What are the benefits of being Vegan for the environment?
Veganism is a diet and lifestyle where a person does not consume or use animal products. For sustenance, they eat plant-based meals and avoid products that are either solely animal based or contain products derived from animals.
Veganism also applies to not using products that have been made using materials from animals, like leather, honey or silk powder. They also ensure that any products they do use are cruelty free and aren’t tested on animals.
1. Carbon Emissions
Following a vegan diet can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 73%. Studies have shown that not eating meat or dairy can be one of the biggest measures to reduce someonse impact on the world.
2. Deforestation and Forest Fires
Forests are set alight solely for the purpose of creating space for animals to graze on. 60% of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest is caused because animal agriculture needs more space to keep up with demand. Trees being felled contribute to greenhouse gas emissions but these trees are also needed for photosynthesis to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Without them, CO2 will continue to build whilst being removed at a much slower rate.
3. Animal Welfare
Wildlife has gone extinct due to the heavy commercial use of land. Toxic pesticides are used to grow food to feed the animals going into the human food chain. These pesticides leach into water systems and destroy wildlife. Animal cruelty is viciously high in food production. The risk of disease is increased in these environments because of the large volume of animals to space ratio and their undeveloped immunity. By reducing the demand of animal products, less animals would be bred for consumption and more space and funds could be used to give these animals better welfare.
4. Global Water Consumption
It takes 15,500 litres of water to produce 1kg beef compared to 250 litres for 1kg potatoes. Although very different food products, the amount of water needed to raise a cow for meat is considerably more than any vegetable, grain or plant food source. The current prediction is that if we do not change our habits, by 2030 there will only be 60% of the water we need in the world.
5. Reducing Food Waste
Nearly 30% of food in the US is thrown away. Whether meat, dairy or plant, the efforts in making the food, from planting or breeding all the way to making it to the shelf for purchasing, are wasted. Often this discarded food will end up in landfills and when decomposing will continue to cause carbon emissions. The more considerate we are about our food consumption, the more of the environment we can protect.
Plant-based diets create a more sustainable lifestyle. Less emissions are created, only one third of land is needed for food production and animals are unharmed. Accountability is becoming the biggest motivation for change. As more consumers consciously purchase in a way that reduces their carbon footprint, more companies have to change their standards and ethics to produce quality products, whilst not being detrimental to our environment.