year for the eco-sins they commit the other 364?

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Comments

  1. Krys says:

    I had a friend make a change because of us. She is an omnivore and she told me that we influenced her to cook 3 vegetarian meals a week. I thought that was great. And another friend started making her own laundry soap and using a clothes line like we do.

    By the way, I really like your page.

  2. Tiffany says:

    My mom began designating “vegetarian days” for herself throughout the week when I first adopted a vegan lifestyle, I think not only as a way to try to understand and embrace my dietary habits but also because she could see how it was benefitting my health. Although she would still consume dairy products or eggs on those days, at least she limited her meat consumption. My family has always been mindful of the environment, but my brother and I try most consciously to respect the earth, so we influence each other (and hopefully others, as well) to make earth-friendly lifestyle choices.

    Happy Earth Day! 🙂

  3. Amy says:

    I’ve seen several of my friends and family start backyard gardens in some way shape or form since I started my own garden two years ago. I’m sure it helped that I went around raving about how great it was to everyone I know. 🙂 Gardens are not only great for the environment but they encourage people to eat more veggies and less animal products!

  4. Danielle (Coffee Run) says:

    I’d like to think my lifestyle has made an impact on some of my family’s decisions. My family is huge on “save the left-overs but never actually eat them.” I think now they try and use left-overs more…and, in turn are wasting less!

  5. Great question! I have a few friends who have gone vegetarian/vegan since I have, and I’d like to think I played a small roll in that. I think sometimes it can be easier to make the change once you know you have like-minded people around you. It’s much easier being vegan knowing other veg folks – either in person or through the internet!

    My family has made HUGE positive changes with their diet since I went vegan. My mom & dad hardly ever eat meat or dairy anymore, and they are incredibly supportive of my lifestyle. We even have a vegan Thanksgiving & Christmas every year – which was their idea! It’s pretty amazing.

  6. Keri says:

    Thank you for the comments! I definitely can say I’ve seen interest and positive changes in those around me. My grandma doesn’t buy meat anymore and switched from cow’s milk to soy. But I definitely hope to influence more people through my actions throughout my life! I also think I’ve been influenced by the vegan community to make more Earth friendly choices, such as reusable bags and less packaged foods. I love it!

  7. Vegmom says:

    These are some loaded questions 🙂 I went a very long time being vegetarian, as in 8+ years that didn’t seem to make a difference to anyone but myself. And some meals for hubby.

    But once becoming a Mom or maybe age, or meeting more people, maybe seeing the changes in me, I don’t know. But I’m finally watching shifts in people that I care about. My Hubby is on his 2nd year being Vegetarian, and will humor me with my raw dishes as well.

    Of course my Kiddo has been totally affected by my healthy eating and clean living choices, and even tried to get bleach out of his school.

    He recycles, composts, and helps with our garden. He comes to Farmer’s markets with me, and will choose a veggie over fried food any day of the week.

    A friend just wrote me today on her 2nd week going raw/vegan, another has switched to green smoothie breakfasts that has made significant health improvements.

    Several people I know have made the Reusable Bag Switch, (I don’t wrap gifts, I send them in reusable bags) Even my MIL is using them now. Some people started their own gardens or began composting. And at least 5 people I know have switched to all natural cleaning products and animal friendly cosmetics.

    Some have switched to Organic milks or non-dairy alternatives… And one person went completely vegetarian all in the past couple years or this year especially.

    Many more people are asking questions then ever before and actually out of curiosity instead of just teasing like years past. I do think that how we live affects others. Even if it doesn’t show up right away.

    Funny, though, My Hubby still thinks one person can’t make a difference. It drives me nuts. And yet he does so much now to make a difference….He has no idea the impact.

    As for Earth Day, in our town there are a lot of festivals centered around it. And lots of people attend. So even if it is a one day thing, I hope that those people all take at least one thing away that will make a difference long term.

    And for Easiest ways to change.. Meatless days obviously. or only switch to non-dairy milk. And see where that takes you.

    Decrease your trash by recycling, Use reusable shopping bags.

    Find all the things you can use vinegar for, and remove each of those toxic cleaners from your home.

    So many ways to do a little that comes out to a lot!!!

  8. Vegmom says:

    Wow, that was hugely long!! Sorry