What if the whole world adopted a vegan diet?
You don’t have to look too far today to find an overwhelming amount of data on why we should all be living on plant-based diets. Whether it’s for your health, for the health of the planet, for the next generation who will inherit this planet, or simply for compassion for animals, eating a vegan diet is one of the best personal consumption choices you can make in your lifetime. We’re not alone when we say – humans converting to a plant-based diet as soon as possible could be the salvation for all of us.
Here are just a few stats on how being vegan can save the world:
The Personal Reasons to Go Vegan:
- Eating the equivalent of two slices of ham each day (or 50 grams of processed meat) – can increase your risk of cancer by 18%. (World Health Organization.)
- Vegans have lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. For example, vegan women have 34% lower rates of cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)
- Women placed on plant-based diets for just two weeks were found to suppress the growth of three different types of breast cancer. Similar results were found for men relating to prostate cancer and prostate enlargement. (Huffington Post, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.)
- Vegan diets contribute to greater weight loss than vegetarian, pescatarian, semi-vegetarian, or omnivorous diets. (Obesity Society.)
- 55-year-old male and female vegans weigh about 30 pounds less than non-vegetarians of similar height. (Loma Linda University.)
- Vegans have a 57% reduced risk of death from heart disease. (The British Medical Journal.)
- Vegans have a 68% lower rate of diabetes than meat eaters. (Adventist Health Study 2, VeganHealth.org.)
The Altruistic Reasons to Go Vegan:
- Everyday, people eating a vegan diet save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) – and they save one animal’s life. (Cowspiracy.com, University of Twente, the Netherlands, Scientific American, The Environmental Working Group, Langdon Street Press.)
- Vegans produce the equivalent of 50% less CO2 than meat eaters, and they use 0.09% of the oil, 0.08% of water, and 0.05% of land simply by eating a vegan diet. (Cowpiracy.com, ShrinkTheFootprint.com, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, OneGreen Planet.com, John Robbins – Food Revolution, Earthsave.org.)
- Livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Cowspiracy.com, Worldwatch Institute, The Independent.)
- Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day, which has the global warming potential of 86-times that of CO2 in a 20-year time frame. (Cowspiracy.com, Philip Ross – International Business Times, Science Magazine.)
- Reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately, whereas CO2 can take centuries to dissipate in the atmosphere. (Cowspiracy.com, United Nations Climate Summit, D. Archer, The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate.)
- Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296-times the global warming potential of CO2, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. (Cowspiracy.com, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.)
- Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the U.S. (Cowspiracy.com, Michael Jacobson – Center for Science in the Public Interest.)
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction. (Cowspiracy.com, World Bank.)
- For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. (Cowspiracy.com, UN Food and Agriculture Organization.)
- There could be fishless oceans by 2048. (Cowspiracy.com, Science, National Geographic.)
Is it possible that the whole world could become vegan?
In 2012, according to Gallup, 2% of the population said they were vegan. Another 5% said they were vegetarian (not completely vegan because they consume dairy and/or eggs, or use animal products, like leather or wool.)
But what about the other 93% of the population who eat meat and fish? How many have vegetarian or vegan leanings?
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, about 4% of Americans hunt and 10% fish. Assuming the hunters and fishers will continue to hunt and fish, and excluding the vegetarians and vegans, that leaves another 79% of people who don’t get their meat by hunting or fishing – but still eat it. Are all of those people contentedly shopping in the Safeway meat department, eating Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s, and pouring milk on their cereal without a thought to whether those are the healthiest things to eat or for the animals from whom those foods are derived? Or, are they aware but having trouble changing their habits? It’s most likely a combination of the two. And it represents a lot of people – and a huge opportunity. If we remove the vegans, vegetarians, hunters, and fishers, there are well over 200 million people in the U.S. alone who could become vegan.
After all, we don’t think Bill Gates is crazy.
You know Bill Gates – the richest man in the world? He’s the guy who once made the outlandish statement that there would be a personal computer in every living room. Imagine that. He’s also invested in Impossible Foods, the startup company that creates plant-based foods that mimic the taste and texture of meat and dairy, but use far fewer resources to produce. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, another company making plant-based meats, promise to create a groundswell of people moving to plant-based diets.
But it’s also the job of the converts – the vegan family members and friends, and the vegan chefs, doctors, athletes, celebrities, product designers, and other thought others – to make it easy, enjoyable, and compelling for the non-vegans to find their way.
There is no doubt that more and more people turning to veganism creates a monumental win-win-win for human health, environmental health, and the welfare of animals. It’s just a matter of how quickly human beings will be able and willing to change.