Major supermarket chains are rolling out one brand-new plant-based product after the other, high streets are lined with new vegan food options for you to try out, and plenty of news articles are discussing the meaning of veganism and the impact that the movement is having on global economy and society – yes, you guessed it: Veganuary is finally here!
During the month of January, people from all over the world are being asked to try reducing their intake of animal products or go fully vegan to experience the wonders of a cruelty-free lifestyle for the first time, and in 2021, the challenge has never been easier to tackle.
Many of us are taking up the challenge with plenty of enthusiasm and curiosity, but for those still on the fence, it may be hard to figure out why you should go vegan in the first place and what benefits the lifestyle can bring to your life and to the health of our planet. We have already discussed some of the biggest health benefits of going vegan, but we recognize that, for some, the environmental benefits of eating plant-based might be even more crucial in pledging to renounce animal products, whether it’s just for one month or for a lifetime.
So, what are the biggest environmental benefits of going vegan for the planet?
Veganism and climate change: a match made in heaven?
As the issue of climate change becomes more and more pressing with each passing year, organizations and individuals are looking for the most efficient ways of dealing with the problem, and from tighter recycling policies to refusing all single-use plastics, a lot has already been done to try reducing our carbon footprint.
Still, according to the United Nations, reducing our meat and animal products intake might be the most efficient way yet to slow down and even entirely stop the effects of climate change on our environment. Animal agriculture is in fact responsible for up to 58% of all food-related emissions, and by dramatically reducing demand for these products, we may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel before more damage is done.
So, without further ado, here are the biggest environmental benefits of going vegan or greatly reducing your animal products intake!
1. Going vegan saves water
The production of meat and dairy accounts for one quarter of all water use, worldwide. Generally, plant foods require much less water throughout any stage of their production compared to animal products, while 1kg of meat alone requires a whopping 5,000 to 20,000 litres of water to produce!
Just one person going vegan can save over 1,500,000 litres of water a year, and over 100,000 litres per month.
2. Going vegan conserves forest land
Raising animals for food, including the production of their feed, requires enormous amounts of land, much more than the land required to grow staple crops. Animal agriculture is the greatest driver of deforestation worldwide, and to make matters even worse, the production of animal products is responsible for 91% of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest – our planet’s lungs.
Going vegan for one year can save 3,340 square meters of forest land, while going vegan for just one month can save over 200 square meters of forest!
3. Going vegan protects biodiversity
Our oceans are in great danger: the total fish population in the sea has been cut in half compared to only 50 years ago, all thanks to overfishing.
Fewer fish in the sea is an issue that goes far beyond conservation alone: it also destroys the marine ecosystem by reducing biodiversity, affecting the natural balance that allows oceans to exist the way we’re used to. The same can be said for protecting the habitats of wild species, as increasingly more land is being converted for animal agriculture, destroying the carefully balanced habitats of countless species.
Going vegan is the best thing you can do to save the ocean and preserve native species worldwide.
4. Going vegan cuts greenhouse gas emissions
Animal agriculture is responsible for over 14% of all global emissions, which put into perspective, is greater than all transportation emissions. This number includes livestock emissions like methane and nitrous oxide, as well as emissions from production.
Greenhouse gasses have been recognized as the leading cause of climate change, so tackling animal agriculture is essential to curb the issue once and for all: adopting a vegan diet can cut agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in half, and if everyone in the world were to go vegan, emissions would be cut by a whopping 70%.
That would be enough to stop and reverse the most harmful effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and droughts!
5. Going vegan saves energy
Raising livestock requires enormous fossil-fuel consumption to sustain multiple activities, like the production of feed, the breeding, the production of antibiotics and fertilizers, the use of electricity and heat, and all other farm operating costs.
Plant products are much more energy-efficient, as it’s estimated that producing animal-based protein requires 8 times more fossil-fuel energy than creating plant-based protein, feeding way more people in the process.
Make this month count
If you’re still figuring out your resolutions for the New Year, going vegan is undoubtedly the most impactful choice you can make to save the planet.
We have countless of amazing vegan products to get you started on your journey, and you can visit the Veganuary website to take the vegan pledge and make the most out of this month – the Earth will thank you for it!