In the past few years, citizens worldwide have been facing alarming news and scandals about their health, the health of their fellow citizens, Planet Earth’s own health, coming in all kind of shapes. Increase in the number of natural disasters, growing number of scandals in various industries (fashion, oil & gas, food, …), decrease in the number of mammal species, you name it.
We could assume that citizens are now almost equally aware on these topics, and equally prone to engaging in sustainable and responsible behaviors, whether it is by switching off lights that are not needed, trying to consume less disposable goods, trying to consume more local and/or organic goods, cycling to work or just carpooling to go somewhere.
However, interestingly, the « vegan » trend has resonated very differently to citizens. Unless you have been living on an island for the past few years, you sure have heard of this new trend, particularly followed by young, tech-savvy and eco-friendly generations. Being « vegan » is adopting a lifestyle that does not depend on animals in any way: food, garment, cosmetic products, …
The « vegan » community is very active and visible on the social media, due to their belonging to a young segment of the population. Media are quite fond of this movement as well, since it’s new, loud and extreme. Indeed, it is fairly difficult to follow by the book such an extreme movement. By extreme, I mean that most of the people who claim to be « vegan » are very passionate about it and tend to go all in. For some people, this whole « vegan » trend and these kind of rules can be inspiring; they can give hope and empowerment to citizens about their own daily life and the way their choices matter. On the other hand, other people will see this very active and passionate community somehow as a threat, as they fear to be judged for not committing or else not reaching a full « vegan » lifestyle.
The big takeaway from analyzing this « vegan » movement is that, even if you come with the best intentions and just have several good reasons to engage in such a life-changing lifestyle (it goes the same way for movements such as Zero Waste), the way you depict the movement is key. If you set « extreme » goals, meaning no animal exploited at all, or no waste whatsoever, it can have various results on people: inspire and include them, or discourage and exclude them.
Plus, when humans feel excluded, it’s no secret that they can exaggerate the feature that made them stand apart, out of pride, in the first place, making it even detrimental to the initial cause in terms of overall results. This applies well to « veganism » and the way non « vegan » increase their meat intake or reject meals that are labelled as « vegan-friendly ».