Veganism is often unfairly dismissed as a dietary fad of the rich and the famous. After all, say “veganism” and the images that come to mind for most people are of meat-free meals, kale smoothies and Instagram-friendly salads.
But veganism is about so much more than just what you eat. It is about what you choose to consume, how you choose to consume it and the impact it has on the environment. From skincare products to cleaning products, from makeup to clothes — there is a vegan option for nearly everything. Veganism is, in short, a lifestyle. But what about the veganism and climate change?
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Veganism is a philosophy built on the promise of stopping the cruelty and exploitation of animals in all forms. A vegan diet, therefore, not only excludes meat but all animal-derived products, including eggs, gelatin, dairy and honey. Vegans also reject products that were created using animal-testing, or those that are made of wool, leather, silk, fur and suede. The vegan way of life is considered an ethical, compassionate and responsible choice that is good for people, animals, and the environment.
It’s ime to tell more about climate change and veganism. Veganism is believed to cut an individual’s carbon footprint by up to 50%, given that a plant-based diet places less stress on the earth’s fast-depleting resources than an animal-based one. After all, it takes nearly 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef but only 25 gallons to produce 1 pound of wheat.
Nearly 50% of all the water used in the United States goes towards raising animals for food. The livestock industry is believed to be responsible for 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of total deforestation. 61% of the world’s fish stocks are fully fished, while 29% are overfished. It takes 1.5 acres of land to produce 375 pounds of meat. The same land can also produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
A vegan lifestyle reduces deforestation and carbon dioxide levels, discourages the overuse of water in the production of food, encourages the saving of rainforests and countless species, and is, in fact, one of the best ways to fight climate change.
Is veganism good for the climate? Given the overwhelmingly positive impact of adopting veganism, it is no wonder that everyone from major corporations like Facebook to Hollywood A-listers and even movies (like “What the Health!” and “Fork over Knives”) are promoting and supporting the lifestyle.
In fact, Google Trends indicate a global increase in veganism, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Israel, Ireland, Austria, and Germany. In 2016, the UK witnessed a 350% increase in the number of individuals who had turned to veganism. In the US, this number was an astounding 600%. Australia has become the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world, and has witnessed a 92% increase in vegan food products from 2014 to 2016.
In China, the vegan population exceeded 50 million people in 2014, and is set to rise by more than 17% by 2020. 22% of the Hong Kong population is believed to be on a plant-based diet.
Adopting veganism is, by no means, easy. Few are able to change their lifestyle overnight. For many, it is a change that takes months, or even years to implement.
Does going vegan help climate change? The process has certainly been made smoother over the last couple of years, as businesses respond to growing customer demands to provide vegan alternatives. However, these are not always readily available or even affordable. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the positive social and economic impacts of veganism more than make up for it. As we tetter on the edge of earth’s sixth mass extinction, we cannot afford to overlook any and every step that helps fight climate change and is good for the environment. Veganism is one of these changes.
If you are thinking of going vegan, you should try connecting with vegan groups which can provide you with information, recommendations, and support. Because it is past time we switch to a lifestyle that is good for us, good for the animals, good for other people and undeniably good for the environment. The earth deserves it.
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