Let’s start with that people today spend little time to zoom out and think about important things. We all can get caught up in the day to day life, running for something, somewhere, and don’t even question if what we’re doing is really the best thing we could be doing. The system has its flaws but we have the responsibility. I encourage you to take a step back, reflect and think about life, the world, the future. Doing so is powerful, can be life-changing and put you on the right track. In this article, we’ll bring up one of such important things.
I’m spending quite a lot of time thinking about the world, its problems and solutions. In this article, I’ll share my research, long hours and insights that you can consume much faster.
So, after a lot of thinking and research about world problems. I identified climate change as the biggest threat to humanity. Without a planet to live on nothing else can exist. It would be wise to have it among our highest priorities.
Then I looked into the causes. The following image has one of the possible spreads of causes of climate change. (2014):
While there’s a lot of focus on electricity, transportation and industry. Agriculture is one of the biggest causes. Not the one you think of right away. The big plus is that we all can affect the food sector more easily compared to the other heavy industries.
Within agriculture, it is the industrial animal agriculture that is causing the biggest harms to the environment and climate. It has a bigger effect than the global transportation sector and is only second to the energy sector.
It is even possible that it is on par and maybe even exceeds the energy sector. Here’s further research and analysis:
Animal agriculture accounted for 23% of GHG emissions in 2010 according to this study from two leading New Zealand climate change scientists (https://www.nzagrc.org.nz/news,listing,433,new-research-shows-significant-impact-from-livestock-on-actual%20-warming.html), which doesn’t count in indirect effects. There is even one study saying that livestock accounts for up to 50% of global GHG which is counting in everything (http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294 <|> https://awfw.org/wp-content/uploads/WWMLivestock-ClimateResponses-20101.pdf).
Demand for Animal Products - Population Growth and Global Animal Industries | Coursera
This course will explore the concepts driving current food production science (population growth, urbanization…
Methane emissions from cattle are 11% higher than estimated
Emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from livestock are larger than previously thought, posing an additional…
A more recent study suggests that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce the impact on the earth. Here’s the excerpt to save you time:
“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.“ Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems,” he said. “Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.” source —
Avoiding meat and dairy is 'single biggest way' to reduce your impact on Earth
Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according…
According to https://www.drawdown.org/ that made research on the100 best solutions for climate change, 8 of the top 20 solutions had to do with food, which is the biggest representation of one sector, which they present in this video:
UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet
Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change, UN…
Climate change scenarios are very alarming:
Some other solutions could include carbon capture technology and geoengineering. The carbon tax and incentives for greener developments are definitely one of the solutions. Even space exploration.
So the livestock industry is one of the biggest, but neglected causes of climate change and environmental destruction, which means an opportunity to do something about it.
As a side-note… many of the great people we know and admire were vegetarians or vegans. Great thinkers and philosophers of the past and many examples from more recent years:
Famous vegetarians |
A list of famous vegetarians from the world of politics, science, entertainment, sport and art. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 …
And even athletes that share their “Why” and busting the myths about the need for animal products for athleticism:
These 14 elite athletes are vegan - here's what made them switch their diet
November 1 is World Vegan Day. Improving everything from cholesterol and heart rate to concentration and a solid…
The environment and climate change were one of the reasons that got me into veganism. The other reason is human health where with a little bit of education and change, the plant-based diet can be the healthiest one. Real world proof exists with many healthy long-lived vegans and for ex. the blue zones where people live the longest and healthiest lives and where their diets are mostly plant-based:
The simplest and at the same time so powerful is to make people healthy in the first place. We often hear how meat and other animal products are bad for health. A better diet is one of the ways and will prevent large amounts of health complications. Imagine how much healthier we had been and how much it would mean in people’s lives, how much money would be saved when people are less ill, etc. Veganism can even reverse the progression of a disease which they talk (among other things in the playlist) about in the video below:
People get concerned about if they’ll get enough vitamins and nutrients on a vegan diet. The weird part is… no one is concerned about it when they are on an omnivore diet while it can be equally so that you don’t get enough vitamins or nutrients. The vitamin and nutrition levels are something that applies to all people no matter the diet. Go and do the test of your vitamin levels and see. If you need some extra then find foods and products that would supply that need. B12 is often talked about and that can, for example, be found in fortified products such as vegan “milk”. But it’s good to test yourself first. You might be just fine as is.
The inefficient way of feeding the planet that threatens food security for the world population
It is also the most ineffective way of feeding the planet that threatens food security. Which means large amounts of resources are used to produce very little value when it comes to food. The following video of a study showcasing inefficiencies and the waste of the world’s resources from livestock that contributes to an inability to feed the growing global population http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748–9326/8/3/034015
Animal welfare, ethics, morality
Then comes the animal welfare/ethics/morality questions. It may be hard to see this through a pretty package that you buy at the store, but an animal that is not that much different from a dog or a cat if you think about it… has been killed, suffered or abused. I guess that you would not be able to do any of that with an animal that is in front of you for no real need. Yet, billions of animals are suffering, being killed or exploited every year.
Those who have pets know a strong connection to their animals and would never want to see their animals go through all that which cows or other animals in the industry are going through. Of some historical reasons, some selected animals were chosen to be utilized for industry while others became our pets. But what’s the difference really? What is the difference between a dog and a pig? What is the difference between a cow and a horse? In some countries, you eat dogs and for them it is normal. In India, the cow is holy. What is normal then?
The point is that it’s only about the story we tell ourselves. If we can live without animal products and do so even healthier, combined with, that it causes so much environmental destruction and negatively contributes to climate change. Why are we then killing or abusing billions of animal for nothing (?)
Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine creatures smarter and stronger than you, they would see us as animals and would see you as food. Not because they need to, just because they want to. Would that be ok?
Here are videos presenting Philosophical reasoning:
Numbers and change
By my calculations, only around 7% of the world is eating vegan.
Estimates of the share of vegan diet followers worldwide in 2016, by region
Based on the above and the data of populations in each region as of 2016 from Google:
9% * Asia Pacific Population 2016 = 0.09 * (Asia population + Oceania population) = 0.09*(4436000000+40117432) = 402850568.88
6% * (Africa + Middle East population 2016) = 0.06*(1216000000+411000000) = 97620000
4% * Latin America population 2016 = 0.04*625000000 = 25000000
2% * North America population 2016 = 0.02*579000000 = 11580000
2% * Europe population 2016 = 0.02*741400000 = 14828000
Total estimated number of vegans globally = 402850568.88 + 97620000 + 25000000 + 11580000 + 14828000 = 551878568.88
Total estimated number of vegans globally / Global population 2016 = 551878568.88/7466964280 = 0.07390936238414683 ~ 0.07 ~ 7%
Just imagine what a big difference for the better that can happen if more people choose to say no to the meat, dairy and other animal agriculture industry. By standing up and saying no, you create change. A simple example. You are at a party/meeting with people in a restaurant. You go there saying you’re vegan. They fix something vegan and see that demand is there. People around start thinking about it. Some will learn more and do their research and potentially make the change accordingly. With that, the restaurant can later think more about vegan alternatives. They may even think. “If vegan food can be eaten by everyone, maybe we’ll only have vegan food and it will be a win-win for everyone.” The change begins with you. Just imagine how many such situations you will go through in your life and potentially make a change in the minds of others in this way.
People often dismiss plant-based and veganism and think it’s too radical and are not giving it proper thought. But given the above isn’t it the other way around…. that what we’re doing now is an extreme (?) I’m not telling this because I’m vegan. I became a vegan because I wanted, just like you, make a positive impact. Every change for the better was radical at the time, anti-slavery, anti-racism, same-sex marriage etc. It took a lot of people and their work to turn things around.
Imagine having a wonderful feeling of knowing that you have done something good. That the food you’ve bought and eaten contributes well to the world. Including climate change, better environment, sustainability, healthy eating habits for yourself, better management of the world’s resources and less animal suffering. Knowing all of this and taking part in “The Greater Good” makes you happy and fulfilled. It makes up for a more conscious life for you and the world… more well-being which is what we want to have more of for ourselves and the world. Veganism is about looking beyond ourselves. Thinking about how our choices affect others and choose to live as compassionately as we can.