Why Veganuary can be good news for the environment

Q: How do you know if someone’s a vegan?

A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you about it regularly

There’s a somewhat outdated stereotype of vegans (which we’ve just reinforced with that joke) that they can be somewhat self-righteous, not to mention fond of informing people of their dietary choices.

But in truth, veganism is more popular than ever. And with good reason. There are environmental benefits to a vegan diet, with the meat and dairy industries among the major producers of greenhouse gases. A 2018 report published in the journal Science* showed that while meat and dairy contribute just 18% of calories and 37% of protein to the average diet, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report’s authors concluded that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.’

Another reason for the increased popularism of veganism – which is in itself partly a result of the trend – is the increase in the variety of vegan food available in recent years. Compared to ten, or even five years ago, the range of vegan food available has increased drastically, with most supermarkets now having a sizeable vegan and plant-based food section.

There’s also been a surge in vegan recipes available, with hundreds of delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes available (for a sample, take a look here). We’ve searched the web (and added a few of our own) and have come up with a selection of our favourites, which we’ll be posting regularly throughout the month.

Veganuary, launched by the charity of the same name has likewise seen a surge of popularity in recent years, with over 580,000 people signing up in 2021. The idea is simple. For one month a year – January – go vegan. Endorsed by celebrities including Paul McCartney, and Chris Packham, Veganuary has become a big deal in recent years, with many shops and restaurants introducing special dishes to help the cause.

We understand turning vegan isn’t for everyone. It’s a bit commitment (this writer, who’s been a vegetarian since the ‘80s has never been able to make the jump to veganism due to an unfortunate cheese addiction, but will try for Veganuary!) but even if you only have one or two vegan meals a week, it can make a difference. So, go on, give it a try!

* Source: Veganary’s letter to COP26 https://veganuary.com/cop26/