If you are wanting to catch up on Episode 2 of the Eco Chat series from my Eco Living Community Group on Facebook, you can find it here. The chat covers:
- Some facts and figures
- What impact being vegan can have
- Easy switches if you don’t want to be vegan
- Some great food alternatives I’ve found
- Q&A session
Video below and a rough transcript further down the page. It would be great to hear your thoughts on the sunject.
Hello! My name is Jen and I am the owner and founder of Eco Living Ideas. My mission is to create a community and platform which allows my customers and followers to begin or continue on their eco journey with ease. By providing useful information, facts and beautiful products, I take all of the guess work out of being eco-friendly.
So, let’s get started.
Vegan definition – “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
- Methane has a global warming potential 86 times that of CO2 on a 20 Year time frame.
- Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.
- Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) water use ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually. Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually.
- Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
- Meat provides around 18% of our calories but farming for that meat takes 83% of farmland globally
- An estimated 33% of all croplands are used to grow animal feed
What impact being vegan can have:
According to a University of Oxford study, if everybody cut meat and dairy from their diet there could be…
- A 49% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from food production. (The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations claims that livestock is responsible for a whopping 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.)
- A 76% reduction in land used for food production (67 percent of deforestation for agriculture, which causes carbon to be released into the atmosphere, is driven by the need for land for animal feed and pasture.)
- A 49% reduction in eutrophication, where nutrients from fertilisers run into lakes and rivers, damaging ecosystems and reducing biodiversity.
- Less water usage
- Less CO2 emissions as individuals
The same study shows that the impact of the very lowest-impact animal products still exceeds that of substitute vegetable proteins, such as tofu.
However, everybody would need to become vegan to reach these figures, and of course that would put strain and resources on to other food products that are common in plant based diets (nuts, grains and seeds).
Easy switches if you don’t want to be Vegan:
Becoming vegan isn’t for everyone and that is ok! We need to be mindful of what we are eating and where from and that can still have an impact. Make switches that you can and it will all have a consequence. You could try:
- Eating less meat – have 2-3 vegetarian based meals each week
- Look for the vegan label on none food products. Bath and body products, clothes and textiles for example.
- Make sure the meat you do buy is local! The closer to home the better but definitely from British Soil.
- Buy products when they are in season (fruit and veg shipped around the world isn’t great for CO2 emmissions)
Some great food alternatives I’ve found:
I think I an officially be called a flexitarian (I didn’t know that was a thing until last week!). Veganuary and watching a couple of documentaries, really inspired me to make changes, and stick to them. I am now trying to make all of my breakfast, lunch and snacks vegan (or minimum vegetarian) and then then 2-3 evening meals a week are vegetarian or vegan too. January is a great time to try vegan products if you never have before as they are all on offer! Here are a few that we have tried as a family and they all have a thumbs up:
- Alpro Vegan Yoghurt (Tesco own was ok but not as good)
- Vegan Butter
- Vegan Ice-Cream
- Plant based milk (only I have this at the moment in smoothies and porridge but I did make custard with almond milk and everyone enjoyed it!)
- Linda McCartneys Veggie Mozzerella Burgers
- I am also eating tofu more often too.
Have a look when you next go shopping and see if you can pick up one or two alternatives to try out!
If you have any interest in learning more about veganism and the impact you can have on the planet, there are a couple of great programs to watch on TV. Here are just a few: Cowspiracy (Netflix), Feast to Save the Planet (BBC), The Game Changers (Netflix)