Welcome back to the Why Vegan? series! This is the last post (read the others here and here!) of a series focused on the top 3 reasons to go vegan. While people choose this lifestyle for all kinds of personal reasons, there are 3 that seem to always stand out as primary motivators for people to go and remain vegan: health, the animals, and the environment. From my own personal experiences and talking with others, it’s common to gain a lot of knowledge in one of these areas, become super inspired to go vegan, and then learn even more about the other 2. This is definitely what happened with me! My main goal with this series is to share a just a bit of what I’ve learned about each of these 3 reasons, to talk a little bit about how to discuss these issues with others, and mostly to share some great resources for you to learn more yourself, so that however you choose to live, you can say that you’re well informed.
Today, we’re talking about our beautiful earth! The environment is the component for me that definitely came last as far as getting educated, but I’m extremely interested in it now. I used to know absolutely nothing about climate change, global warming, all that stuff. But now that I’ve seen the role animal agriculture plays and how disgustingly destructive we’re being when we participate, it’s one of the biggest reasons to go vegan. Perfection isn’t the goal. We’re never going to leave no footprint behind here, but shouldn’t we do our very best to do as little harm as possible not only for while we’re around, but our children and future generations?
I won’t be able to go into deep detail on this topic, but I am going to share the general, overarching ideas behind the environmental component, my personal experiences, and most importantly some valuable resources that I’ve learned so much from, so that you can pick and choose how to learn more for yourself!
First, let’s talk about what animal agriculture really does to our environment.
Animal agriculture is the main cause of greenhouse gases and rainforest destruction. It destroys our environment more than ALL methods of transportation. When I first discovered this, my mind was seriously blown! So many people think they’re doing good by riding their bike or walking to work, when they could do SO much more by simply giving up meat. When you think about it, it doesn’t make much logical sense to use TONS of land to grow grain for animals to eat, only to kill those animals for us to eat, and then for us to get extremely sick as a result. If you’re interested in the environmental issues, the documentary Cowspiracy is incredible. So much of this component is just getting informed. I had NO idea that animal agriculture even came into these issues, because nobody really talks about it. Again, it comes down to money. Animal agriculture companies make it a point to hide that they’re making this horrible impact by paying environmental companies to target other issues, like transportation, as what needs to change. When if animal agriculture was put to an end, we could literally feed the whole world and stop destroying our planet.
Eating animals impact our earth in a horrible way, but it also is currently destroying the living conditions of people right at this moment. If you haven’t heard about the atrocity that is the hog farm waste in North Carolina, read more about it here. Basically, there is so much hog farming going on that they literally can’t handle all the waste the pigs are producing. As a result, they literally spray the feces and waste matter into the air and into giant lagoons. This almost always occurs in areas of low income, and people’s health is greatly affected. It is making people sick, and there’s essentially nothing they can do about it. Imagine living in an area where you walk outside for fresh air, and get hit with a disgusting odor and poop literally raining down. Nobody should have to live like that, and by not supporting the animal agriculture industry, you can help stop that.
The environmental arguments for going vegan are often most powerful for people, because there’s a lot of science behind it. Plus, it is literally impossible to sustain this way of eating. There’s simply not enough land or ocean to continue at this rate. Not to mention, amazingly beautiful rainforests are literally being mowed down, habitats that are home to important species, and people’s homes. All for a piece of meat for dinner. It makes no sense.
Then there’s the issue of oceans. There’s terrifying research showing that if we continue huge fishing operations, we will have fish-less oceans in less than 50 years. When the oceans are destroyed, so are people. I feel like it’s not too difficult to consider a lifestyle change as opposed to dying because our planet has been destroyed. There’s so much more to read about the issues with oceans specifically, which you can see here.
Overall, the BEST resource for this topic is the Cowspiracy website. They have tons of additional sources for their facts, all of which are credible and not confounded by big agriculture paying for specific results or reports. This is not a sustainable way for the world to feed itself, especially when there’s a perfectly logical alternative – eating lots of delicious plant foods!
I hope that this whole series has been helpful! Let me know in the comments below what your biggest motivator is for going/staying vegan, and have a happy, healthy weekend 🙂