I’m not an activist at the moment, although it’s been on my mind lately.
The main thing holding me back is not knowing what actually works.
The Cube of Truth is very popular, is done worldwide, and it’s simple to participate in, so it’s the first place that I (and maybe you) started looking at.
Personally, I don’t think I would have stopped at a cube before I went vegan, so it makes me question how effective it would be.
I’ve never heard straight answers about how well it works, although that’s partly because it’s hard to quantify the results.
However, I’ve looked around for a few hours and compiled the clearest pros and cons of the Cube of Truth so that we can get an idea of its effectiveness.
How Do We Define Effective?
Before we look at results, take a minute and consider what sort of results would you need to see to want to participate in a cube.
It’s rare to get someone going from 0 (omnivore) to 100 (vegan) in one conversation. It usually takes multiple touch-points to move someone along that path, which you likely experienced yourself.
So even if you’re not converting vegans on the spot, that doesn’t mean your activism isn’t effective.
A method of activism can also be effective even if it doesn’t reach all types of people. A Cube of Truth is going to be most effective at drawing in certain types of people who are open to talking about diet.
Videos on YouTube clearly show that certain types of people are willing to take the time to watch the videos and have a conversation.
With the Cube of Truth, you can potentially have 2 ways to be effective in my eyes:
- Getting people to start thinking about the lives of the animals they eat
- Giving that last little push to people considering going vegan by clearing up any doubts and worries.
What Are The Typical Results of a Cube of Truth?
Anonymous for the Voiceless, the brand/charity that runs Cubes of Truth around the world do get activists to record some basic data about effectiveness.
In the past they’ve stated that at one point after 4000 demonstrations, 215,000 bystanders were convinced to take veganism seriously.
It’s a big vague (taking it seriously), but I think it’s fair to consider those successes, based on what we talked about above regarding effectiveness.
In terms of results from specific events, I found a few posts on Reddit that said:
- A cube of 4 people had 9 very positive engagements
- A cube of 124 people (the largest cube so far) reported 550 positive engagements
It will depend on how many people are in your cube, and how long you’re out there, but AV’s ~54 successes per demonstrations seems reasonable.
From what I’ve seen, most cubes are about 3 hours long, so that’s about 18 positive conversations per hour, which seems fairly effective.
On top of these results, I came across a few other posts that were interesting. People were affected by the cubes without even interacting with them:
Before I changed, I walked past a cube of truth twice in different locations. I think it’s effective in that both times it made me think about where my food came from although it wasn’t the tipping point that changed me it still made me think about it which is important. I didn’t actually stay and watch though but I got the gist.
It didn’t work on me straight away but after a few months of doing my own research after seeing one in my city, I’ve now made the switch from vegetarian to vegan
Based on that, cubes may be even more effective.
Alternatives to the Cube of Truth
You’ll have to decide if those results are good enough for you to get out there.
The biggest appeal to me is how simple it is, you don’t even need to talk to anyone if you’re not comfortable with it. So even as a starting point, it could be useful for you to get comfortable with activism.
Additionally, it’s a great way to meet other vegans and make new friends.
But there are a few other things to consider.
First, VA has been criticised for their lack of transparency. It’s not clear where donations and profit made from selling clothing goes. It doesn’t go to individual chapters, so I suppose it goes to salaries for full-time employees?
Second, you might just think the masks are dumb, or don’t want to wear black. There’s not a lot of room for creativity within a Cube of Truth, so perhaps you’d rather do your own thing.
The Cube/screens are just a way of drawing people in. I’ve read about activists offering a vegan cupcake in exchange of a discussion, and reporting that it works as good or even better.
You’d have to do this alone, but don’t be afraid to get creative and take a different approach to reach a different audience.
And perhaps this type of activism isn’t ultimately the best use of your time.
While researching this topic, I came across an excellent video of alternatives to the Cube of Truth:
He has quite a few ideas that you may feel more comfortable with. I’ve never done activism before, so these were all new to me.
If you have any other ideas for activism, or would like to share your experience with a Cube of Truth, I’d love to hear about it in a comment below.