People often mistakenly think that the way they live their life is not sufficient to make a difference. You may wonder why you bother doing your bit to help the environment when there are so many others more powerful than you ruining it. You might not see the point in buying free-range eggs or being a vegetarian or vegan when the majority of the population eat meat and animal products and don’t give a second thought to animal’s living conditions. Well I’m here to tell you that your actions do matter, and that it takes a multitude of individuals living their beliefs to make a difference. And you can be one of them.
So how did I get all fired up about this topic? Well, I was recently in what I thought was a vegetarian restaurant. You couldn’t blame me for making that assumption by the way as the word ‘vegetarian’ was in the restaurant’s name. Anyway, I asked the waitress what the V meant next to every single meal on the menu and was told that it stood for ‘vegan’. Confused, I asked why they didn’t advertise that they were vegan. I found the answer inspiring. Apparently one day a customer asked for a dish without egg and it set them to thinking that it wouldn't be such a leap for them to be totally vegan. So that’s exactly what they did. Because of one normal everyday person. Not a superstar, politician or otherwise famous person, just someone like you or I. Isn't it cool how one persons way of eating can set off a chain of events that affects others just by living your beliefs? Pretty awesome!
The next time you are eating out, don’t feel bad asking if their coffee is fair trade or their eggs are free range. Don’t feel guilty asking a restaurant to cater to your allergies, intolerances or moral beliefs. Every question you ask increases someone’s awareness. And who knows, your one visit could set them to thinking about positive change, or be the final comment that makes them act. You may unknowingly have made a difference just by being you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that in order to make a difference we need to walk our talk. People are often influenced by actions far more than words. Your voice is so much more influential when you are living your beliefs. To ask if a shop or restaurant has free-range eggs, for example, is great. But to then not buy them if they're not free range makes a statement that is even more powerful than words. It might not always be convenient, but remember, you have purchasing power. Where there is a need, it will be filled. It takes time, but all our individual actions add up, and can change the world for the better.
It is hard when we desire something that does not fit our belief pattern. It comes so naturally to choose the cheapest, tastiest or easiest option. But if you believe in health, the environment, animal rights or any other issue close to your heart, I strongly urge you to walk your talk and change the world. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Know that as consumers we have more power than governments to make real change happen. Committees, laws, or political negotiations do not hamper us. It’s as simple as the fact that where there is demand there will be products to cater for that demand. You can and do affect that, every day.
May you be full of beans and inspiration in knowing that even one person can make a difference,