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Plate Up for the Planet Campaign

Jun 4

Written by:
04/06/2018 10:29  RssIcon

Guest blog from The Vegan Society on its new campaign encouraging consumers to go vegan

 

Being an ethical consumer is a challenge, and none more so when thinking about what goes on your plate. But given that we make that decision three times a day, the potential to have a positive impact with our food choices is huge.

For many, the ethics of eating sentient beings are unquestionable and it’s the driver for those who choose a vegan lifestyle for compassionate reasons. Readers of Ethical Consumer will no doubt have engaged in that debate in the past, and if you’re still consuming animal products, then you’ll have somehow made peace with the inherent exploitation of animals that is part of an omnivorous diet.

 

Image: Vegan burger

 

However, I imagine many more of your consumer choices are made for sustainability reasons and that, of course, is an ethical choice too. The purpose of The Vegan Society’s Plate Up for the Planet campaign is to encourage green thinkers like you to choose veganism for environmental ethical reasons.

Ethical food choices are often made by shopping locally, fairly and seasonally. All of these are important, but in terms of the environment, nothing beats a diet free of animal products.

New research from Oxford University shows that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on the Earth. The Vegan Society has been saying this for some time, along with respected environmentalists such as George Monbiot and policy institutes like Chatham House.

Others in the sustainable agriculture field are determined to cling on to animal farming and of course there are ways to reduce its environmental impact - intensive factory farming is hugely more problematic than organic, grass fed farming. However, the Oxford report states that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.

For clarity, I’ll briefly outline some of the reasons why we know that a vegan diet is the gold star in ethical eating. The global meat and dairy industry is responsible for as much greenhouse gases as the whole transport sector combined. So you may be making an ethical choice by cutting out flying or buying an electric car but if you’re stopping for a steak on your way home then think again.

 

Infographic: land use

 

Greenhouse gases are driving climate change - the biggest threat to the future of our planet. By choosing a vegan diet, you can reduce your food-related carbon footprint by up to 50%.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife and causes up to 91% of Amazon deforestation. Growing vegan food uses 50% less land than animal agriculture. In fact, the Oxford report states that global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and we could still feed the world.

And a meat and dairy diet is inherently wasteful. Bear in mind that for every 100 calories fed to animals, we receive back only 12 calories by consuming their flesh and milk. Feeding crops to people rather than farmed animals could feed three billion more people – how’s that for an ethical food choice?

 

Infographic: The Vegan Society

 

Ethical choices are hard to navigate but when it comes to cutting carbon emissions, protecting our wildlife, and feeding a growing population, it really is hard to argue against a vegan choice. You might think it’s too hard, too time-consuming, or even too expensive, but The Vegan Society are here to support you every step of the way. If you’re thinking that veganism might be the ethical choice for you, then try our Plate Up for the Planet 7 day vegan challenge.

Our challenge-takers have already collectively saved enough CO2 to fly to the moon and back. Join us and make a difference with what’s on your plate

 

This blog was written by Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns at The Vegan Society

 


 

Read our feature: ethical benefits of not eating meat. 

 


 

 

 

 


 

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