Today is World Vegan Day, a day where vegans around the world celebrate and champion their lifestyle. By now, most people probably now what veganism means and that it is in general, a very positive thing. But did you know that cutting out animal products is an easy, yet very effective, way you can act on climate change?
In case you don’t know what vegan means, here’s a short definition we put into one sentence: Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals (Cooper, 2018).
Veganism has seen a great rise in 2019, with more replacement foods being available in supermarkets, brands becoming cruelty-free or restaurants serving alternatives to meat. The main reason most people go vegan is to avoid animal suffering but there is also a connection between veganism and the environment. But where is the relation? We’re so glad you asked. In this blog post we’re going to tell you about the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, easy ways for you to reduce your animal product consumption and, of course, the best holiday destinations for vegans and vegetarians – because bookdifferent.com is about sustainable tourism after all.
Animal agriculture and the environment
In 2013, a Time article highlighted that “there may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock” (Walsh, 2013). That is because today there is such a huge demand for animal products which can only be met through large, commercial farms. In the past 50 years, milk production doubled, meat production tripled and egg production quadrupled. In most cases, this means tropical rainforest destruction for grazing land, such as the Amazon Rainforest (Ghahari & McAdam, 2018).
However, there are many more negative impacts of animal agriculture such as the release of greenhouse gas emissions, the need of vast amounts of fresh water and the exploitation of fish at unsustainable levels, leaving our oceans in a critical state. In 2006, Steinfield et al. “calculated contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and determined the animal agricultural sector surpassed those of the transportation sector, with “18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions coming from the animal agricultural sector”.” (Ghahari & McAdam, 2018).
How do I get started?
By no means are we encouraging cutting out all animal products over night. That is unsustainable and, in most cases, never works. We suggest starting by cutting out meat once a day or week and replacing it with your favorite vegetable or even some mock meat (there are countless alternatives available – just check your local supermarket). You can also start by doing “Meatless Mondays”, which is when you cut out meat one day a week, as the name says. Click here to visit their website for free resources, promos and countless recipes. We promise, replacing meat a few times a week or month is easier than it seems. Especially with so many delicious recipes available online! We have put together a list of our favorites:
How can I stay vegan on my holiday?
Luckily, veganism is spreading fast and most restaurants now offer some sort of vegan or vegetarian dish. You can also use the app Happy Cow to find vegan/ vegetarian restaurants wherever you are.
Or you can choose a holiday destination that is just very suitable for the lifestyle in general. A while back, we wrote a blog post about “The 3 best countries when you’re vegetarian” which included Sri Lanka, The Seychelles, and Ethiopia. Read the full post here.
There are so many resources about vegan holiday destinations online, just type “best holiday destinations for vegans” into Google and hundreds of results will pop up. But of course we wanted to make it as easy as possible for you, so here’s a list of some blog posts we found:
We hope you enjoyed today’s blog post, it was a little different than what we usually talk about. But we felt like it was important to highlight the connection between animal agriculture and the environment and introduce to you a relatively easy way how you can help combat climate change. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let us know how you liked today’s post!
(1) Ghahari, J.M & McAdam, J.A. (2018, March 26). Combating Climate Change One Bite at a Time: Environmental Sustainability of Veganism (with a Socio-Behavioral Comparison of Vegans and Omnivores). Journal of Social Sciences. https://thescipub.com/pdf/10.3844/jssp.2018.1.11
(2) Cooper, L. (2018, May). A New Veganism: How Climate Change Has Created More Vegans. Aberdeen University Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Journal. https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgrs/documents/Grantie%20Vol%202%20-%20Leanne%20Cooper.pdf