Why - and whether - veganism is good for the environment
There are several reasons for people to eat a vegan diet or even follow a completely vegan lifestyle. One of these reasons is that vegan nutrition contributes to environmental protection. I hear this again and again and can imagine some of it. Nevertheless, I wanted to know more and I asked for more information.
So: What exactly is so good for the environment about veganism? And is this statement true at all?
Vegan nutrition - trend, attitude to life or mixed form?
A diet can be more than just a way of eating food. Many of us also define part of our social, ethical or ecological attitudes through our diet. So also most VeganerInnen. One can distinguish between different forms of being a vegan: For vegan living humans probably belongs in each case to it to do without food of animal origin. Beyond that applies for ethically motivated VeganerInnen to pay attention also with everyday objects such as clothes or cosmetics to the fact that these are free from animal products or animal experiments.
Now it is clear to none of us that the vegan lifestyle is currently booming. You can find more and more vegan products in the supermarkets, new vegan restaurants are opening everywhere and more and more vegan alternatives and dishes are being discovered on every menu. For me it is not quite clear why exactly veganism has become a real trend. Is it the increased awareness of people to pay more attention to what they eat? Or the desire to consume less finished products or less sugar? Or is it ultimately the realization that we are living beyond our resources and are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change?
I now think that it is a combination of several reasons - as with most "trends". Maybe the question of the trigger is not so important. Rather, what is behind these arguments. Of course we are not here at a new episode of Galileo Mysteryand I don't want to play the expert. I was only interested in the topic and would like to share my thoughts and impressions with you.
What are the reasons for vegan nutrition being good for the environment?
If one looks at the web pages of Peta or WWF um, you can quickly access information about environmental protection and nutrition: For example, a meatless dish pollutes the climate on average three times less than a dish with meat.
Here are some of the reasons why environmental degradation is largely caused by animal products.
First, the production of animal products causes climate damage. The clearing of forests for the planting of animal feed and pasture land generates a large proportion of the greenhouse gases emitted worldwide. According to Peta, these emissions caused by agriculture will account for 50-80% of total greenhouse gases by 2050.
Land use and biodiversity
Another issue is land use; as almost the entire share of agricultural land is used for animal husbandry and feed. Also, almost all of the soy grown, for which several hectares of rainforest are cleared, is used as animal feed - as is 50 percent of the harvest.
Furthermore, the cultivation of fodder and the deforestation of rainforests does not provide any room for biodiversity.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Waste of resources and water
The argument that would probably immediately come to mind for most of us is the waste of resources. Animal husbandry is very inefficient and, in addition to feed and water, resources are needed for transport and electricity production.
In addition to wasting resources, wasting water also plays a role. According to Peta, around 30 percent of the water used worldwide is used for the animal industry. It should be noted that plant products naturally also require water - but less than animal products.
The liquid manure, medicines and pesticides used in animal husbandry and feed production lead to water pollution. This limits not only the quality but also the quantity of drinking water available. Of course, more consumption of animal products also produces more liquid manure, which further pollutes the groundwater.
Polluted soil and air pollution
Soils are also suffering from the increasing demand for meat and the growing need for food. The soils are overused and less fertile. As a result, of course, less can be cultivated overall.
Furthermore, agricultural livestock farming also pollutes the air. Large amounts of dust, fine dust and other gases are produced. These not only harm the animals, but also contribute to climate change.
Summary of the points
Through vegan nutrition
- climate damages are reduced
- the land use and thus also the deforestation of the rainforest is reduced
- fewer habitats are at risk from all animal species
- not so many resources and water are wasted
- the soil and the quality of ground and drinking water are less polluted
- the air stays cleaner
So is vegan food always better?
No, not automatically. Ready-to-eat meals and vegan substitute products are often industrially processed several times and therefore do not consume little energy. It is therefore worth considering which alternative products are used to replace animal products.
In addition, the ingredients for alternative products are often of an exotic nature. The ingredients, such as coconut, which come from faraway countries, have to be transported at great expense and have come a long way before they end up on our shelves.
In addition one cannot deny that vegetables and fruits can also cause high CO2 emissions. However, one can and should take care to use seasonal, regional and organic products.
All in all, it can probably be said that the way in which it is implemented is also important here. Only because one nourishes oneself vegan, that does not mean automatically also that one lives super healthy and does not harm the environment any longer.
Because damage develops in any way probably always. Nevertheless it is important to deal more consciously with the own eating behaviour and to deal somewhat more carefully with our food and to pay attention simply a little more to our environment. Whether you decide to live a completely vegan life or to limit your meat consumption in general or to pay more attention to the way you keep animals is ultimately up to you.
But to do something for our environment - we can all do that for sure.
If you would like to learn more about the topics of environment and sustainability, mindfulness or healthy eating, take a look here .
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash