Vegans have had a bad rap in the past. Some have a reputation for being a little overzealous, or maybe the rest of us just feel guilty in the presence of such sacrifice … to each their own. While veganism isn’t new, the benefits that span far beyond the health of our bodies are backed by compelling research.
In fact, a lot of this new research has people finally listening. Many are taking the plunge into plant-based eating and veganism, with newfound, heart-centered passion and much less resistance. Kourt has also recently gone vegan for the sake of the planet. Hear us out.
First of all, global warming is happening at a far quicker rate than we had previously anticipated. Just a few degrees Fahrenheit warmer will have absolutely massive consequences, and if we don’t start making changes now, that temperature spike is inevitable. Think more intense storms and erratic, unpredictable weather, droughts and famines, rising sea levels, and mass extinctions for animals that depend on weather and migration patterns. This is predicted as early as 2040, which is in most, if not all, of our readers’ lifetimes. Yeah. Sh*t is getting real.
Now that we’re all properly frightened, we’ll share what the heck veganism has to do with any of this. We know we should cut back on gas by carpooling, biking, walking, and taking public transit whenever possible. We know we need to be mindful of our water and energy usage. But not eating animals—or eating far less—is the biggest call to action.
Scientists and researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting out meat and dairy products from our diet could reduce each and every one of our food carbon footprints by up to 73%. That’s because meat and dairy products (looking at factory-farmed cattle, here) are one of the biggest proponents of greenhouse emissions from the food industry, at nearly 15%.
Factory farms, which is where the vast majority of us get our meat and dairy products, pollute the environment, land, and drinking water and release immeasurable amounts of methane into the atmosphere, which has an even darker effect—up to 80x worse—than CO2 when it comes to greenhouse gases.
Vast farmland destroys native species’ homes
Mowing down large spans of land to provide grazing ground for cattle, meat, and dairy destroys entire ecosystems responsible for homing a multitude of native species. Native species are part of a living, breathing, very important facet of natural life, and every species contributes to the sustainability of certain plants and nutrients in the environment. Just because we don’t interact with them personally doesn’t mean we don’t benefit from the biodiversity that they provide.
Water-soluble compounds and other toxic contaminants from improper farm waste disposal often find their way into waterways and groundwater systems, polluting drinking water and killing fish and other aquatic species. Think heavy metals, antibiotics, animal blood, and harmful bacteria.
Vital soil and forests are destroyed
Unnatural animal pollution executed by big factory farms doesn’t just contribute to wildlife extinction and deforestation by destroying the natural environment. It also destroys the soil of the land, preventing it from recovery and producing more harmful gases due to high levels of animal waste, acidification, and the lack of trees and oxygen-producing foliage to counterbalance these gases.
Science reveals that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve justified this due to our skewed perception of protein and adequate nutrition. While we understand that it’s not healthy for every single person to be totally vegan, we can certainly reduce our meat consumption significantly, and support our health by consuming more plant-based foods.
There are tons of plant foods that are incredibly high in protein, like legumes, grains, and edamame. But we also should note that many vegetables are high in protein—they aren’t just fiber and vitamins! We don’t typically think of broccoli or cauliflower as high-protein options, but they are. Stay tuned to see what Kourt eats in a day to support her fully nourished, vegan lifestyle.
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