Turning the tap off while you brush your teeth, walking instead of driving and carrying reusable shopping bags to the supermarket all play a role in reducing your environmental impact - but there’s one eco-friendly lifestyle choice that doesn’t receive the attention it deserves: Veganism.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Veganism could save the world. While animal liberation is the driving force behind many people’s move to a plant-based diet, the environmental benefits of ditching meat, fish, eggs and dairy are just as easy to rally behind.
So, let’s look at some of the most compelling environmental reasons to be Vegan.
Going Vegan Reduces Deforestation and Global Land Usage
In 2019, it felt like the world stood still as fires ravaged the Amazon rainforest. And for many people, there was one question on their lips: why? Thousands of kilometres of the Earth’s lungs were up in flames and nobody seemed to have a reasonable explanation for it.
Yet, the destruction caused by the 2019 fires - many of which were caused illegally for agricultural expansion - is nothing new. The Amazon is constantly under threat of deforestation, with 80% of current rates caused by cattle ranching. As the global demand for beef and dairy increases, so do rates of deforestation.
Cattle ranching isn’t the only culprit here. Soybean production is another huge contributing factor to deforestation, particularly in Brazil and Argentina, with approximately 90% of the soya transported globally used to feed animals such as cows, pigs and chickens.
Following a Vegan lifestyle isn’t the only way to tackle deforestation, but changing what’s on your plate can make a huge impact. Cutting out meat, eggs and dairy in favour of a plant-based diet reduces your contribution to global land usage and means you no longer put money into the pockets of beef and dairy farmers.
Vegan Diets Use Less Water and Prevent Water Pollution
Vegans, we can also thank you for protecting and preserving the world’s most important resource: water.
There are many reasons why saying no to meat, fish, eggs and dairy is a positive step for our planet’s waterways, but we can categorise them into two main points. In comparison to omnivorous diets, Vegan diets:
● Conserve more water
● Contribute less to water pollution.
Let’s start with point one. How does a Vegan diet conserve water? Simply, by using less land. Arable farming requires significantly less space than livestock farming, making it a much more water-efficient solution to feeding the world. By going Vegan, you could save up to 219,000 gallons of water a year.
In addition to consuming billions of gallons of water every year, the meat industry is responsible for polluting lakes, rivers and oceans across the world with animal manure. Animal waste has to go somewhere, and whether accidentally or illegally, much of it leaks into waterways and causes water and soil contamination on an unimaginable scale.
The fishing industry certainly isn’t blameless, either. While plastic drinking straws have taken a lot of flack in recent years, it is abandoned fishing equipment, including nets and lines, which is one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the ocean.
Vegan Diets Fight Air Pollution and Climate Change
Another incredibly important reason to adopt a Vegan lifestyle is to unite in the fight against global warming and its side effects, known as climate change. The agricultural industry is responsible for worryingly high greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide emissions, that are released during the use of farming equipment and the transportation of farmed animals.
But, there are two greenhouse gases that are even more dangerous than carbon dioxide: methane and nitrous oxide. It’s no secret that cows emit high levels of methane, yet little attention is paid to the levels of nitrous oxide released by the handling of animal waste. The release of these gases, combined with the significant carbon footprint of deforestation, poses a huge threat to our planet.
There have been multiple attempts to tackle these issues, such as the recent development of a so-called anti-methane vaccine to change how cows digest food. Yet, this seems like a complex resolution to an entirely human-made problem.
The best solution? Going Vegan. The more people who adopt a Vegan diet, the fewer carbon, methane and nitrous oxide emissions released by the agricultural industry. Sure, cycling to work a couple of times a week might reduce your carbon footprint slightly, but the most effective change starts at breakfast.
If you’re already Vegan, great! You’re doing the right thing. If you’re still making the transition to a fully Vegan diet, please don’t hesitate to check out our range of Vegan blogs and recipes. We have all the inspiration you need to make the change for good.