I happened to come across an article in the London Evening Standard a couple of days ago, and was delighted to read that within the House of Commons they have now launched a vegan loyalty card. In honour of World Vegan Month, this entitles MPs and staff a free meal after 9 vegan purchases.
I thought this was great news, but it seems the Londoner’s Diary writer sees it as somewhat unfair towards those who are not vegan. I’m bemused. Only recently, David Cameron was actively encouraging us to eat less meat in a bid to reduce the effects of climate change and prevent world food shortages. In light of this, I would expect our MPs to be setting an example (and they are indeed the ones who have instigated the campaign)!
And it’s not as though meat-eaters don’t have the lion’s share (sorry!) in restaurants anyway. So hurrah for the House of Commons, I say. Raising awareness of the vegan diet during World Vegan Month is exactly what it’s about, and encouraging healthier (for us and the planet) lifestyle choices is a fantastic step forward.
And just in case you didn’t know, here are a few reasons why following a vegan diet is good for the environment:
1) It takes many more resources (land, water and energy) to raise livestock, compared to the growth of vegetable protein.
As much as an enormous 45% of the Earth’s land mass is used for grazing animals and growing the crops to feed them on. In America, livestock grazing is the top reason for many plant species becoming extinct. It also leads to soil erosion and eventually land will become barren. According to an article in Time Magazine two years ago, we only have around 60 years left before the top soil runs out. In this scenario, food production will drop hugely and water will reach crisis point (poor quality soils retains less water). Organic farming results in much less degradation of the soil, but still more than is sustainable.
You would save more water by not eating 1lb of meat, than you would by not taking a shower for 6 months. You don’t need to go stinky to save the planet!
2) Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas (methane and nitrous oxide) emissions than all of the cars, planes and other transport, combined. In fact, skipping meat just one day a week, can reduce your annual carbon footprint by as much as not driving your car for an entire month!
3) In America, 70% of the total grain grown is fed to animals. If this were able to be used to feed people instead, imagine how much world hunger could be reduced.
Putting a stop to world hunger, saving our planet for future generations, and all by just cutting out or reducing the consumption of animal products. Not to mention the energy you’ll have as a result of your new diet! Meat Free Mondays is a great start, or why not take a jump and try being vegan for a month, with Veganuary!
Thanks so much for reading. I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences! As always, I’m never preaching, just sharing and raising awareness.