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When it comes to making the world a better place for animals, there is so much to be done that it’s easy to lose yourself in “shoulds.” Think: I should be attending outreach events, I should be eating a completely vegan diet, I should be converting everyone I know into an advocate … and so on. You could spend all day thinking about what you should be doing, and it can easily and very quickly feel overwhelming.
But it’s only January — too early in the year to get overwhelmed into inaction. Setting small, realistic goals is better for you, and in the long term, better for the animals, too. Every action contributes to a kinder, more compassionate world, so start focusing on all the ways you can lend a hand.
With that in mind, here are six easy things you can do for animals in the new year:
Eliminate one or more animal products from your diet.
If you can’t go all the way plant-based overnight (and most vegans didn’t do it in a day), try ditching one animal product at a time. Switch to Earth Balance butter or a non-dairy milk; eliminate eggs and start using the VeganEgg in the a.m.; or use Lightlife hot dogs instead of the real deal. Baby steps!
Sign a Change.org petition.
Petitions can actually make all the difference for animals in need. Thanks to successful petitions, Starbucks is now working on vegan food options, Subway is rolling out vegan subs, and Amtrak has decided to offer more veg-friendly options. Those are just food-related examples, but plenty of animals have been saved, released, or rescued thanks to popular petitions. Start today by signing and sharing this petition to help protect pigs!
Pick a charity that inspires you, and put your money where your heart is. Any amount counts, no matter how small. Consider foregoing your daily latte and giving that money to an animal protection org, instead. Or put your spare change in an “I Love Animals” jar and donate whatever you collect. Plenty of philanthropic groups could put your pennies to good use — our favorite of course is Compassion Over Killing!
From farm sanctuaries to animal rescues to advocacy orgs, there are dozens of worthy nonprofits that could use your skills. If you’re short on time, give what you can spare. Ask for a task that fits one of your unique talents — be it social media management, fundraising, or dog walking. Whatever you’re good at, you can use it to help the animals.
Stop buying leather or wool.
Animal products have a sneaky way of appearing in almost everything — from food to clothes to household goods. Eliminating them all can feel like a tall order, so start by removing one or two from your wardrobe. Leather is easier than ever to avoid, what with designers like Stella McCartney and MooShoes making uber-adorable faux bags and shoes. Instead of wool sweaters or hats, try acrylic, polyester fleece, or cotton. There are lots of inexpensive brands that make clothing with synthetic or plant-based fibers, too; just check the labels before you buy!
Social media is a powerful tool. Sometimes, sharing a petition, meme, or link with your network can exponentially amplify a message. Next time you see something worth sharing — whether it’s an undercover factory farm video or a super cute rescue story — share it on your favorite social networks. Heck, share this blog post! The more people know about the plight of animals, the more likely they are to make compassionate choices. Need some quick ideas: Visit us on Facebook and Twitter now!
Are there any other baby steps people can take to help animals in need? Share your suggestions and ideas in the Facebook comments!