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Michael's new thread, <a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=70636" target="_blank">Activism for Non-Activists</a> reminded me of an important turning point in my path toward becoming veg*n.<br><br><br><br>
I grew up on a small family owned dairy farm. I observed at a young age that every animal has feelings and a distinct personality. I also observed a lot of other things that I suppressed from my conscious mind for three decades. Throughout the years, I would occasionally contemplate the morality of eating meat. Those thoughts were fleeting and were quickly banished to my subconscious along with my childhood memories of the farm.<br><br><br><br>
I consider myself to be a pacifist. In November of 2002, thoughts of war, peace, and terrorism were weighing heavily on my mind. One day, while going shopping at the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, NY, I saw a car with two bumper stickers. The first sticker had a pro-peace message on it. I can't remember exactly what is said, but I remember agreeing with it. The second sticker simply said, "Go Vegetarian".<br><br><br><br>
Seeing those two stickers side by side really made me think. The thoughts about animal rights were brought to the front of my mind. I asked myself, "Is there a difference between dealing peacefully with other nations and dealing peacefully with other species? If animals are thinking feeling individuals, don't they have the right to live too? Is there really a difference between killing a man and killing a cow?"<br><br><br><br>
Somehow, seeing that bumper sticker in the right place at the right time allowed me to explore the morality of an issue that I had managed to avoid seriously thinking about for thirty years. On that Fall day in 2002, in the parking lot of the mall, I made an important decision. I gave myself until the end of the year to say good bye to my favorite meat dishes, and at the stroke of midnight on New Year's 2003 I became a vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
Three and a half years later, while searching for recipes on the internet, I found Veggie Boards. While exploring the site I saw a video that triggered childhood memories of the way I had seen animals treated on the farm. I have been vegan since that day.<br><br><br><br>
My life is so different than it was five years ago. Not only am I eating healthier food, my entire outlook on life has changed. I am not the only one who has changed. My husband recently became a vegetarian too.<br><br><br><br>
I admit that the bumper sticker was not the only thing that led to me being a veg*n, but it played an important role. It forced me to think about issues I had been hiding from all my life. It was the final little push I needed to change my way of thinking, my way of eating, and my way of life. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if some anonymous stranger had not taken the time to place a sticker on the back bumper of his car.<br><br><br><br>
So what about you? Has anyone else been affected by an act of passive activism? Has a t-shirt, sticker or poster changed your way of life. I would love to hear stories from other people.
 

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I think passive activism is vitally important. Had I been exposed to more of it, I'm sure I would've gave up animal products sooner. Seeing signs of veg*nism adds validity, adds community, and it plants seeds in people's mind.<br><br><br><br>
On my car I have a personalized license plate that says "vegan" and I have a human right campaign sticker and a Darwin fish. I keep copies of "Why Vegan?" and "Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating" stocked at local coffee shops, and I've put veg-related stickers up in areas of town where college students hang out.
 

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Not really stickers and posters, but I can say that "passive" activism made me go veg.<br><br><br><br>
In my case, just knowing a few vegetarians affected me. I used to have a vegan coworker who I hung out with some at work. I thought he was weird, but not in a bad way. We didn't talk much about veganism, because he's not one to preach, but things occasionally came up in conversation, and I heard him talk about his reasons for being vegan. I also know a couple of other people who are nearly vegetarian (a pescatarian, and a Jewish woman who doesn't eat meat outside her own home where she can make sure she's only getting meat from the Kosher butcher). For years, I saw them eat without touching meat and thought "I wouldn't know what to eat if I did that".<br><br><br><br>
Somewhere along the way, I did decide that I agreed with the vegan talk enough that I'd cut back on my meat consumption, but being a stereotypical bachelor when it comes to cooking, I didn't really know what to eat instead, so I always ended up eating meat.<br><br><br><br>
Then one day, the final trigger that convinced me to go veg was an article on the internet about a study of chicken intelligence. Researchers apparently discovered that chickens are smarter than most people think, and they were described as having distinct personalities. Having a pet bird, I can relate to that, and it made me feel truly sorry for the chickens that people eat. I decided right there that I'd never eat another bird, and continuing to eat mammals while not eating birds seemed silly, so I went "vegetarian" (actually pescatarian at first, but I didn't know terminology).<br><br><br><br>
At that point, I really didn't know what to eat, so I started hunting around the internet. I quickly discovered that most veg sites are either propaganda sites trying to convince people to go veg, or else recipe sites that are intimidating for a newbie. Not easily finding any "So you've given up meat. Here's what you should eat instead" sites, I decided to hunt specifically for discussion groups and found VB. It didn't take long of reading the posts here (a couple of days) before I gave up eating fish, and I've been heading towards vegan ever since.<br><br><br><br>
So things that could be considered passive activism that affected me:<br><br><br><br>
1) Just seeing a vegan coworker who set a good example and occasionally answered questions without being preachy. (He was shocked when I told him I'd gone veg)<br><br>
2) Reading a scientific article that "humanized" chickens.<br><br>
3) VB members just being supportive and setting a good example.<br><br><br><br>
--Fromper<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/juggle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":juggle:">
 

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I agree, I think passive activism can be important and it was the single biggest factor in my going veg. I have a good friend who was vegetarian. I was curious about why anyone would do that. (I had a bad case of disconnect from reality then) She, and later her husband, were amazingly patient with my ridiculous questions. They never preached (which would have turned me off in an instant) After becoming very good friends with them, I borrowed a couple of their books and my exploration began. I can say that without their passive activism I never would have "gotten it"<br><br><br><br>
And I think what goes around comes around. When I started work at my new job, I let people know I was veg whenever we would order food, just so they wouldn't be offended when I wasn't eating their pizzas or subs or whatever. People began asking me questions about it. Since I started there in March, two of my co-workers have gone vegetarian. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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