Says me. Hi, I'm matt bear. Who cares? Probably not you. And that's OK. I understand. That's just the nature of who we are. We'll get into that another time.
For now, if you do care, or if you're just looking for reasons to not believe a thing I say, here's a little bit about the former meathead behind these words:
I grew up on my grandparents’ family farm in southern Minnesota. Later, during my teen years, after my mother remarried, I lived and worked on an intensive pig factory farm. I started down the vegan path in college when I heard the word "vegetarian" for the first time. Just hearing the word, I was suddenly struck by the idea that there was another way -- a compassionate way. I've been trying to do better ever since. Read more about how my life on the farm got me started on the vegan path.
Like most people open to the information, I learned that I could save thousands of lives (humans and non-human animals) over my lifetime simply by making vegan food choices. Then I realized that by helping more people onto the vegan path, I could save even more lives. And what if I helped those people help even more people?!! By being a vegan activist, and then by activating other vegan activists to do the same, I realized I could multiply the good I can do and the lives I can save.
So I started creating stuff I thought would help other activists in turn help more and more people onto the vegan path.
I created NonviolenceUnited.org, the popular VEGAN shirt from VeganShirt.com, a video called "A Life Connected: Vegan" explaining in a positive way how vegan choices can help build a better world. I've created NGOs, activist groups, websites, brochures, ads, workshops, seminars, and lots more.
Still I wanted to help even more. And I thought we could really advance the vegan movement if I could identify the mental "switch" that needs to be flipped in order for non-vegans to see the light, see the good they can do, and get on the vegan path. That switch flipped in me and in so many other good people -- I wondered what exactly allows some of us to turn on that light in our hearts and minds? So, off I went to grad school to study social psychology in search of the elusive compassion "switch."
Unfortunately, I didn't find the switch. Instead, I found hundreds of switches, buttons, knobs, and smokescreens that could be turned on or off at will or even unknowingly -- and in a mind numbing array of combinations (we'll get into that later). So, I skipped the rest of the PhD program, got out with my master’s degree in sociology... and quickly got back to work activating.
I'm privileged enough to have space in our home to allow dedicated activist spend the night or a few nights while doing outreach in our area. Fantastic people and fantastic conversations. Almost always, the conversation leads to an activist wondering what they could have said or done better to motivate a particular somebody onto the vegan path. What words, which brochure, what strategies, even which shirt to wear. Ah, the secret combination to the elusive "switch."
So this website/blog (Meathead) is a collection of some of the things I've learned over the years in my activism and studies, some insights I hope might be helpful, some exploration of all those buttons and switches that fortify the giant force field of "nope," and some other stuff that I think will have a better life outside my head.
Stay tuned. There's a lot to go over. But together we'll learn to work smarter, not harder.
Enjoy. And thank you for all you do to make the world a better, more compassionate place.
:) matt bear
What the hell?
This is an exploration of my experiences as a meathead turned vegan activist… and of my frustration of constantly hitting a big human wall of “nope.”