In 2018, the top trend in Twitter for Europe was “Veganism”, with 20 million tweets. Veganism is a strict vegetarian diet abstaining the use of animal products, such as dairy, eggs and honey – as well as avoiding animal-derived materials and products.
According to the International Vegetarian Union (IVU), the world’s vegetarian population is nearly at 180 million. The Economist, UK weekly magazine, also named 2019 the Year of the Vegans. The vegan age has arrived. There are about 1 to 1.5 million of vegetarians in Korea (Korea Vegetarian Association). That is ten times higher than ten years ago. Veganism is on the rise, an old culture in the new society.
A heavy burden on the environment- livestock or automobiles?
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”
– Paul McCartney, singer-songwriter and bassist for the Beatles.
Vegetarians have largely fought for animal rights, environmental issues and wellness. Cruelty in slaughterhouses is one of the reasons that has called for animal right activists. Avoiding animal products is one of the most efficient ways you can fight against animal cruelty and animal exploitation.
Nevertheless, the mass population’s demand for meat and dairy has risen, resulting to intensive factory farming — the practice of housing vast numbers of animals to harvest them in the most resourceful ways. The major controversy is keeping the production costs low. In a livestock, the cages provided to chickens are less than one sheet of A4 size paper each, while pigs are squeezed in minimum space for movement. The most crucial problem is that consumption of meat and dairy products continues to increase worldwide.
Livestock production has increased massively, a possible reason for global warming, overreaching automobiles. 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock farming. Whereas, 13% are generated by vehicles and other transportation industries. There are 20 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep, and 1 billion pigs. Why is meat and dairy so bad for the environment? From crops and water to feed the animals, to transporting them is a significant contributor to deforestation. Around 33 million square acres are used to grow cash crops for animal feed and livestock. It is about the size of the African continent. It is cheaper to set fire to a forest than to cut trees and send them out of the forest.
How your diet could change the world? Well, Vegan and plant-based diets use less resources.
“The interesting thing is, while we die of disease of affluence from eating all these fatty meats, our poor brethren in the developing world die of diseases of poverty, because the land is not used now to grow food grain for their families.” – Beyond Beef by Jeremy Rifkin.
The right diet for you
Like any other lifestyle change, going vegan takes time to get used to, and determine what will work best for you. It is a journey with numerous approaches you can take. Making small changes to your everyday meal is one of the easiest ways. You could try changing one product at a time by swapping cow’s milk for almond milk or butter for coconut oil. Make sure you don’t miss out on essential nutrients. There’s a plant-based alternative for almost every type of food. There are levels of vegetarianism.
Remember that vegan is a learning curve. It takes both courage and curiosity. Veganism has been around since 1944, yet it is still a relatively new concept to many people. Established in London, the founding is celebrated each year on the 1st of November. You are not alone, visit the Vegan Society, where the website is full of information and resources.
If we are able to avoid future global food scarcity, we must find sustainable ways of utilizing our natural resources. Together, let’s #Save the Planet.