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On Children’s Books, Introverts & Films

First, Chris directed me to ePub Bud, which appears to be a timely and fantastic idea given my recent plea for more books for children about veganism. In addition, it looks like a great way to get your book into ePub form (and here's how to read it) no matter what age your audience is.

Next, a fellow introvert e-mailed me describing herself as extremely awkward socially as well as invisible and having social anxiety, and asking where/how she might be useful to the animal rights movement. Though I'm an introvert by nature, I am also someone who has no problem being confrontational (to a fault) in many cases and I will perform like an extrovert if I need to. So I wouldn't say we're similar in disposition.

What do you think? Letters to the editor, blogging/podcasting/vlogging all come to mind as they don't involve interaction with other people (that's the problem in this instance). If there's a local group that is in need of a skill that you have (grantwriting, newsletter writing, website development, photography), I'd imagine that's a possibility. Working or volunteering at an animal sanctuary or shelter or participating (or starting) a Trap-Neuter-Release effort, maybe?

My usual recommendation for general What do I do? questions is two-fold: What are you good at/like to do? and What does the market/world/animals need? Introvert or extrovert, the goal of time well spent is achieved by putting those two together.

Finally, two films. I wrote about "The End of the Line" over at Animal Rights & AntiOppression, so I won't rehash. I also saw "What's On Your Plate?" which is a documentary co-produced by two young girls from NYC, one of whom was raised as a vegetarian. It's a very kid-friendly film about produce and where it comes from, as well as what our schools are feeding kids. The girls come to some of the same conclusions/face the same obstacles that Jamie Oliver did in his quest to change the school lunch program in Huntington, WV. There are factual problems with this film, such as the mention that most of the corn grown in the US goes to hug fructose corn syrup and fuel, and there's no mention of all of the corn that is fed to animals whom we create and kill for food. Another bit of misinformation is that when you get diabetes it's forever.

There are appearances by Chef Bryant Terry and Anna Lappe and it's interesting that though the girls focus on produce, at the end of the film, as well as on the website, there is evidence that animal farms were visited as part of the project. It's clear that the intention was to avoid the really controversial material. Also, as Deb first told me when she directed me to Just Food, local isn't the solution to everything and it isn't necessarily better all of the time.

But as a primer for kids and their parents about where we get fruits and vegetables and why our school lunch program is the way it is, it's great. And it also must be said that the parents of the girls (and perhaps also their teachers, I don't know) are to be commended for supporting and nurturing them to become tweens who were able to co-produce a full-length documentary film. Though directed and produced by a grown-up, the film doesn't have the fingerprints of grown-ups all over it. The girls talk through why they did what they did and what they were thinking and the mere fact that they are able to think critically about food makes me hopeful.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. M #

    Thank you for responding to my questions. I've been researching opportunities in my area and am still trying to figure out my strengths and how to utilize them effectively. There is so much work to be done that I know I will discover my niche. The animals can't wait for me to get my crap together.

    April 27, 2010
  2. Nice post Mary! I really like the idea of publishing a book on line. Especially one geared to kids and encouraging the connection to Others.:)

    As far as activism is concerned I too consider myself an introvert. I'd just as soon avoid the confrontations of the "real world". But I do think that online advocacy could stand on its own merits as well. I think it's safe to say that most people made their discoveries through a website, blog, or other social media. For me, it's a matter of "dance with them that brung ya". And I hope I've made some positive contributions on line…

    But an amusing thing happened the other day when I handed someone a VO brochure… As I was pitching my message, she thumbed through the pages. Then when she saw the photo of the male chicks, she cried out, "OMG I saw this on the internet and couldn't believe it!" That scenario was so perfect! She had triple reinforcement of the truth. Her first online exposure, the printed information and then me to tie it all together. I think it goes to show that the multi-layers of advocacy all work to support each other… And that no matter what each of us is good at – Every bit helps the other.

    April 28, 2010
  3. Just a few ideas for how introverts can help the movement without straying too far from their comfort zones:
    – online activism: use StumbleUpon, Digg, and other tools to promote vegan and AR websites
    – support other activists by sending them thank-you notes, donating money, or just generally being supportive
    – donate vegan food to veg and AR events

    April 28, 2010

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