How the Vegan Diet Can Change the World
Veganism has been becoming increasingly popular every year, and has reached new heights in 2019. There are many reasons as to why it has become so popular, especially its focus on improved health, decreased risk to the environment, and decreased harm to animals. This excerpt of an article on VeggieFest.com focuses on the environment and animal welfare.
For the environment
I have always been a “Go-Green” advocate, encouraging my family and others to recycle as much as possible and bringing reusable cups to coffee shops. However, I realized I was not helping our world as much as I could when I was consuming products from an industry that was most detrimental to the environment: the dairy industry.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, ocean dead zones, and species extinction. One third of the earth’s fresh water, 18% of total greenhouse gasses produced from human activities, and up to 137 plant, animal, and insect species are lost as a result of accommodating for commercial livestock.
Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gasses than all cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. A person who eats a vegan diet saves 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, and 1,100 gallons of water per day. On the contrary, it takes 660 gallons of water to produce one hamburger, 30 gallons to make one glass of milk, 50 gallons to make two slices of cheese, and 109 gallons to make one stick of butter.
Overall, new research has concluded that a vegan diet produces a 42-84 percent lower burden on the environment than the diet recommended by the U.S. government.
For the Animals
This is the primary reason I became vegan. Growing up, I was not educated about animal cruelty. I had always believed that people were vegan just to be healthier, and at the time, that was not enough of a reason for me to become one. After watching videos about how animals are treated in the meat and dairy industries, my heart broke and I decided to go vegan “cold turkey.”
In 2015, in the United States alone, a staggering number of animals were sacrificed to the meat and food industry. The statistics are shocking:
- 30,676,000 cows
- 512,000 calves
- 118,304,000 pigs
- 2,332,600 sheep
- 8,822,695,000 chickens
- 27,749,000 ducks
- 232,398,000 turkeys
Every year, over one trillion fish are killed for human and livestock consumption globally. More animals are killed every week than the amount of humans that have died in all wars and genocides combined in recorded history.
There are many reasons that veganism has become so popular over the past few years, and the number of people choosing this diet is continually rising. It’s the number one way to increase your health, help the planet, and save millions of animals from being slaughtered, so if you have not already, I urge you to “go vegan” and change the world!
–Aastha Saggar, MPH for the Veggie Fest Team; Adapted and excerpted with permission from VeggieFest.com. Click to see the full article here.