Ever wondered how much of an impact veganism really has on the environment?
A leading vegan charity calculated the total savings by the 10,000 people who ate vegan for a week after signing up to its seven-day challenge, and the results are astonishing.
Participants in The Vegan Society’s environmental campaign Plate Up for the Planet included Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas MP and collectively saved 147,000 kg CO2e, equivalent to being able to fly to the moon and back.
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With many of those remaining vegan, this huge impact is likely to be amplified with the campaign still continuing after reaching the 10,000 milestone.
Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns and Policy at The Vegan Society, said:
“Going vegan is one of the most significant things an individual can do to help combat climate change, and indeed many environmentalists follow the lifestyle to decrease their impact on the planet.
“Those who signed up to our seven-day vegan challenge were shown how much CO2 emissions they’ve saved compared to non-vegan equivalents of the meals.
“What they’ve saved over the course of the week is astonishing and surprised many people, which we hope will lead to more people concerned with the environment choosing the vegan lifestyle.”
The campaign has enjoyed support from MPs and celebrities, including Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas MP, who took the seven-day vegan challenge, said: “As a vegetarian, I’m very aware of the climate and animal welfare impacts of a meat based diet, but in the past I’ve struggled to eat only vegan food.
“The Vegan Society’s seven-day challenge provided a welcome catalyst to prompt me to go further, and reminded me just how delicious vegan food can be.”
Research published by the vegan charity has also found that 1 in 5 respondents (19 percent) said they would consider becoming vegan.
Similarly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has compiled a new report that shows the destructive nature of animal agriculture.
The report concluded that animal agriculture is currently responsible for 60 percent of the Earth’s loss of biodiversity.
Titled “Appetite for Destruction,” the report showed that animals are on the brink of extinction due to the mass planting of monocrops to feed livestock.
“The huge amount of land needed to produce protein-rich feeds such as soy is having devastating effects on species and their habitats,” the report said, “especially in vulnerable areas such as the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and the Himalayas.”
“In a world where more and more people adopt a Western diet—one that’s high in meat, dairy, and processed food,” the report said, “producing crops to feed our livestock is putting an enormous strain on our natural resources and is a driving force behind wide-scale biodiversity loss.”
According to VegNews: “The report identified a large number of animals whose populations are threatened by crop expansion, including giant pandas, cheetahs, jaguars, giraffes, and snow leopards.”
The WHO provides a recommendation at the end of the report, suggesting everyone should reduce their meat and dairy intake and increase the number of plants they’re eating. They also add that feeding plants to animals is an inefficient way for humans to obtain protein.