It seems that almost overnight, vegan options seem to be everywhere you look. From restaurant menus to grocery store shelves, vegan options are becoming increasingly readily available, popular, and recommended by certified nutrition experts
There’s no denying that the vegan lifestyle has become a mainstream food trend; but, why? What factors have caused this surge of vegan-friendly options, and what’s the difference between vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian options? In the following article, we’ll explore the history and benefits of veganism, ecological and health impacts of a vegan lifestyle, and the greater implications for society that veganism has to offer.
Environmental Benefits to a Vegan Lifestyle
A Brief History of Veganism
Veganism, or the practice of abstaining from animal products, began as an ethical belief deeply rooted in personal values and religious practices. Following the Westernization industrial farming, there was a great concern for animals’ rights, which caused the majority of veganism practices to form out of a desire to avoid cruel maltreatment of livestock and a moral responsibility to use the planet’s supply of food efficiently. Now-a-days, veganism is growing in popularity due to increasing public awareness of the positive health benefits, as well as the ecological implications of a vegan lifestyle.
Animal agriculture produces more pollution than the entire transportation sector.Factory farming requires large amounts of water, feed, and land that could be used for other agricultural crops.The meat industry is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.Methane, a greenhouse gas, is produced by animals and is the main contributor to global warming.
While it may seem intimidating to switch to a vegan lifestyle, modifying your diet to include plant-based foods is an excellent way to reduce your water, land, and energy usage and therefore reduce your personal carbon footprint.
Vegan food demandIt’s no secret: meat and dairy are bad for the planet. Animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, drives deforestation, and uses up valuable resources. To produce just one standard hamburger, it takes more than 3,000 liters of water, for example. And, of course, the industry is also bad for the animals. Every year, billions of cows, pigs, fish, chickens, turkeys, and sheep are slaughtered for food, and most of them (more than 90-percent globally) are kept in cramped, industrialized factory farming conditions.
This spike in demand has led individual plant-based markets to grow. According to Fortune Business Insights, changing diets will push the dairy-free alternatives market to a value of more than $61 billion by 2029. Likewise, Research and Markets expects the plant-based meat market to exceed $15 billion by 2027. And in 2021, the vegan egg industry accounted for $1.5 billion.