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How Vegetarianism Affects Us and the Planet

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Do you view animals as living beings that experience suffering, pain, and happiness just as we do, or do you view them as a food source, something we can control at our own will? I imagine that most, if not all, of you grew up eating meat, consuming dairy products, and wearing clothing items made from leather and wool. I would also imagine that most of you do not think about the impact of using or consuming these products. However, supporting the use and consumption of animal products has a negative impact on our environment, and consuming animal products probably has similar negative impact on your body.It’s also responsible for the deaths of thousands of animals every day.

It is very hard, for humans to make the connection between the food on their plate and where it comes from. Being a vegan means you don’t consume any meat, fish, poultry, dairy, honey, eggs, etc. Anything that comes from an animal vegans do not eat. Also vegans do not use leather, wool, or products that are not cruelty free. Going vegan is a step you can take to put a stop to the animal product industry, improve your health, and the environment. Vegans tend to be called extremist – for eating whole foods, looking after their health, protecting the environment, and reducing the amount of animals that are brutally killed. Yet meat eaters who pollute the environment and waste resources that could be valued elsewhere, and cause the slaughter of over 50 billion animals a year, are viewed as normal. So why do people go vegan, what impact does it really make?

It may not seem like eating a piece of chicken or a drinking a glass of milk would affect the earth, but it does. The animal product industry uses an overload amount of natural resources, and pollutes the environment. To put this into perspective, it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. Yet it only takes 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat.You’d save more water by not eating one pound of meat, than you would not taking a shower for 6 months. Raising animals uses 30% of the world’s land surface mass. The industry expels more greenhouse gases than the entire world’s transportation sector combined; and it causes water pollution, deforestation, and air pollution. According to, switching to a vegan diet prevents the release of 1,533 pounds of CO2 a year that would be produced in the animal product industry. Most people don’t realize the amount of resources that are required to produce animal products. To give you yet another idea, it takes a thousand gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk (

The majority of you most likely did not know the impact that this industry has on our planet because no one tells you when you’re growing up. Because it’s the normal thing to consume and use animal products. Because nobody tells you when your eating a hamburger that it requires almost 700 gallons of water to produce. Giving animals pounds and pounds of grains, reduces the amount of food resources that are desperately needed in other countries. So imagine if we were to stop focusing so many of these resources on producing animal products, and focused more on producing whole plant based foods, that not only are immensely healthier, but have less of an impact on the environment, how could we then reduce our population’s negative impact on our planet? Not only does going vegan drastically reduce your individual impact on the environment, but it can directly affect your health as well.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that those who follow a vegan diet have lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, lower body weights, and lower risk of diseases such as colon cancer, breast cancer, cataracs, osteoporosis.Meat and dairy contain a lot of saturated fats, which when cut out of a diet, can tremendously improve your health. Humans are the only species that drink another animals milk. By eating more plants, you would also be consuming more antioxidants, which fight against cancers and improve the health of your cells. Going vegan has also been shown to reverse Type 2 diabetes and heart disease in some people. Going vegan also gives people more energy. That is why so many athletes and celebrities switch to a plant-based diet. Vegans can easily get all the nutrients they need, and despite contrary belief, plants have lots of protein. By switching to a vegan diet, you can improve your health by a long stretch. Now to the reason why most people go vegan – to save animals.

If you could live a life where you weren’t paying for someone to constantly kill animals, would you? I can’t answer that question for you, but I encourage you to think about it. For most people when a dog dies, it’s sad. And for some people when they hear that a cow died, it’s also sad. But those people are still consuming animal products that require thousands of animals to die each day. Lots of people would say that they love animals, but how can you say that you love animals while you’re responsible for their death and suffering when you eat animal products. I’ll give you a briefing on a cow’s life. Its born, it’s immediately taken away from its mother because they need the mother’s milk for human consumption rather than giving it to the calf who needs those nutrients. If it’s a male calf, it’s most likely going to either one of two places: a farm where it will get to grow up, although separated from its mother, living in close, dirty conditions its entire life, until it is slaughtered; or, it will be sent to a butcher right after it is born to be slaughtered for veal. If it’s a female cow, it’s most likely going to be sent to a dairy farm, where it will be repeatedly injected with hormones, have numerous offspring that it will never see, and live its life out in harsh conditions. All types of animals tied into the animal product industry experience lives like this.

Consider having to live this life for even a day. You are stuck in a small habitat. Most chickens have a living space the size of an ipad screen. You are only fed, so that you can produce products for others. You have to give up any children you would ever have. Last of all, you are just awaiting your inevitable slaughter. Belief that humans and animals deserve the same amount of compassion may not come to all people, but humans are animals, we are mammals. Having a steak, or milk, or eggs, is not worth the suffering that these animals go through. If I were to ask you why you wouldn’t go vegan, what would your answer be? You don’t have time? It’s too expensive? You need meat to live? Cows would overpopulate the earth? You love bacon or cheese to much? I’ve heard all of these. Being vegan does not necessarily take more time. It just takes a little more effort, but if you want to make a difference, it should not matter. Going vegan is not expensive and can actually be cheaper as long as you prioritize your diet on sustainable produce, rather than processed replacement foods. Meat is typically pretty hefty in expense. If you think about it, the cheapest things in the grocery store, are produce, beans, lentils, and rice.

When you eat a vegan diet, you can much more easily eat on a budget. Humans also do not need meat or animal products to live. Vegans do not all have nutrient deficiencies, and vegans actually tend to live longer lives than those who consume animal products. If you are concerned about nutrient deficiencies, you can talk to your doctor or a professional and they can reassure and help you. Animals from the industry would not overpopulate the earth either if we were to stop eating so much of these products. Animals are injected with hormones so that they reproduce offspring unnaturally and numerous more times than they would if they lived normally. Lastly, if you have a serious love for bacon and cheese, due to veganism growing popularity, there are so many alternative options that taste the exact same. At the point where we are in our society today, in technology and agriculture advancements, there is no reason why you can’t choose a nut cheese or plant-based milk, over products that come from animals.

Going vegan isn’t crazy. It’s not hard.. Going vegan is actually really simple. You have so many things you can eat, you just don’t eat things that come from animals. There is a stigma around vegans; that they are crazy, and believe in something that is not worth saving. But all that veganism is, is giving a chance to our planet, ourselves, and animals. Especially in today’s society where becoming vegan is more common, it is incredibly easy to switch to a vegan lifestyle. It’s understandable and would be unreasonable to not realize that certain things do not work for everyone. I’m not asking you to go vegan overnight. I just encourage you to think more about what is on your plate and how it affects our planet, your body, and other living beings. If you can make the connection between the food you eat, and where it comes from; then you can make a conscious decision on the lifestyle you want to live.

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