Activist Profile: John Oberg
April 6, 2011
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Born and raised in Detroit, but moved to Phoenix in late 2009. That’s about the time I went vegan and became active in the movement.
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
I play a lot of soccer, watch a bit of hockey (go Wings!), and travel every chance I get.
Who has been / is a major influence in your life and why?
Jeff Boghosian has been a huge influence since day one of my activism. Jeff has answered every question I’ve ever had involving animal issues and his perspective is always enlightening. His dedication and knowledge is remarkable. If only every city was fortunate enough to have one of him.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
As a teenage punk rock kid, I was inspired by some organizations striving for animal liberation. I was pretty lazy though, and it wasn’t until I was 21 that I met a friend in Helsinki who said, “If you really want to help animals, you should stop eating them.” The seed was planted and shortly thereafter I went vegetarian and eventually vegan. I always wanted to get involved in the movement, so after some googling I stumbled across VO’s website and read some excellent essays by Matt Ball. The sheer massive scale of animal agriculture put me in a state of shock and I knew I had to do everything in my power to help end this suffering.
What made you decide to start leafleting? If you were nervous the first time, how did you get over it?
Shortly after going vegan I googled “Phoenix” and “animal rights” and the meetup.com site came up. I discovered Jeff’s group (meetup.com/veganarizona), came out for an event, and loved it. After more reading and actually seeing direct results, I came to the determination that this was the single best way to create social change. Societal attitude is really shifting and we’re constantly contributing to more and more social change; we just need to keep on getting the word out and letting the public know what’s going on behind closed doors. If they know, they will change…
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
After contributing just four hours at ASU (on a Friday) with VO all-stars Nikki Benoit and Jeff Boghosian, and then later putting on the monthly Phoenix First Friday Art Walk demonstration where we show Earthlings, I reached over 1,700 people.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
If you honestly want to help the greatest amount of animals with the smallest amount of effort, LEAFLET. In just 15–20 minutes you can do as much good as you would your entire life by just being vegan. It’s the exponential change a leafleter can create that is really incredible. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, just get out there and you’ll realize how easy it is. An hour here or there can save tens of thousands of animals.
What would you say to those who want to help but can’t get out and leaflet?
Donate! Everyone can help the cause in some way. If you have some sort of restriction preventing you from getting out leafleting, you can still help the cause greatly by donating. Your contribution will help save so many animals and reduce so much suffering.