November 1, 2018
Reduce your impact on the Earth by going Vegan
Written by Tiffany Plummer
So, you hear that your husband wants to go vegan. Your work mates are talking about how their plant-based diet has given them a whole new source of energy and confidence. You walk in to Marks and Spencer’s on your lunch break and you see everyone rushing to buy a green smoothie of their choice before they all run out. ‘Going Vegan’, has become one of the biggest fads of this coming year and not only has animal cruelty been a big part of it, but the positive effects of plant-based diets have also become a craze.
However, what about our environment? Are we missing this? Would going vegan really help our agricultural footprint.
According to a recent report building on the work of the Livestock, Environment and Development, it stated that 70% of the planets agricultural land is devoted to animal farming. (Steinfield, et al., 2006). As our global population continues to expand, the demand for livestock products, along with changing food preferences is increasingly damaging our environment without many of us in the world even being aware of this. Every day, poorly managed animal waste products from the meat industry are polluting our environment. Approximately, 1 – 2 acres of forests are cleared every second to produce meat.
Animal farming is said to be the biggest cause of global deforestation as more land is needed to feed a meat-eating population. In the UK alone, it has been reported that 85 per cent of land is associated with animal products, thus having a great impact on global deforestation, land degradation, climate change and pollution. Although many people have decided to go down the vegan route, many people in the world still eat meat, and a lot of it too!
New data has revealed that the number of fast food restaurants in England has increased by 4,000 since 2014. It is said that ‘global production of meat is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050’. With these shocking figures predicted, more of us need to be more concerned for what we are doing to the environment and avoid increasing the damage beyond its present level.
Do more of us need to consider switching to a vegan diet?
Decreasing the consumption of meat and dairy will not only keep our bodies in perfect shape, but it will also help our planet too as it will reduce the stress caused on our environment. A majority of our population feel that meat is the best source of protein – when in fact this may show a lack of understanding about the food we are putting in our bodies. Recent scientific analysis confirmed that meat and dairy only provide just 37% of protein, whilst using 83% of farmland and producing 60% of greenhouse gas emissions
Being a vegan has a great number of benefits, which are not only beneficial to the human body but the world we are living in. It has been stated that ‘a person who follows a vegan diet produces 50%less co2 and uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water and 1/18th land compared to a meat eater’. Just by reducing our level of meat intake, it can be one of the most effective ways of curbing our environmental impact on the planet.
So, the next time you have the option of having a plant-based meal instead of one that includes meat, just think…will I be helping my environment. When many of us hear the word ‘vegan’, we either think of being healthy or animal welfare; which is extremely important of course. However, it is time to put our environment at the forefront of those issues too. The important question is…. where do you see our planet in the next 10 years if we continue at the same level we are today?