While tabling on behalf of Denver Vegans at the city of Denver’s Earth Day Fair, I had several chances to increase the effectiveness of my outreach by talking with people who influence many others. A friend had told me that 50PlusPrime, the TV News Magazine for Baby Boomers, was in town looking for stories on boomer generation people involved in community service, and would I be interested in talking to them? I would.
It turned out that the program’s president and founder is a vegan himself! So he was glad to film a segment on that topic. He and a cameraman came to the Earth Day Fair, interviewed me on camera and showed our vegan literature table. The program will not air until this fall, in limited markets, but will be available for viewing online after air date.
I also mentioned that I would like to encourage boomer-age viewers not to give up on personal goals or dreams they’d had in their youth, out of a fear that maybe now they were too old to achieve them. I’d wanted to be a published author since my youth, but put that on the back burner as I gave my attention to other worthwhile projects. I picked up that dream in my late 50s, and wrote my book The Practical Peacemaker: How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible. It was picked up by New York publisher Lantern Books, published just after my 60th birthday, and launched with an author event at the Tattered Cover Bookstore. I was filmed talking about this for a separate segment of 50PlusPrime.
But back to the Earth Day Fair. Denver Water had been assigned the table next to ours. They were giving out water-saving sprinkler nozzles and promoting low-flow shower heads. In a quiet moment I asked a staffer if she was aware of how much water is saved by each person who reduces or eliminates meat consumption. I gave her the PETA pamphlet “Meat’s Not Green,” pointing out the statistic that “by going vegan, one person can save approximately 200,000 gallons of water a year.” She listened to what I was saying, and seemed surprised, so maybe she will think this over.
Another influential encounter was with the head of the Denver Dept. of Environmental Health, which sponsored the Fair. He said his father (aged 82!) had been encouraging him to go veg, and he himself was cutting back on meat. Then he commented that his department had been encouraging local food and the support of local farmers. Tabling with me was Keith Akers, who explained to him that only 10% of the energy in our food comes from transportation; most is in the production of the food, and animal products require many times more energy than plant foods to produce. Again, we hope he will think this over.
We talked to activists staffing tables for other environmentally-oriented organizations and many Fair attendees, with mostly positive–and some downright enthusiastic–results.