Wondering how you can best help animals, the planet, and your health? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are just a few suggestions, starting with the most obvious one:
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that my #1 tip for taking action is to GO VEGAN. In case the all-caps formatting didn’t convince you that I’m serious about this, let me tell you that, since I became vegan in 2017, I have felt so much healthier overall; in fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had been sick (including a mild case of COVID) since going vegan. I also used to have stomach issues, as well as esophageal reflux, which is practically nonexistent. And, guess what? I’m also helping animals and helping the planet.
If you’re not ready to quite animal products cold-tofu (the vegan version of that saying), try first going vegetarian, if you’re not already. I was vegetarian for less than a year before going vegan. Yes, you can go from carnivore to vegan overnight, though that method won’t work for most people. Even if you start with one animal-free meal a day, you’re on the right track.
Did you know that many of the cosmetics, toiletries, and cleaning products you use on a daily basis may be tested on animals? Unless there’s a label that specifies a product is cruelty-free — typically exemplified by a “leaping bunny” — then you should assume that it is not cruelty-free and that t is unethical to use that product. There are so many cruelty-free, vegan brands that you can find at your local pharmacy, grocery store, etc., so it shouldn’t be difficult to make the switch. Sometimes sustainable, ethical products are more expensive than those that are not, so be on the lookout for coupons, sales, etc.
GET RID OF WOOL, LEATHER, ETC.
Was the cow’s death and torture enough to warrant your fancy leather handbag? To some people, maybe yes, but with a plethora of vegan leather options out there — just like with vegan food alternatives — there’s no reason to have that in your household or to wear or carry it. Be sure to check all clothing tags to ensure that there’s no wool, silk, down, etc., as even if it doesn’t feel like there’s anything of concern, it could be hidden. If your clothes, handbags, and accessories are in good enough shape, you may opt to sell or consign them. Just don’t think of it as profiting off of leather goods (and the like): you’re getting back some of the money you [or someone else, if it was a gift] spent.
VOLUNTEER AT A SANCTUARY
A great way to spend your free time is to volunteer at a sanctuary/rescue, whether on a temporary, one-time basis or regularly. For example, I’ve been volunteering 1-2 times/week at Foster Parrots, a parrot sanctuary in Rhode Island, since 2013. What kinds of rescues and sanctuaries are around you will depend on your location, and how far you are willing to drive. Some sanctuaries will accept volunteers for a day, a week or more, although many prefer to have regular, local volunteers. I found Foster Parrots through AdoptAPet; you can also use PetFinder, which lists rescues near you. The best resource, in my not-so-humble opinion, is my vast database of rescues and sanctuaries: click the “Links” section at the top.