Meet a Vegan: Animal Activist John Oberg

Director of New Media for The Humane League, John Oberg, talks about what veganism means to him and how his lifestyle changed for the better.

What makes you unique/different/special?

What makes me unique is my approach to animal advocacy. When it comes to creating a vegan world, I think strategically and think in the long-term. I’m pragmatic and utilitarian, so I want the greatest amount of good to come from my advocacy for animals.

How has your life experiences shaped who you are as a vegan today?

I learned a deep sense of compassion for animals and the vulnerable from my mom. So it has been ingrained in me since I was young.

How did your parents/significant other react when you changed to a plant-based vegan diet?

My mom was very supportive of my decision and shortly after I became vegan, she went vegetarian. So, it was fun to go on similar journeys at the same time. She is the reason I learned to love animals, and I was the reason that she thought to go vegetarian. We had a very positive influence on each other.

How do you deal with being social as a vegan?

In social situation, being subtle about your veganism is ideal. Yelling it from mountaintops may feel cool, but if you want to truly influence, be sure to not put people on the defensive. If someone asks you, definitely tell them you are vegan. But if the fact that you are vegan comes out like that, you’re much more likely to make a positive impact than if you just started talking about it randomly.

What advice would you give to young vegans (vegans just starting out)?

The first 30 days are the hardest, then it gets significantly easier. Seek out vegan friends, but don’t feel like you need to convince your friends and family to be vegan. You can do more good in a single day engaging in effective animal activism than you could in years of trying to convince your friends and family to do it (and become very frustrated along the way). I don’t even bring veganism up with non-vegan friends; I just let them talk to me when they want to and that works perfectly.

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The Humane League’s mission is to reduce the suffering of as many animals as possible, as effectively as possible. To learn more about The Human League, visit their website at www.thehumaneleague.org. 

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