The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

How do you respond to “You know you aren’t going to change anything, right?”

Posted on August 26, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Anne Custer

Shortly after my transition into veganism, I was eating lunch with some
girls from my English class. Unexpectedly, one of them turned to me and
said, “You know you aren’t going to change anything right?” The uncalled
for comment made my head spin, but as a meek high schooler, I just
sighed to myself and went back to eating my hummus.

Now that I’ve had a tad more life experience (2 years) I can say that I
feel bad for that girl. She has little to no belief in herself or her
capability to enact social change as a human being. I know I will not
convert everyone I meet to being/becoming a vegan, but knowing that I
am not contributing to the cruelty and suffering animals endure for
unnecessary means is enough for me. Animals are innocent creatures and
we tirelessly abuse them for food, clothing, and entertainment, which
are all things we can and should get elsewhere. They don’t have a voice
to speak out to the cruelty being done against them, so someone has to
advocate for them.

My feeling is if everyone thought they couldn’t change anything, nothing
would ever get done. If you aren’t passionate or you don’t care about
anything, then you likely aren’t going to go out of your way to change
something. Too many things need changing in this world for anyone to be
an apathetic bystander. If I could go back to that moment, I would say,
“No, I don’t know that I am not going to change anything, because I am.”
The way she phrased the question was almost a trap for me to fall into.
She didn’t give me the option to say what I was doing to make change or
explain myself. She put that lie into my head that I wasn’t capable of
changing anything. It left me feeling defeated, but then I did some
research. Raising livestock is one of the leading contributors to global
warming. By not eating meat for five years, I have reduced my carbon
footprint and expanded my knowledge about the environment and respect
for our Earth. I have spared countless animals from being consumed,
become more aware about animal rights, and even inspired people to give
veganism a try.

My passion for justice for humans and animals drives me to be an
advocate and desire to see and enact change. One of my favorite quotes
says, “I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the
waters to create many ripples.” Don’t let small-minded, apathetic people
steal your passion; find something you care about and run with it. Find
people that are fighting the same fight and do something! Don’t be
afraid to talk to others about it either. Your efforts could just be the
stone that sets off a chain reaction.

For more resources on how to be an advocate, go to:

1 to “How do you respond to “You know you aren’t going to change anything, right?””

  1. Samantha says:

    So true, Anne! Well said.

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