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On August 17 I marched through the streets of London with 12,000 other vegans for animal liberation and for the future of our planet.
Vegans Runners UK, the Hunts Sabs, Animal Rebellion, Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV) and Surge were all in attendance with many other activist groups.
We occupied Trafalgar Square for an hour and ended the march at Westminster where prominent activists delivered some truly inspirational speeches. It was an empowering and motivating experience.
Earthing Ed took to the stage at the end of the march and encouraged us to do more for our beliefs. Our own veganism is the bare minimum. There are more of us now than ever, but there are still not enough.
We need more vegans to make a bigger and lasting impact. We must become active in order to continue to grow as a movement and to match the rapid increase veganism has seen in recent years.
If we want to save the animals and our environment, then we need to raise our voices and show people just how much it means to us. The future is in our hands if we are willing to fight for it.
Many forms of activism
And activism can come in many forms. It’s not just about shouting in the streets and protests. There are public outreach programmes like those Anonymous to the Voiceless hold based on the Earthlings Experience, which are extremely effective at engaging interest with the public using Cubes.
The Hunt Sabs do fantastic work in their efforts to make the public aware of the illegal fox hunting that continues to happen in the UK. Non-violent direct action works in so many ways.
But there are also more subtle methods of activism. Engaging in sports is a fantastic example. Vegan Runners UK is the largest vegan sports club. Every runner that wears the vest is an activist.
We show the health benefits of a vegan diet whilst competing in ultra-marathons, marathons, park runs and everything in between. We also have the second largest parkrun presence in the UK, and we are a widely respected club in the running community at large.
Our running gets people interested in veganism in a proactive way as other competitors see how prevalent we are. We run, and we run well, all on a vegan diet.
Physically active vegans
Compassion does not get in the way of our athletic performance. Fiona Oakes holds three world records for her running and even completed Marathon des Sables, one of the toughest foot races on earth, all in effort to raise money for her animal sanctuary.
Bear Austin set a course record when he won a 100-mile race, the Grim Reaper Ultra Marathon back in 2017. Physically active vegans are also activists and that’s why some of us joined the march. That’s why I marched.
Activism for all
The point is, we all need to do our very best in whatever way we are proficient to help the cause.
Not everyone has the resources or ability to engage in physical activities, or donate money. Not everyone has free time to spend doing outreach, and as a movement, we need to recognise that. But there are other ways to get involved – perhaps via online activism.
We need to all become active in those ways that we can – and we need to do it today.