Today, I'm doing something a bit different. I've invited fellow vegan activist, volunteer, and warrior for animals, Ellie Moffat to say a few words in my blog. Enjoy!
John Oberg: Here’s Someone You Should Be Paying Attention To
Ellie Moffat, May 20, 2019
I have a confession to make. I’m one of those vegans.
That’s right. Every encounter with a non-vegan is a practice in veganizing that person. Every person measured on a scale:
2. Vegan friendly
3. Unapologetic carnivore
If you fall into one of the latter two categories. It’s on!
I’ll debate. I’ll listen intently to everything you have to say. I’ll get angry. I’ll be condescending or self-depreciating. I’ll throw mathematical PROOF in your direction that veganism is the best and only way to live—and who can argue with math? I’ll tell you about the horror of factory farming, the havoc animal agribusiness is wreaking on the planet and the toll it’s taking on our health. Generations of young men and women are dying young and it's largely because meat and dairy cause cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. I spit out these undeniable facts. They’re indisputable. I KNOW I’ve touched a chord. This person’s life has been changed. There’s no way they’re going to go home and not become vegan.
Then, I’m devastated the next time I see that person guzzling down a ham sandwich.
To me, it feels as though I’m in a horror movie where thousands of thousands of men, women and children have been arrested and never heard from again. Bad guys are marching up and down the streets. Yet everyone is walking around like nothing is wrong. When I became vegan I took on this terrible burden. Nothing will be ok ever again. Not as long as every single day we are seeing mass murder on a global scale, deforestation to the tune of an acre per minute and obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are running rampant in our schools. All the while the other half of the world’s children are starving to death. How can people hear this and not become vegan.
John Oberg on the other hand is not that kind of vegan.
John always seems to keep his cool. When Piers Morgan sent him a scathing anti-vegan comment on Twitter, instead of tearing into him for his obtuseness, he took the high-ground. He responded in a rational sensible way. He made a lot of sense too. I can’t help but wonder what effect this might have played on Piers when I see that he has recently taken up a campaign against trophy hunting in Africa. So many vegans started there—with concern for the endangered and majestic animals on the African plains. It was a teachable experience. John used it and it seems to have worked.
It was when I saw a video from John on how to best spread the vegan gospel to our family, friends and our community that I realized he was onto something. I’ve seen with my own eyes that through his vegan social media movement, he has veganized hundreds and maybe thousands of people. Considering the only person I’ve successfully gotten to follow a vegan lifestyle is my mother—I thought I’d better listen. He didn’t talk about smashing windows or fake blood. Actually pissing people off was the opposite of his approach. I’ll never forget one of the first posts from John that I ever saw. It said “When I first became vegan, I was great at winning debates. But now I know that the key is the winning people’s hearts and minds.” After all, it’s a person’s heart that turns them vegan and it’s their mind that keeps them here.
As vegans, most of us just desperately want to help animals and the planet. We recognize that the best way to do that is to veganize people. In doing so, a lot of us begin to sound like a broken record. We don’t talk to our nonvegan friends, we lecture them. People might turn the other direction if they see us walking down the street to avoid yet another discourse in the benefits of the vegan lifestyle. Perhaps we would have an easier time convincing people if they actually wanted to talk to us.
John made a video, a tutorial really, telling vegans how to talk to non-vegans. It was good stuff. Just as becoming a vegan in the first place requires us rewire our thinking, as does speaking to non-vegans requires us to step outside of ourselves and get off our soap box. He explained that you get a lot further by talking about normal things like sports, politics, biking, surfing, beer, the stock market, whatever. If we become vegan and all of the sudden our family a friends see that we have no other interests anymore, our pleas will fall on deaf ears because we will look… crazy.
Instead of screaming, yelling, lecturing and debating. The best thing we can do is lead by example. Once you turn vegan, chances are you’ll look great physically—let people notice and ask you about it. If you are starting to do activism for the first time, your friends and family might be afraid to ask you about it if they think it will open the flood gates to another sermon. But, if you mention, what you saw, heard, did—just leave it at that. Wait for them to ask you for more details. When someone asks about veganism your answer will be 100 times more powerful than if you just come in guns blazing. Keeping our cool. Avoid debates with our family and friends. Wait to give information as an answer to a question. Discuss other things that interest you. This is the real formula for opening up the hearts and minds of your family and friends. Include positive tidbits about veganism when the opportunity arises.
That’s the formula for veganizing people.
John Oberg just started out on his own. He’s doing something completely new and different. He’s started a business in which he is spreading the message where people are, on social media. He has tens of thousands of followers and reaches hundreds of thousands of people a day. Every day on his Twitter you’ll see another person who has gone vegan because of his posts. The non-vegans are listening. They’re transitioning and going full vegan. If there was ever someone of our generation that knows how to veganize the masses, it’s John. If you haven’t been paying attention, you should start. All of us should be listening and learning because the way to help animals is to get people to stop eating them. We all want to help veganize the world but John is actually doing it. If you pay attention, he’ll tell you how to.