It’s not unknown to us that our climate is changing. It’s not unknown that we are increasing the rate at which it is happening, so why are we doing so little to fix this? You may not believe it when I say it, but a simple solution would be to introduce a plant-based diet into your life and to become more conscious of our behaviors. I’m sure that it’s not a completely alien concept to any of you; today we see and hear about it everywhere on social media. The perfect back-drop photos of shapes cut out of fruit and placed in pretty ceramics, or posts titled with “101 ways to cook kale”, however, many of these accounts don’t show the truth behind veganism or the extraordinary impacts such a lifestyle can have.
Me fulfilling the Instagram stereotypes of a vegan.
Our earth has been around for billions of years, and therefore it is the oldest and wisest of us all which is the precise reason why we should listen to its cries of help. Yes, the earth is constantly changing naturally; from dinosaurs to ice, to today, however, the probability that humans are increasing the rate of this change is 95%. We are ruthless destroyers of beauty, ones that still can’t accept the blame.
Animal produce consumption plays a huge role in the emissions of greenhouse gases; the meat and dairy industry is responsible for 60% of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, this is simply absurd considering these products only provide the average citizen with 18% of their calories and 37% of protein. We are causing ocean acidity to increase and oxygen levels to fall, this has tremendous impacts on the biodiversity of species but also on the economic status of many nations. When will we stop you ask? But it only gets worse. Factory farming requires heaps of land and energy to run successfully, the more meat that’s consumed the higher the deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution, both of ground and water! The changes that we are causing with our thoughtless actions are permanent, we are all responsible for our planet as we are the ones on it – I don’t think a single person wants their grandchildren to ask them in the future what a fish was, or what the colour green looks like, but we are on a trajectory leading to extinction. If the Paris agreement is not kept and global temperatures rise over 2C, severe consequences will follow, such as increased flood risks, extreme heat, and poverty, exposing millions of people to these problems.
The impacts happening may seem major, but that doesn’t mean that minor changes in customs are insignificant. A half a degree difference could prevent coral reefs from dying which will preserve marine life and biodiversity, this will also mean that 50% fewer people will be exposed to water stress. At 2C insects will be twice as likely to lose their habitats, we can not allow this to happen as they are crucial for pollination and a significant part of how we retain produce. With global temperatures kept at a minimum, there will be fewer forest fires allowing people to stay in business and in safety causing fewer deaths from natural disasters, less economic costs for governments and allowing a feeling of security for millions.
What changes can we generate? The answer is simple and can be done in your daily lives. To maintain the global temperature increase at a minimum, the average person has to consume less animal produce; people need to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs. These numbers sound scary, but isn’t what we are causing by not doing this worse? The population has to triple the consumption of beans and pulses and quadruple the consumption of nuts and seeds, if we want even a mere chance at reducing global warming, this will be easier when fewer animals are killed, as currently 50% of our grains are used as feed. Of course, there are other lifestyle changes that can be made other than the change in diets: having less waste. The average citizen has to produce less, this can be accomplished through buying more package free products which will reduce the waste that ends in landfill sites. We can also take small steps such as skipping straws when in a cafe or having your own cups and produce bags that are plastic free, these effortless adjustments mean that less of the waste finds its way into our oceans, helping preserve marine life and purity.
Easy plastic-free swaps.
The perfect scenario would be to have a vegan diet, however, I am aware that this lifestyle doesn’t appeal to everyone, so minimizing meat consumption to once or twice a week and bringing in customs that produce less waste will be huge improvements to the way that people live currently. Each day a person who eats a vegan diet saves 350 liters of water, 20 kilograms of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 120 kilograms CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. Do those minor changes sound so small and trivial now?
A free animal is a happy animal.
Being vegan shouldn’t be a chore, it is a lifestyle that someone should choose because they want to give back to the world and feel vitalized themselves. It is not difficult and doesn’t have to be expensive, its also not restrictive in anyway; being in the age we are in now, there are so many vegan choices and alternatives out there that will guarantee you won’t miss meat (plus all the ‘accidentally vegan’ foods which are a treat!).
To wrap up, don’t cross off veganism until you have given it a shot because I can guarantee that after a couple of days you will be feeling full of energy, positive and nourished in a way that you’ve never felt before – and there will be a bonus feeling of fulfillment when you realise how much you are doing for the Earth, animals and human race.
If you enjoyed this post stay tuned for a follow up which will feature my tips, favourite products, places to eat, recipes and more!