Today, people around the planet are celebrating World Vegan Day. Why should you care you ask? There are many reasons we highlight below, but most importantly the day serves as a reminder that adopting a vegan lifestyle is good for the planet, the people and the animals. Whether you go vegan – or are considering doing so – for animal welfare reasons, environment or health (or all three), you can take solace in knowing that you are doing some good for yourself and the world.
Whether you go vegan – or are considering doing so – for animal welfare reasons, environment or health (or all three), you can take solace in knowing that you are doing some good for yourself and the world.
Here are some bits of motivation and reminders in light of World Vegan Day to remind you of why going veg matters.
- Animal agriculture is destroying the environment.There are many things that contribute to the degradation of the environment. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and dairy is the second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, generating over 14% of globally. (That means livestock accounts for more emission release than gases released from all transportation combined!) Livestock farming also uses 70% of agriculture land and is a leading cause of water pollution and deforestation. With the population growing at the rate it is, our planet can't sustain the same methods of food procurement and processing that were used in the first half of the 21st century. The bottom line is, if you are an environmentalist, you should be vegan.
- Shifting to a plant-based diet can actually reverse disease. There are countless stories of people suffering from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other ailments who get better only after switching to a plant-based diet. Big dairy and big ag is one of the most powerful lobbies in the U.S. They have a vested interest in making people believe that they are better off eating meat, dairy and other items. One only needs to look into the history of the ’Got Milk’ campaign as a prime example of how a powerful lobby can buy it’s way into making people believe they need a product.
- There are now more delicious food options than ever for plant-based eaters. It is now extremely easy to enjoy every type of food you desire, all animal free. This is thanks in part to food science companies that are using plant material to create burgers, cheese and other items. Companies like JUST Inc., and Impossible Foods are exploding. They have some of the top food scientist in the world contributing to a more sustainable food system. This is also in conjunction with restaurants helping to change the game for plant-based eaters. From offering dedicated "V" (the universal icon for ‘vegan’) items on standard menus, to the burgeoning veg restaurant scene. It is entirely possible to eat all the foods one might have grown up to love, minus the negative impacts.
- Animals are living, emotion-feeling creatures; let’s not terrorize them. Many people believe we will look back in 30 years and say 'can you believe what we used to do to animals?' Gone are the days of a bucolic scene of cows grazing on grassland, and chicken running free in a hen house; today's farming looks a lot different. We are to the point where we need government to intervene to pass measures to ensure animals have even the most basic rights, like simply having enough room in a cage to turn around. It is a lot easier to turn a blind eye and not acknowledge the reality of what that veal (baby atrophied cow) went through to come to being on your plate. Veganism is rooted in the belief that animals are not for our use and consumption in any way what so ever. We are a compassionate species and we must reflect that in our relationship with animals. There is no better way to do that than adopt and live by the vegan principles.
What was once known as a 'fringe movement' is on the fringes no more. Veganism has gone mainstream, with more and more people recognizing the benefits of living an animal-free lifestyle.
You might not be ready to commit to a completely ‘vegan’ lifestyle, and that's okay. What's important is that as a society we are making progress towards a more ethical and responsible food system and lifestyle and abandoning reliance on animal-derived products. As consumers we have the power to vote for what we want via a little something called purchasing power. Be it buying a faux ‘down feather’ jacket, dining at a vegan restaurant…or simply ordering the “V” item on the menu at a steakhouse, you are using your purchasing power to vote and signify that the world is ready for change. And that you are part of that change.
[dc]S[/dc]o let’s all take a moment to be a little more ‘vegan woke’; maybe World Vegan Day is the perfect time to start taking action.
Anna Keeve is a contributing author for a number of publications and the founder of experiential pop-up dining company,PlantBasedpopUp.