Eating vegan is one of the most sustainable diets. But what exactly is it? Veganism is the practice of abstaining from using any kind of animal products. Veganism can only refer to the diet, or to all aspects of life, depending on the individual. The lifestyle is based on the idea that animals should not be considered a commodity. A person who refrains from consuming animal products is known as a “dietary vegan”. An “ethical vegan” is someone who not only eats a vegan diet but also refrain from using any animal products for any purpose. “Environmental veganism” is the avoidance of using animal products that have been raised industrially.
The mainstream term “vegan” usually refers to dietary vegans. Dietary vegans choose not to eat animal products whether it be for environmental, health, religious, ethical, or personal reasons. They cannot eat foods like meat, eggs, dairy, butter, honey, gelatin, fish, etc. Some food items, like honey for example, are controversial among the vegan community and it is up to the individual to decide to eat it or not.
Eating vegan is great for the environment mainly because meat is cut from the diet. The meat industry is extremely bad for the environment for numerous reasons. The first being the land that livestock takes up and destroys. Pigs and cows especially require a vast amount of space and produce a large amount of waste. The waste emits an enormous amount of methane that contributes to global warming. The waste can also contaminate groundwater nearby. Meat is also extremely water intensive. Each animal consumes a large amount of water and food, which requires water to grow.
While going vegan isn’t for everyone, it is becoming more popular. The chart below shows interest in the term “vegan” on Google- a popular search engine. In recent years more and more people have been looking into the lifestyle- maybe to try it out for themselves or just to see what it’s all about.
This week’s #STOTW written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017
Thanks to Pixabay for providing the photo