The Biggest Sin and the Best Vegan Logician

September 5, 2013

This past week, we marked the beginning of Jewish new year, 5774, at services with L.A.'s Rabbi Mordecai Finley, whose profound focus is Spiritual and Moral Psychology (he is veg to boot!). He mentioned that one Jewish perspective considers the worst sins to be melancholy and detachment, both of which cause departure from our moral ground, our highest selves.

Of course, everything I hear runs through a vegan filter (you, too?) and this idea applied no less—to the importance of our continued action as activists, even in the face of severely depressing knowledge and gut-wrenching footage that could easily render one hopeless and immobile.

I immediately thought of Gary Yourofsky, the most hardcore vegan logician and activist I can name, who never slumps into silence or apathy, never departs from his moral ground. To be sure of it, he tirelessly refuses affiliates or sponsorship from any organization, unbeholden to playing politics with his message. As committed as any of us are, I believe we can all learn from his commitment. And btw, he has lectured more than 2,300 times to over 60,000 people wand has the highest conversion-to-vegan rate I've heard of.

Check out the interview below where Gary answers FAQs and talks "politician" activism, family, capital punishment, and violence. I'm warning you: hold an open mind...examine any resistance that comes up and share your thoughts in the comments once you've thought it through.

Watch the full-length, life-changing lecture that Gary is known around the world for here.

Why Being the Lone Vegan Makes You a Power Player

August 15, 2013

Being vegan got you feeling alone? Ostracized? Left out at social meals?

Are you fatigued by the "People for Eating Tasty Animals" joke?

Do you feel like you’re the only one who cares about animals?

Hold up! I will not have you feeling this way! Let’s bring all those feelings to an asphalt-burning halt, case closed, right this minute!

Let me lay a virtual hand on your shoulder and tell you exactly why the work you’re doing—even if you’re doing it alone—makes you a power player in the vegan movement.

In 1962, Everett Rogers published a book called Diffusion of Innovations. In it was a bell curve graph that illustrated how new ideas spread. “Innovators” were on the left, a miniscule 2.5% of the population. Then came the “Early Adopters” at 13.5%. The “Early Majority” and "Late Majority" followed at 34% each, making up the ascent, crown, and descent of the bell. Finally on the right side, were the “Laggards” at 16%.

Innovators are infatuated with new ideas and core-driven to bring about advances. Small in numbers, they are brave and daring, the adventuous few who challenge others to see, think, and behave in a new ways.

Early Adopters immediately see the value and potential of innovative ideas and advances. Empowered and intuitive, they participate—their commitment undeterred by obstacles of inconvenience or expense that new ideas and technologies arise with.

The Early and Late Majorities are respectively less and less comfortable with new ideas, influenced by practicality and habit over innovation. Change requires ease, inexpense, and wide social proof. These groups need others to go before them in order to change their ways.

Laggards refuse to adopt new ideas and technologies until there is no longer a choice.

See where I’m going?

Today, veganism is just being introduced to the mainstream. In fact, at this moment, we are amazingly aligned with Rogers' numbers, vegans making up about 2%+ of the U.S. population!

Depending on how long you’ve been vegan, you are either an innovator or an early adopter—and that means the vegan movement doesn’t become mainstream without you.

You have more influence than you know. Whether they know it or not, you are normalizing veganism in your community—its definition, existence, its feasibility, and its “face.” Your purchases influence the market and make vegan products more affordable and available.

You are a POWER PLAYER IN THE GAME, ya hear?

It may be a quiet and sometimes lonesome battle you’re waging, but you are inherently cutting away, subverting, and undermining the meat and dairy industry every step of the way. Don’t you go changing.

What others do or say doesn’t matter. It only matters what kind of person you want to be.

Without exception, the rights we’ve attained throughout history have come from the bottom up, not the top down. So if you’re toeing the line alone, just keep showing up. Wear that vegan T-shirt, keep bringing your favorite dish to the party, carry that green juice in a glass jar when you drop your kid off at school—and smile and wave it around the community like it’s the best thing that has ever happened to you—and them!—because your choices are a flag and you are a leader.

Which kind are you? Leave me a comment below.

P.S. If you’ve not yet gone vegan, get with program, Laggard! Choose veganism before it chooses you!