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Thread: Any Tips on Becoming a Better Activist?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Any Tips on Becoming a Better Activist?

    Hey, it's no secret that I have some very very strong passionate opinions that I am eager to promote, but, partly do to my AS, I can have trouble accepting the views of others and can come on much too strong. I don't want people to think I'm some rigid, militant, self-righteous or hypocritical thing, but I feel very strongly that seafood shouldn't be eaten unless someone 1000% has no other choice for survival and I was wondering if anybody here has any advice on how to better encourage people to befriend sea creatures instead of eating them in a way that is appealing and actually gets people to consider changing their diet. I am one mer on a mission, and I want to do all I can to protect my ocean friends!
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  2. #2
    Member Xuchilpaba's Avatar
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    I would play on human selfishness and emphasize things that affect seafood eaters directly, like mercury content, or diseased fish that come from bad fish farms or polluted water. If you can research things like that and come up with convincing arguments about seafood being unhealthy, I'd try that. Of course you should tie it in to the big picture, but if you get people thinking about their own personal well being, they might care more or whatever. I guess another tactic is tying local issues into it. People tend to also care about their local environment or economy specifically.

    For example, you know how they say "you are what you eat"? Shellfish and crustaceans pretty much eat fish turds and garbage. Sometimes people will stop eating something if they realize for the first time how darn well gross it is.

  3. #3
    Thanks for responding, Xuchilpaba! I actually have used much of those arguments, including making lists of reasons why seafood is no good to eat, not just for the environment, but for your health. I hate hate hate how some still consider seafood a health food when if anything it's the ultimate junk food, as at least a Big Mac isn't gonna give you mercury poisoning. Darn you, fish oil/omega 3 health craze! I've wanted to take a picture of me with a plastic bag in my mouth to show that eating seafood for all intents and purposes means you're eating plastic. Basically if you wouldn't eat a deep-friend plastic bag dipped in butter and garlic, you shouldn't eat seafood either. The biggest two obstacles it seems for people having trouble seeing my point is 1) many people love the taste of seafood too much to give it up or even seriously reduce their consumption of it. The types of seafood that I am most vocal about people considering eliminating from their diet for environmental and animal rights reasons, shrimp, tuna, and lobster, are also among the most popular. Seafood seems to have a really unique taste and texture that can be hard to find alternatives to, a la Morningstar "chicken" nuggets or Boca burgers.
    2) Many many still buy into the omega-3/fish oil craze and believe that taking say flaxseed oil supplements isn't an adequate replacement for the nutrients they're convinced they can only get from fish and fish oil. Sigh...even several of my own friends and family members buy into this, and even worse, many doctors and nutritionists do, so it's like my word against that of a medical professional. One reason why I'd like to lose at least a few pounds is I know nobody isn't gonna take my health advice seriously if I'm at all overweight or otherwise not healthy-looking.
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  4. #4
    Member Xuchilpaba's Avatar
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    Bahaha, yeah, you probably guessed I strictly do not eat seafood either. And I can't understand how people think it tastes good. I don't know why but I literally can't stomach it. Hilariously I love Japanese food though, so I have to find places that have lots of alternative sushi like tofu, asparagus, or egg, etc. But aside from plain not liking the taste of it, I don't want to support the seafood industry anyway. Imagining what the future oceans may be like judging on present issues is just terrifying.
    Last edited by Xuchilpaba; 08-11-2012 at 09:07 PM.

  5. #5
    I'm impressed! Must be hard, considering NS is a region where fishing is a big part of the economy. Do you have any ideas as to how such regions can become less depended on it?
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  6. #6
    I find I have a tendency to become pushy on the individual level. Whenever someone says they eat seafood or take fish oil for their health, I just have to inform them that are alternatives, but that doesn't always go over well. The thing is, I'm not a doctor so it's hard for people to take my advice seriously. *shrugs*
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  7. #7
    Speaking on a personal level, it's one thing to be informed there are alternatives. It's another to be informed over and over, told one is looked upon as a murderer, eating fetuses, etc. There's a fine line between spreading the word and becoming overbearing, I couldn't tell you where it is and I know many activists have the same problem with crossing the line every now and then because they feel so strongly on the subject.

    You may feel you need to keep making your point or that people aren't taking your advice seriously when people on the other side of the argument don't change their views. Some of us have taken your advice seriously, considered it, and made our own choice.

    I choose to not to boycott seafood. That's my choice. You may look down on it, that's fine. But I find it difficult to stomach when the discussion is nearly constantly being brought up and then gets tense because there are people on both sides of the argument.

    Please, if you bring up the subject, be prepared to accept that there are some people that will never be converted to your way of thinking. Realize that this is not for lack of discussion on the subject, not because of some fault with you or the way you're saying things, or anything like that. It is simply their own choice.

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  8. #8
    @Thalassa, thank you for taking the time to respond, and for your honesty. You're right that there *IS* an EXTREMELY fine line there and it's pretty much part of being an activist that some feel you cross that line and become self-righteous and overbearing. I honestly *try* not to look down on people for their own choices, but we both know how hard that is for me. When someone has a very strong stance on something like I do and wish to promote that stance it can be very difficult to take "no" for an answer and respect the other persons' beliefs. I think what's a real issue is that for me not eating seafood is the center of my mermaiding lifestyle, and as such it's very difficult for me *NOT* to talk about it. Does that make any sense? A lot of other mers are strictly involved for recreational purposes, where for me I have this philosophy as to befriending sea creatures instead of harming them. I have little if anything to contribute to discussions about monofins, breath holds, and other swimming-related convos, you know that, so I feel my activism sometimes is all I have. Other mer is unique, and for many others this is just a fun hobby, nothing deep or philosophical or political about it, where for me I use a mermaid as a symbol for both my asexuality and my stance on protecting the ocean.
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  9. #9
    Oh, believe me, I know! It's the same for me when I discuss religion or some religious beliefs. I feel so STRONGLY about something, and it just makes so much SENSE to me that I feel if those I was talking to really understood what I was saying, if I just kept talking and said things a little more clearly, they couldn't help but change their way of thinking. I know that this would be good for them, that it would improve their lives and the lives of others...and so I have trouble accepting when they refuse. It's especially hard for me because my opinions are not popular and I see posts essentially condemning my way of life or thinking on a regular basis. It's hard for a mer like me not to get defensive.

    I agree it's a hard situation. I think the best we can do is all try to be respectful here, to not try to force our opinions on others and defuse the situation when things become to tense by either walking away or changing the subject.

    I wish there were a mer-catch phrase to use in chat or something when one party feels the discussion is crossing the line... Like, if someone were to say "The water is BLUE, I tell you!" then those involved could realize they've been talking about this for a while or it's time to change the subject (because let's be honest, those involved in the conversation are often so emotional they don't realize they're making others uncomfortable).

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  10. #10
    *Hugs Thalassa* SOOOOOOOOOO glad that I'm not alone in feeling this way!!!

    I myself have wondered if there should be some sort of policy in place to prevent these heavy debates in the chatbox, I've even wondered today if I(or anyone else, for that matter) has trouble restraining themselves from calmly and respectfully discussing their beliefs, MAYBE there should be a sort of rule in place that ethical and political discussions are not to happen in the chatbox. I realize that I have made others uncomfortable and caused a tense atmosphere sometimes, and restraining myself is so challenging that I guess if it was against the rules to discuss and debate such things it would help me because I would have no choice but to not bring it up if I didn't wanna get banned.
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  11. #11
    Member Xuchilpaba's Avatar
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    Only thing that was hard was getting my family members used to not choosing boring old seafood places all the time when they want to go out to eat with me, lol. I find it extremely easy to simply "not eat seafood", lol. I have wrestled with the question of, what would the fishers do, if not fish? Only answer I came up with is some how offer them jobs to not catch fish for consumption, but use their boats and facilities to aid in conservation, clean up and research. If all those fisher people were assisting in research efforts rather than simply rounding up and slaughtering sea life, we'd probably know a lot more about the ocean and its inhabitants, maybe even find some weird sea slug that cures cancer, discover real mermaids, find the remains of UFOs on the sea floor, that kind of thing. I guess the problem with that is, I don't know where the funds would come from, since people can't really tangibly consume the repair or maintenance of the ecosystem in the same way they consume seafood. And boy do people love to consume.

  12. #12
    I like to eat fish but i do feel really bad for the fishies anyway i rarely eat fish though...

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Artisankatie's Avatar
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    Oh! Kae-Leah! I just realised something and thought I should tell you

    I was thinking, have you contacted any conservation societies? They might ask you to be a mascot for them - we got lucky with the ACF seeing us in a magazine (but truth be told we were in the magazine because of friends of friends!), but I think you should make yourself known to people if you haven't already! They might not have anything immediate for you, but they'll certainly know you exist if they then have some kind of campaign or something

    And another thing - except for the media stuff we did where they wanted the mermaids in the water, 100% of our actual work type stuff was dry!

  14. #14
    What about fresh water fish and mussels, etc?
    H.P. Lovecraft “You fool, Warren is DEAD!”

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