Video: Vegan YouTube community – can we be effective?


Now for something a little different: I usually make videos where I review products, etc., but today I wanted to explore the effectiveness of the vegan YouTube community.

As I mention in the video, YouTube was the first place I ever “met” vegans, and it can be a really good place to connect with people. There is also a lot of information and inspiration.

I’ve been wondering how the the vegan YouTube community can be truly effective. And I mean actual legislation, not street and video protests, although I know they can draw attention to our cause. YouTube is a huge platform, and easily the largest group of vegans on the internet – if we could could work together.

Going beyond protest and consumer activism

I am really interested in how we can institute real change through political action. I briefly mention Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in the video, because of a favourite channel of mine, à-bas-le-ciel (a more political and philosophically inclined vegan YouTube channel). That channel’s author, Eisel Mazard often points out the tremendous success of groups like MADD.

Since their founding in 1980, MADD has gone from zero to a serious presence in nearly every North American city.  They have been hugely successful, especially when you consider the number of people involved. The group, which operates in the US and Canada, has effectively campaigned for legislation concerning drunk driving throughout North America.

It’s true that groups like PETA have been effective in calling attention to vegan issues. But at the same time, protests in the street are neither the best nor the only way of changing the world. Real political change (read: laws) takes determination and organization, something vegans haven’t been too successful at so far.

Any ideas for effective activism within the vegan YouTube community?

We are doing very well on the consumer activism front, and I think that’s fantastic. But I’d love to animal testing and vivisection laws, and I don’t think that’s an impossible goal. What do you guys think about this? Do you have any ideas about first steps for animal rights legislation? Especially something that a wide variety of people will support?

3 Responses to “Video: Vegan YouTube community – can we be effective?

  • A friend of mine did a piece of academic research not too long ago about the social barriers that face those who want/try to go vegan (result: quite a few). Maybe more research is needed to figure out the best strategies for promoting veganism; I’d guess it probably varies a LOT between different groups of people. (There is the ‘Vegan Strategist’ blog but I can’t say I’m a big fan.) For me (as you probably know!) popular representation of vegans and veganism really drives me batty because 99% of the time it is incorrect, non-inclusive, non-representative and generally awful. This is the message that reaches a HUGE number of potential vegans and I feel that it does way more harm than good. I’d love to see The Vegan Society funding some USEFUL research about barriers to veganism and reasons for veganism, broken down into all kinds of groups like race/gender/socio-economic status/disability/etc/etc/etc., i.e. an accurate representation of the actual population. I doubt there’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach to activism and the more we know about why different folks go vegan and what their own inspiration was the better we can do in promoting veganism.

    I’m an old-school internet user and yet to get into YouTube as much as I should but I’m working on it 🙂

  • Mary C Pace
    2 years ago

    “The medium is the message.” Most issues that catch on are driven by cataclysmic events (rare) or by interesting people we listen to. Just keep talking. You have more chance to change hearts and minds by being interesting, attractive, and earnest than armies of political activists with posters and marches.

    • Thank you! I tend to agree, but I’m also interested in the boring but effective city hall type of activism that is less talked about, but probably the most effective. I’m just curious how often activists actually take time to go to boring council meetings and try to help with change on a smaller, but likely more useful scale. Just something to think about.

%d bloggers like this: