Time to Read: 8 minutes
Are you considering taking on the vegan life? Do you want to know more about it?
There are many different types of vegan life and a million reasons why anyone would want to take on a plant-based diet. One of those reasons is environmentalism.
Whether you want to choose a vegan life because you care deeply for animal welfare, love vegan food, or you want to improve your mind and body, you may also be saving the planet as well.
But how does veganism positively affect the whole planet? We put together a useful guide to understanding how veganism affects the planet.
Are you ready for some serious education? Check out this guide on how the vegan life could save the world!
What Exactly Is Veganism?
Veganism is a type of diet that is entirely plant-based. In the vegan life, vegans do not consume any animal products, including:
- Milk and milk products like cheese
- Honey (this is up for debate in the vegan world)
There are also many different types of vegans, or intentions behind going vegan. They include:
This type of vegan chooses veganism because they love animals and the environment.
Typically, this type of vegan chooses veganism after viewing some seriously convincing media about how terribly animals in the factory farm industry are treated, and/or media the covers how disastrous the meat industry is on the environment.
An ethical vegan may choose to avoid products that were tested on animals and will refrain from supporting entertainment industries, such as circuses and zoos, that exploit animals as well.
A plant-based vegan may sound a little redundant. However, someone can follow a plant-based diet without being necessarily vegan.
These vegans may have started out on a plant-based diet and became vegan through it. Plant-based vegans are vegans who focus on their body and mind’s health and avoid animal products for the purpose of becoming healthy.
Plant-based vegans focus on ingredients in their food that are direct from nature and good for health.
Raw vegans are fairly simple to define. They are vegans who do not eat animal products and do not cook their food over 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
These vegans believe that raw foods provide immense health benefits, including better digestion, extra protein, weight loss, and improved health.
How The Vegan Life Saves The World
Now that we understand different types of vegans, let’s get into how veganism can positive effect the environment.
The Drastic Reduction of Global Warming Emissions
When we think of global warming and its causes, we often think of things like cars, airplanes, and other modern things that deplete our delicate ozone layer.
However, one the biggest culprit behind climate change is one few people know about– the meat industry.
The use of fossil fuels for both energy and animal agriculture are the two biggest destructive elements that contribute to global warming, with a close third being deforestation.
The breakdown goes a little like this:
- 60% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by burning fossil fuel energy
- 19% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture
- 18% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation
- ~3% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by fringe causes like waste production
These percentages tend to fluctuate year to year, but animal agriculture is still close to the top.
So how does animal agriculture actually cause global warming?
A major way animal agriculture contributes to global warming is through the livestock’s need for food. Deforestation goes pretty hand-in-hand with the animal agriculture industry.
With such a high volume of livestock being raised for consumption, those animal need to be feed in order to grow. Deforestation is caused by the animal agriculture industry’s need for pasture to grow crops to feed livestock.
Animal agriculture outside of deforestation also creates a significant contribution to global warming and greenhouse gasses.
Cattle produce a significant amount of methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is significantly (about twenty times) more powerful than carbon dioxide.
The livestock section of animal agriculture is the culprit behind approximately 37% of methane emissions instigated by human beings. They also contribute to about 65% of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions from the manure livestock produce.
The animal agriculture industry obviously does not just include cattle. However, beef is the biggest problem within the animal agriculture industry.
Producing cattle for beef takes a lot of resources, including:
- Cargo trucks for transporting cattle
Producing beef takes about twenty-eight times more land, six times more fertilizer, and eleven times more water than any other type of meat production in the animal agriculture industry. That’s very significant.
Swapping out vegetables for beef could significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from the meat industry. Things like broccoli and potatoes produce around five times fewer emissions than their mass equivalent in poultry and pork.
Understanding why is simple– instead of causing greenhouse gas emissions from both food production for animals and the methane they produce, we are simply just producing the vegetation for our own consumption.
So, the vegan life could exponentially improve the earth and help in the fight against global warming.
Ending World Hunger
Like we mentioned above, there is a ton of plant-based food going into feeding livestock for the meat industry.
The number of human beings around the world that are suffering from hunger is disturbing– approximately 925 million.
Most of these numbers come from poor and/or underdeveloped countries in Asia and Africa, though hunger is present in just about every civilization around the world, including the United States. That number also outweighs the combined population of the EU, the US, and Canada.
Almost 870 million people out of that 925 million are suffering from malnutrition. And every year, starvation kills over 2.5 million children.
So how can veganism help end this horrifying reality? There’s more than enough food on our planet to feed every human being alive already.
If we reduce or eliminate the production of animal products like meat and dairy, then the food we produce from farming could significantly increase the amount of food produced.
Think of it this way. Say it takes an acre of plants to feed one cow that would be used for beef.
If you pile the meat produced by that cow in front of you, then made a pile of the plants grown in order to feed that cow, you would notice a startling difference in amount.
Not only would it be gentler on the environment to grow that food for our consumption rather than one cow’s consumption, but that just make a ton of additional food that could be used to feed starving people.
Just about every necessary nutrient we need can be found in plants, with the exception of vitamin D and B12. That’s because things like minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes are in our soil.
Animals being raised for consumption significantly degrade top soil. The United States itself has lost almost a third of its topsoil because of animal agriculture.
Going vegan and specifically opting for GMO-free and organic produce helps keep our bodies, as well as the soil, rich in nutrients.
Over 70% of our planet’s water (specifically fresh water) is used for agriculture. However, it takes almost two hundred times more water to create a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of vegetables.
It has also been proved that livestock industries contribute to the most water pollution as well.
Water is becoming a commodity. Opting for plants over animals in a vegan diet can significantly reduce water use and water pollution.
Cleaning Up Our Air
Have you ever driven past a factory farm? Even if you haven’t, you could probably smell one that’s close.
That manure smell, as stated before, is the harmful methane and nitrous oxide that destroys our planet’s delicate ozone layer and contributes to global warming.
Not only will a vegan-centric planet see improved symptoms of global warming, but it will smell a whole lot better.
Another aspect of veganism and vegetarianism that people seem to forget, however, is the transportation of vegetation.
By opting to buy local in-season vegetables for food, you’re also contributing to an improve airspace. Fewer planes, trucks, and trains will transport your off-season food to you.
Thus, smog and air pollution will be reduced ever further. Image a clear sky in a vegan society! Absolutely beautiful.
What does the vegan life saving you money have to do with saving the planet? Consider the fact that not only can veganism put more money in your pocket, but it does not directly go to the monetary support of factory farms.
In early 2016, Oxford University researchers found that in a perfect world where everyone is vegan, over $700 billion could be saved on health care. Meat-related carbon footprints could also be reduced by nearly 70%.
Health and climate change could be reduced drastically and a lot of money could be saved if the whole world went vegan, and it is a beautiful thing to think about.
Go Vegan With Pride!
Did our guide to how vegan life effects the planets help you make a choice about your diet?
We’d love to hear what you think about vegan life and climate change in the comments below!