Point of veganism

Laura Lothrop


Why do people become vegan?

Being vegan may appear trendy in cities like Seattle, but the intention behind the lifestyle choice goes way beyond Instagram posts and actually offers real life solutions to animal cruelty and climate change.

In terms of specifically the vegan diet, as opposed to the clothing and hygienic forms of veganism, it is important to highlight the benefits and motivations behind veganism, especially in the benefits it brings to the environment.

Because of the positive effects that this lifestyle choice brings to the world around us, the option of going vegan even for a few days out of the week should be taken seriously by everyone. While this may seem like a radical position to some, it is worth considering the beneficial effects that even partial veganism can have on the world we all share.

Being vegan means eliminating all animal products from one’s diet, not just dairy or meat.

Many people choose the vegan lifestyle to combat animal cruelty and distance themselves from industries that kill animals in high numbers, often in the context of harsh or unethical practices for the purpose of quick production and sale. Others choose veganism because they believe that their body functions at its highest capability without animal products.

But for whatever reason people choose to be vegan, there is no denying the positive environmental benefits that veganism brings to the planet.

I am not going to suggest that everyone should become vegan permanently, as it is a personal choice based off of one’s individual needs and convictions. But it is worth considering that each individual can contribute to lessening the environmental burden that the meat and dairy industries impose.

Animal product industries require massive amounts of water to operate, due to operations such as growing food for animals, cleaning factory farms and other uses. According to PETA’s website, It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while producing one pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water. By going vegan, one person can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year.”

These kinds of statistics provide a clear demonstration as to the significance of the impact even one person can make on the environment if they choose to prioritize it.

The Guardian reported in an article that Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report on United Nations Environment Programme’s international panel of sustainable resource management, said, “Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.”

Another leader in the fight against climate change and promotion of veganism is the UN, who has urged individuals to decrease their consumption of animals products, according to the Guardian.

Carving out meals or days without animal products might sound like a lazy way to incorporate a vegan lifestyle, but it is still worth doing if it eliminates waste.

Everyone has a unique body type, set of allergies, and health restrictions, so it is unwise to expect everyone to go 100 percent plant based. But it is still possible to go an entire day without scrambled eggs, chicken, yogurt and roast beef.

It’s all about being creative and working hard to incorporate fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes as a replacement.

The media and academic worlds alike are constantly warning the public about the dire consequences that climate change and irresponsible management of natural resources will have on our planet if not properly addressed.

Going vegan, even partially, is a way in which individuals can respond and create an impact for change on these issues. We can do something to stop the waste that mass produced animals generate, the polluted water involved in “caring” for these animals, and the shipping rates of these products sends our planet over the edge in pollution.

While these industries should not be outright condemned, it is important to moderate their effects on our world. Reducing animal product consumption is a way in which individuals can contribute to the larger global issue of climate change, and it starts with simple decisions at the dinner table.