Here on FITnancials, I write about healthy living and budgeting, with a bit of traveling on the side.
Today, I wanted to talk about something different. The past few months have been really difficult for me, maybe for you as well. It seems as if the bad going on in the world has only heightened and gotten stronger. Our country (United States) is more divided than it has been in a long time. Racism, inequality, and sexism are more apparent than ever.
Most of you might not know this, but I went vegan around November of 2015. I refrain from talking about it on my website for several reasons, with the most important being I’ve never known how to bring it up without igniting some kind of debate of some sort. I went for ethical reasons, and as you most likely already know, animals are also getting treated absolutely horrendously. I know deep down all of us (ok, maybe most) are filled with compassion and want to see the world become a better place. Because of this, I will be listing some ways you can help animals, and not only dogs and cats.
This got me thinking what we each individually can do, and with our combined efforts, we can create drastic change throughout the world, no matter who you are or what your background is.
So whether you’re a vegan or just a regular person who wants to make this world a more peaceful planet, keep on reading and get motivated or inspired. I also encourage sharing this, even if it’s just to a friend or family member. With our combined efforts, I truly believe we can make a difference for the better.
1. Find an organization to volunteer at
You can search opportunities for both in-person and virtual at Volunteer Match. Whether you’re into human rights, animal activism, arts, and culture, or board development, there will be something available for you. You can also search upcoming events near you. There have been over 12 million volunteer’s matched, which is pretty amazing!
2. Pick up trash
I live in Austin, Texas, and volunteer monthly at the lake to help keep Austin beautiful. If there isn’t a clean-up group in your local city, bring a bag, gloves, and get out there and clean a park yourself. I read that there’s so much plastic being dumped into the ocean, that we’ll have more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Teach your children how important the environment is and how keeping our planet clean is important.
3. Support businesses that align with your ethics
For example, I would never EVER shop at Tyson if I was a meat eater. Tyson has come under fire again and again for treating their animals the absolute worst. There are videos online of these atrocities and I constantly wonder what makes someone get to this point of treating another living thing with so much cruelty. Same goes for companies that do not pay their workers enough. Forever21 and H&M are also in the spotlight for not paying their workers enough in third world countries. Any time you pay for something, you’re voting for that company to stay in business. Remember that.
4. Rescue a dog, cat, rabbit, or any animal from a shelter
If there’s one thing that I’m not afraid to admit on my blog, it’s that I’m 100% against breeding. I’ve seen myself what goes on in shelters, how dogs end up there, and the horrors of what many animals face because of breeders. I volunteer at rescues and there have been way too many stories of breeders giving up their dogs because they had no one to give it to.
There are millions of animals that are in need of a loving home and I can tell you from personal experience, taking a dog out of an animal shelter will impact the dog far more than you will ever realize. A shelter is an incredibly stressful experience for a dog and NO animal deserves to live their life like this. We rescued our dog Coco from a family who was using her to make money off breeding and totally neglected her health. Now, Coco is with a loving family and her health is 100% restored.
5. Donate your hair
Donate your hair to Locks of Love and give a child with hair loss from a medical diagnosis a chance at having hair.
6. Shop locally
I feel like I don’t really need to say much about this because it’s pretty self-explanatory.
7. Become a weekday vegetarian
Going vegan or vegetarian will not only save animals from living a miserable existence, but will help the environment, and your health. I, myself, have cleared my cystic acne all over my body and face, and my once easily bruised body doesn’t have one single bruise today.
Fun fact: Did you know pigs are smarter than dogs?
I recommend watching this awesome Ted talk from Graham Hill. “We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday veg.” You can watch it here.
Related: Healthiest Foods For A Tight Budget
8. Donate products to an animal shelter
Animal shelters need food, litter, cleaning supplies, toys for enrichment, and tons of other supplies. Call up your local animal shelter to see what they need.
9. Volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
BBBS is a free service for children who are in need of an adult role model. Having a role model can decrease the chance of risky behavior and stay focused on academics. I was a volunteer for 1 year and it was a truly rewarding experience. I also regularly donated by clothing to my little sister and took her out on outings all over St. Louis, such as movies, museums, restaurants, and shopping at the mall. I was only 19 and didn’t have much money, but made it work because it was worth it to me.
10. Spread awareness
Educate people on why they should care about buying cruelty-free products, buy from companies that produce ethically made products, and more. I went vegan solely from hearing people around me and online share articles about veganism and the animal agriculture industry.
Related: How I’ve Seen 5 Continents By Age 23
11. Foster an animal
I’m lucky to live in Austin, the #1 no-kill city in the United States. We are #1 because we care so deeply for animals, and also because we heavily rely on fosters. A foster is a great way for an animal to relieve stress from the shelter environment, as well as thrive in a home setting, where a potential adopter can see how the dog will actually be. Animals need love, and it’s hard to get that when there are over 100 dogs in a shelter that are all constantly barking and in need of walks.
12. Don’t take a picture with a chained up tiger
The fact that I even had to place that as #12 really hurts me inside. Find out why you shouldn’t here.
13. Donate to an animal sanctuary
Donating to a sanctuary means you’re helping out animals that were most likely abused or neglected. Farmed animals have it the absolute worst, so most of the sanctuaries you’ll see are for pigs, cows, chickens, and other related animals. Check out this list of sanctuaries.
14. Donate used clothing
And while you’re at it, also donate unused makeup. This really comes in handy for women who are trying to land an interview and want to present themselves a little nicer.
15. Buy from companies who are giving back
Here is a list of companies that are giving back. When you buy from these companies, not only are you helping the world, you are also sending a message to other companies to do the same.
16. Regularly donate blood
The United States and countries around the world often experience low blood stores and are in constant need of donations to help save lives. 30 minutes and not much pain at all. Definitely worth it.
17. Volunteer as a photographer at your local shelter or sanctuary
Shelters and sanctuaries heavily rely on social media to get their name out there. A local animal shelter in the area recently got a photographer to take professional pictures of the dogs, and the percentages of dogs get adopted has increased drastically. Put your skills to work and help save lives. Call your local animal shelters and see who needs help.
18. Stop buying cruelty made products
Stop purchasing items on products that have been tested on animals. Makeup does not need to be tested on animals. Many companies are going cruelty-free and vegan because of how many people that are speaking up about this. There are hundreds of brands that are cruelty-free. Check out a list here.
19. Volunteer on the holidays at a nursing home
Have you ever seen a nursing home on Christmas? I have, and it is by far one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t have to be. These people just want someone to talk to on holidays. If you want to take it a step further, create an event at your local nursing home and gather up a bunch of people, kids, animals, and whatever else to join you. Play music, get people dancing, maybe even do some arts and crafts, and definitely serve desserts.
20. Reduce waste
The average American throws away 7 pounds of garbage a day. If you think about how light plastic is, and then think about 7 pounds, that’s an awful lot of garbage.
21. If you smoke, don’t litter
If you smoke cigarettes, stop throwing it away on the ground as if the earth is your trash can. It’s not.
22. Call your parents or loved ones
I’ve made it a point to spend as much time as possible with my mom and speak to my sister daily. Take pictures and enjoy every second you get with your family and friends. You never know when it’ll be your last.
23. Smile more
A simple smile from a stranger can boost my mood for the entire day.
24. Stop buying products with fur
Now, I’m not telling you to watch a video of how we get fur from the animals, but if you need to see it believe it then you should watch it and see what happens yourself. Fur is becoming less of a trend and more frowned upon. It’s such a cruel process, and while you’re at it, stop buying fake eyelashes that are made of actual animal fur.
25. Last, but not least, pick up your dog sh*t
There are several reasons why you should pick up your dog’s poop, with one important reason being the poop flows back into the water system when it rains. Also, I’m sick of stepping in it.
Like I said earlier, with our combined efforts, we can definitely make a difference. Many people have the mentality that they’re only 1 person and can’t do much, but imagine changing just 1 person life, or saving 1 animal, that is a life you are saving. A precious, worthy life that has the capability to make the world a better place. We can create a domino effect and make a difference and we will get there. Believe me. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to regularly writing about how we can create a healthier, more peaceful environment for our children, animals, and the world.
What are some other ways we can make this world a better place? What have you done to make a difference?
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