We vegans aren’t alone in believing our issue to be the most urgent, necessary, and encompassing facing the planet. We’re also no more capable than others of genuinely listening to other people when they make the case for the urgency, necessity, and fundamental nature of their issue. It’s likely that, throughout this project, many observers and critics will believe they’ve got to the heart of the issue and located the key sticking point (GMOs, corporate power, capitalism, failure of governance, human overpopulation) or the change agent, and want to write complaints that begin, “The real problem/solution is. . . .”
My response to this is twofold. If you are one of those people, I, first, want to acknowledge the passion and knowledge you bring, but I’d like you to wait, deliberate, reflect, and generally allow the information and/or case as outlined in the Project to unfold. I don’t think there is one solution per se; it might, indeed, be the case that veganism (whatever that might look like) is neither a nor the “solution,” because there may not be “solutions” or the problems themselves will be unresolvable with the methodologies, technologies, or social and political structures we currently operate under.
You may remain unconvinced or frustrated, but it’s my belief that one of the ways that social change comes about is through paying attention to others’ concerns and arguments and either seeking common ground or adapting an argument to reflect the deeper concerns that we now recognize because we’ve genuinely heard the other person and/or point of view—and they feel heard in return. It’s not that I want to persuade you that veganism is the answer to everything; it’s that I want to allow veganism to think through difficult issues without foreshortening the process.
The second way of incorporating and honoring such responses is to bring them into the project itself. We’re going to do this through five theories of social change/organization. (The number and emphasis of these may change throughout the Project.) The next five blogs will be taken up with these five social-change orientations. The first is Choice Architecture.