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Be Vegan and Save the World
Picture this: in just over 20 years the world could see
flooded cities, forced migration and the Amazon
turning to savannah without any action. Everyone in
this room would agree with me that we must focus on
shared solutions otherwise ravaging fires, and intense
storms will be the least of our worries; the future of
civilisation will be under threat. Now, I must
acknowledge that I have painted a rather bleak image
of the future, however the power to change the course
that our planet will take, lies with us. Nonetheless,
after recent studies, some researchers came to a
conclusion, ‘veganism is the single biggest way to
reduce our environmental impact’. To emphasise the
impact of veganism, just avoiding meat and dairy can
reduce your carbon footprint by nearly 75%. By way of
explanation, Oxford University have told, each and
every one of us that we don’t need to look further than
our dinner plate to save the world.
One of the ways in which going Vegan can save the
world, is that it can provide much-needed help to our
planet by cutting our Greenhouse gas emissions. We
are constantly bombarded with information about the
heavy burden of greenhouse gases on our planet ;
ranging from carbon dioxide being produced from
burning fossil fuels and car exhaust fumes being let off
into the atmosphere, however the production of
greenhouse gases is fundamentally more widespread.
Whilst cows produce methane gas, meat production
requires limitless amounts of energy and besides that
fossil fuels are burnt as animals are raised, slaughtered
and transported. As a matter of fact, live-stock as well
as its resulting products comprises of over 50% of
annual worldwide greenhouse emissions. Hence, by
simply choosing to eat meat, your greenhouse
emissions can be double that of a plant-based or vegan
In addition, becoming a vegan can unquestionably
preserve habitats and species. Rather obviously eating
animals is the largest contributing factor in extinction
and habitat loss and the WWF stated that habitat loss
is the greatest risk to species. What is even more
evident is that we don’t need to travel far to see the
catastrophic effects as here in the UK we have lost 50%
of wildlife. Producing meat requires huge amounts of
land to raise animals on. A common refutation may be
that a vegan diet still requires land to grow crops on,
which it does but according to the Vegan Society,
eating meat involves three times more land than is
needed for a vegan diet. Essentially, every second an
area of rainforest equivalent to the size of a football
field is uncluttered in order to rear and graze animals.
By joining the 78 million vegans you will have to
conserve one of the most crucial resources in the
world: water. Although it looks as though our supply of
water is plentiful, fresh water is actually a limited
resource. Only 2.5% of the water that is available on
our planet is fresh and only 30% of that is not frozen.
The meagre supply of water is a pressing matter with
1in 7 people in the world living without adequate
access to clean water. At first, water and a vegan diet
may seem dissimilar however our food choices have a
great impact on water demand. Raising animals unlike
most plant-based foods requires a large amount of
water. Animals require water to wash, drink, clean
their living spaces and to remain cool in warm
conditions. A study done by Veganuary compared the
water footprints of different foods and discovered that
a soy burger has a footprint of just 14 litres in stark
contrast to a beef burger which has a water footprint
of 2,350 litres. This alarming fact begs the question:
considering so many people worldwide live in areas
without access to fresh water, why are we squandering
so much of it on animal products, when we can obtain
all the nutrients we need from plant-based products?
Humans have been eating meat for over 2.6 million
years, and some will say that our bodies we were
designed for us to be carnivores; but I say as a society.
we must understand which way the wind is blowing
and adapt. At the start of my speech, I told you that
‘veganism is the single biggest way to reduce our
environmental impact’. Just image that you taking the
decision to eat legumes, nuts, tofu and wholegrains
and plant-based foods can help with water
conservation, keeping the soil clean, cutting
greenhouse emissions, mitigating climate change,
preventing species extinction, combating world hunger
and preserving habitats. As Michael McCarthy wrote in
an article a couple of years ago’ The fields may still look
green in spring, but it is mostly lifeless scenery … it is
green concrete.”. An ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure, so I urge you to be vegan to protect
humanity and save the world.