Some people go vegan in order to attain a healthier lifestyle, whereas most others do to fight against animal cruelty. However, there are some who associate going vegan with becoming eco friendly. As they move away from dairy and meat, they believe they are contributing to helping the environment for future generations. But the question remains; is vegan diet eco friendly?
The short answer? YES and NO…
Confused? No worries, read on…
When people switch to eating only products that do not involve any meat or dairy, they are no doubt helping save the environment at that point. More vegans mean fewer animals being slaughtered for food. Lower animal slaughter means lower amounts of waste being produced, which in most cases (especially the developing and underdeveloped countries) ends up in landfills or the ocean, releasing harmful gases and chemicals as they rot away.
However, what people tend to forget is that the fruits and vegetables they are now committed to eating, also go through a process. In most countries, the fruits and vegetables are grown at an industrial scale, often incorporating synthetic fertilizers for growth and pesticides to keep insects away from the produce. Most of this washes up in the ocean, and with more people going vegan and buying only fruits and vegetables, the amount consumed, and hence the number of chemicals and pesticides used in the growth process, go up.
As ‘veganism’ is on the rise in developed countries, the amount of produce is simply not able to keep up with the demand. This means that fruits and vegetables need to be imported from countries where there is a surplus of local fruits and vegetables. Of course, import requires transportation, almost all of which consists of diesel-operated vehicles such as trucks and tankers. These long haul vehicles produce tons of harmful gases every single day, and the additional import of fruits and veggies isn’t exactly helping the environment.
But does it stop there? Sadly this isn’t the half of it! Companies are importing food from other areas, most of which are developing nations to get a good deal than pay more to a developed country. This means that the countries who were already having issues with other things now have lesser food, and guess what they need to do now; import more food from other countries!
does that mean that a vegan diet isn’t eco friendly at all? Has the vegan been harming the environment all along? On the contrary, becoming vegan the proper way is one of the most effective ways to embrace an eco friendly lifestyle.
So.. what is the proper way to ensure that I’m vegan AND eco friendly?
The answers lie in the problem! Firstly, ensure that the fruits, vegetables, and grains you are consuming are produced organically. Organic foods are easily accessible at your local farmer’s market and are made using mostly natural growth ingredients such as organic fertilizers. They not only help the environment but also help the local economy. Buying from the local market also ensures that there is less burden on importing food from other countries, countries that themselves may need it more than you do!
If you are nowhere near a farmer’s market or you must buy your fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, look for the items that have the fairtrade logo somewhere on them. It ensures that the products you’re buying have been sourced responsibly and sustainably from developing countries, ensuring that they get a fair cut of the food that they have worked so hard to produce.
If you’re into gardening, going vegan is probably one of the best things that ever happened to you! With all that excess food waste, you can create and feed your very own compost pile to create an eco friendly organic fertilizer. Even the food you waste is no longer wasted! Composting is pretty simple, and although it takes a bit of time to develop, it’s definitely worth the wait. As an added bonus, you can even grow your own fruits and vegetables at home!
Becoming environment friendly is probably one of the most important goals we need to consider today, and if done the proper way, switching to a vegan diet is definitely an environmentally-friendly choice to make.