Action: An Opinion Piece by Kate Edwards

Please welcome Vegan Tasmania’s newest volunteer writer!

Governments break promises, it’s an undeniable fact. A fact made even the more hard to accept when it means the continual suffering of thousands.

Let me rewind. For a long time, I‘ve been thinking on the weight we put on government action, on the way we can see them as the only source of change. Make no mistake, I believe that change in policy can have the most monumental effects on our society, and that government has a role in representing us in what we believe is right. But how then, am I to save myself from misery when I hear, for example, that state government is backing down on the banning of sow stalls? Should we all continue to fight for this on a policy level? Of course, most definitely, we must. However one thing I have long admired is those individuals or groups which take their own action, those who refuse to believe that policy change is the only mechanism for change.

Recently I witnessed this in The Climate Council. Now whatever you think of climate change is beside the point, I’m not trying to force any opinion here. What I am trying to demonstrate here is an example of a group of people who found a need for action so great that they refused to stop. Granted they are likely to have a substantial amount of funding and support directed at them. However that isn’t the point. The point is, when stood down by government, they didn’t do the one thing which I see defeat so many movements, causes, and individuals. They didn’t solely play the blame game. Because in the end, what they wanted, what they saw as so incredibly critical was their action. They took a responsibility upon themselves. In short, they put what they believed must happen into deeds, not just words.

I see so many examples of this in Tasmania. People who push beyond the constant let downs and frustrations caused by policies and people who just do not represent them. A great example of this is Emma Haswell, founder of Brightside Farm Sanctuary. I have long been in awe of this extraordinary person. Dedicating her time, and indeed her life, to rescuing what must be one of the most forgotten and ill treated groups in our society – farm animals. I am not saying that we shouldn’t fight for change in policy to make the lives of these animals better. That is fundamental. However I’m so admiring of someone like Emma who, while fighting and looking ahead, is helping those in need here and now. She is refusing to be a reflection of an uncaring government. She is using her abilities to make a difference, just as the scientists forming The Climate Council are using theirs.

This theory also applies to us as consumers, workers, students, parents, children, and friends. We have so many chances everyday to put what we believe into action. I firmly believe that if enough of us lead lives we know to be right, society will change. I believe this because we are society. And if society changes, then how can a government, supposedly representative of us, ignore that?

Kate Edwards is a young writer in Tasmania who is about to return to university to pursue her Honours in Creative Writing. When Kate isn’t reading or writing, she is usually walking the dogs, cooking, or spending time with her wonderful partner, family and friends. Kate is writing for Vegan Tasmania because she is passionate about animal welfare and often gets grumpy about the lack of voice given to animals by the big cats in parliament.

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