Our species, especially in modern-day society, is recognised for being insatiable consumerists, violent abusers of human and non-human animals, and committed environmental destructionists. We urgently need reconnection – to the environment, each other, and other animal species. From our point of view, we have the responsibility to take care of the planet as a whole and co-exist in harmony with all other living beings, including our own. But how do we do that? While we do not have the one golden answer, we can give you some guidance on how to get actively involved in a combination of environmental ethics, human rights and animal rights to change the world for the better.
How to connect with the environment
Right now, humanity is skating on very thin ice. We have come to the point where all decisions will affect the long-term stability of Earth’s biosphere. It is still possible to prevent the worst, but only if we take decisive action. If we do not immediately change our course, we will pass the point of no-return at the end of this decade. Passing that point would result in an unthinkable amount of unnecessary loss, damage, and suffering, as it is our environment that sustains us all. Many people act as if they have a choice in this matter. But, the climate emergency is here, now, and will also impact your life sooner or later. If not for others, this reason should be enough to get yourself involved with environmental activism.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ways in which you can engage in environmental activism today:
- Listen to the science on climate change, adaptation and regeneration and learn from the knowledge and experience of frontline communities.
- Make a stance against practices highly contributing to the climate crisis, deforestation, land degradation, water use, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
- Promote active knowledge sharing within the global community on climate adaptation, land and water conservation, and restoration and revegetation.
- Create and sign petitions to protect the environment from harmful practices including, but not limited to, mining, deforestation, oil drilling, animal factory farming, palm oil production, and many others.
- Recognise the impact of animal agriculture and endorse the plant-based treaty: an international treaty that aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture, promote a shift to more healthy & sustainable diets, and actively reverse the damage done to planetary functions, ecosystem services, and biodiversity.
- Challenge the greenwashing claims and schemes obscuring the reality of the impact of the products we buy and demand transparency.
- Integrate the environment in your decision-making process and be conscious of your daily consumptions to reduce your personal impacts.
- Defund unethical practices and move your money to corporations and institutes that only invest sustainably and ethically.
- Keep pressuring on our leaders to deliver more than non-binding pledges and not accept anything less than immediate climate action!
How to connect with each other
We cannot save our planet if we cannot show compassion and empathy for other human beings. Many have suffered (and still are) due to centuries of colonialism, imperialism, systemic injustices, and the merciless greed of a few, which ultimately caused the warming of the planet. Now, overexploited countries and marginalised societies are systemically left behind to fend for themselves. Droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events are hitting those that are the least equipped to recover and adapt, often depriving them of daily food and other basic needs, forcing them to migrate. This is not something we can change unless we solve the inequalities we face today. We need to stand up and push for change to allow ourselves to make collective long term decisions that benefit us all.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ways in which you can engage in human rights activism today:
- Educate yourself on social justice and human rights and share what you’ve learned with others.
- Speak out against bigotry and discriminatory behaviour which includes, but is not limited to, racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, xenophobia and homophobia – and encourage others to do the same.
- Look out for the physical, psychological and environmental signs to help identify human rights violations and abuse.
- Take time to find and listen to the voices that are systemically silenced and use your privileges to amplify the less privileged voices.
- Be open-minded and find a common language when connecting within the global community – understand that the ability to read English is a privilege in itself.
- Support NGO’s, groups and individuals that fight for freedom of speech and protest.
- Volunteer as an activist and a leader in a way that suits your personality and circumstances for social justice and human rights.
- Avoid strengthening the supply chain of products and services that uphold human rights violations and social injustice by consuming fair trade.
- Urge corporations and your government by writing letters and signing petitions to take responsibility and improve the quality of human life.
- Integrate inclusiveness in your decision-making process in both your personal and professional life.
How to connect with non-human animals
Our compassion and empathy should not be limited to our own species. We share this planet with many other species of animals, which are obviously very different to us but are still sentient and conscious beings that value their own life, as we do ours. Yet, they suffer immensely at our hands. We classify them as ‘numbers’, ‘things’ or ‘objects’ to allow ourselves to breed them into existence and use their bodies as resources. Connecting with non-human animals starts with questioning our attitudes towards them in today’s society. We grow up within a social construct that teaches us from a young age to ignore animal suffering and to distance ourselves from it. We have convinced ourselves that their suffering is necessary for our survival. However, their suffering has become an unnecessary commodity in modern-day society, justified for our entertainment, our pleasure, and our fashion statement. It is time to reconnect with our fellow animal people to bring back balance into this world.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ways in which you can engage in animal rights activism today:
- Educate yourself on animal welfare and animal rights issues and share what you’ve learned with others.
- Speak up and denormalise the widespread exploitation and suffering of animals that have become a commodity in modern-day society – be a silence breaker!
- Challenge the misconceptions and humane-washing claims obscuring the reality for animals within the animal agriculture industry and actively inspire others to do the same.
- Volunteer as an activist and urge corporations to break free from the use of animal-derived products in their supply chain.
- Integrate animal welfare in your decision-making process and remove animal-derived products from your personal consumption.
- Look out for the physical, psychological and environmental signs to help identify animal cruelty and take the initiative to put an end to animal captivity and abuse.
- Support projects helping farmers in the animal agriculture industry to make the transition to a plant-based business model.
- Push governments to remove subsidies from the animal agriculture industry and promote a shift to more healthy, ethical and sustainable diets.
- Financially support the development and maintenance of ethical animal sanctuaries (safe havens) for animals.
Last but not least
As you may have read between the lines, everything is interconnected, and we can’t solve one problem without solving the other. When we focus on the underlying connections, our actions and solutions will be significantly more effective. Ready to get actively involved? Then, remember the following:
- Understand that there is always more to (un/re)learn and that we are on an ongoing journey.
- Appreciate and enjoy the learning process and embrace every step you make to improve the world we live in.
- Do not see yourself as one drip in the ocean, see yourself as the drip that starts a ripple effect.
- Speak up! In order to make a positive change, we need the weight in numbers.
- Do something that suits your personality and circumstances, and have fun doing it!