As we approach the end of January we wanted to shed some light on Veganuary, an initiative first started in the U.K. and has been steadily growing worldwide since 2014.
The concept of Veganuary was started by the non-profit organization bearing the same name. The idea is to encourage people to start the year with a 31-day pledge to go vegan in January. Founded in the UK by Matthew Glover and Jane Land, Veganuary communicates their desire to reduce animal suffering, help the planet and improve people’s health, all through a plant based diet.
By promoting this new diet in mainstream media, the organization behind Veganuary tackles the problems of animal farming on an industrial scale. It is important to be aware of our current ways we produce and consume food. What we are doing right now is very unsustainable in terms of being able to feed a population, as it is leading to dramatic climate change, loss of species, deforestation, pollution and health problems.
A 2010 UN report finds that there is a necessity for a global move to meat and dairy free diets. The report predicts that the population will grow to about 9.1 billion people on the planet by 2050. This fact alone concerns scientists that the diets that are rich in meat and so common in the western world that keeping up this pace would be unsustainable for future food consumption. In effect, the report shows that right now, agriculture accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the planet’s greenhouse emmissions.
The Sixth Era of Mass Extinction
A study made in 2018 demonstrates that, since the 70’s Humans have managed to wipe 60% of the animal population on earth. Researchers are explaining this phenomena as the sixth era of mass extinction on the planet, and the first ever made by a species' behavior towards the planet. Humans are the main cause of destruction of habitat because of their tendencies of deforestation to create more farms, eating wild animals and fishing. In short, animal farming on an industrial scale is proven to deteriorate the earth’s fauna and its environment with it.
Moreover, factory farming produces agricultural pollutants that are discarded in our oceans. This process enables the growth of algae contaminating most water areas that decompose and reduce the oxygen essential for the fish’s environment causing marine life to flee or die from these algae. Unfortunately, according to another 2018 study, this phenomenon is four times more observable now than in the 50’s.
Why go Vegan for one month?
Even with the rise in popularity of veganism, changing your eating habits to adopt a strict plant-based diet can be challenging, especially with popular myths that Vegans are more prone to contract health problems due to vitamin deficiency that are present in animals such as meat (B-12) and fish (omega 3). These claims have been debunked by scientists and organizations such as Veganuary, promoting the awareness of vitamin substitutes for more vegan choices and accessibility. In effect, a study shows 68% of participants report health benefits such as increased energy, better skin and positive mental health. Being vegan for 31 days is a great solution for people who do not want to part with their animal products quite yet, but still understand and support its aspect of respecting the earth. Did you participate in Veganuary? If so, how was your experience? We’d love to hear from you.