THE BLOG

It's Time for Veganism to Embrace the Past to Build the Future

05/02/2016 10:38 GMT | Updated 03/02/2017 10:12 GMT

The secret is out.... After 70 years of hard campaigning veganism has arrived in the mainstreams consciousness.

Last month Veganuary - where people give veganism a go for a month - saw an unprecedented level of support as at least 23,000 people ditched animal products for January. Throughout the month hardly a day went by without a national newspaper dedicating articles to the subject of veganism.

People who are not already dedicated vegans are becoming increasingly interested in exploring veganism as a way to live a more environmentally-friendly and healthy life.

And the market is responding- late last year Guinness was the latest in a long line of businesses to make its goods vegan in response to a growing demand for cruelty-free products.

This rapid growth in food products available to the vegan market is great - it means less animals die and it means we eat food produced in a less carbon intensive way.

In Switzerland a company called Eaternity has responded to the demand from consumers for climate-friendly meals by developing an app that helps restaurants calculate the carbon footprint of the meals they serve.

With the support of Eaternity many restaurants are now able to offer certified climate friendly meals which tell the customer the exact carbon cost of the food they are eating.

From an environmental perspective alone veganism offers us an effective strategy to tackle rising greenhouse gases.

Conservative estimates from the UN put the greenhouse gases produced livestock at around 18% of global greenhouse gases. Add in the transportation storage, water, farming and that number looks something more like the 51% cited in the film Cowspiracy.

As someone who cares deeply about the planet we leave behind for future generations. I find myself thinking about how can veganism- a movement for environmental and social justice for humans and animals avoid falling into the traps of 21st century throwaway capitalism?

I know what it is like when something pops up on your Facebook newsfeed saying a previously un-vegan product is now vegan. I feel the urge to share it as it demonstrates that veganism is a movement for change with great momentum. But recently I have found myself thinking about those people working hard to create potatoes, carrots, pulses, kale that provide us with nutritional powerhouses we thrive on.

Honestly I think it is great that some Oreos cookies are vegan-we should all encourage food producers to make more vegan products. This will mean less global animal suffering and less greenhouses gases.

But I feel as a movement we should look to permaculture methods to educate ourselves on growing our own food. Support our local food growing schemes, getting to know our more about fermenting foods. We should buy from those food producers who avoid using environmentally damaging products like palm oil. Organic doesn't always have to mean expensive by looking outside of the supermarkets and joining a food growing scheme you can eat delicious organic food affordably.

Businesses emerging from the vegan movement like Fry's Family Foods and Oatly have embedded ethics at their core of what they do. As we go forward as a movement let's champion those who choose to put animals, people and the environment above profit.

Make no mistake veganism is the most ethical, healthy and environmentally friendly way to live your life. But let's be mindful that we promote those working with nature to create vegan products not against the environment we are all trying to protect.