Eco-Conscious eating: The Connection Between Veganism and Climate Change

Veganism is a hot topic for discussion at the moment on social media. But what is veganism? Does it have an influence on the environment?

Unlike the vegetarians, who only eat food from vegetal origin, and don’t eat meat, a vegan person does not consume anything from animal origin, not only food. It can also be considered a political position. 

According to “The Vegan Society”, the group that created the term “veganism” in 1944 in the UK, “Veganism is a philosophy and way of life which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose and, by extension, that promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.”

Contrary to popular belief, the act of eating meat doesn’t affect just the animals, it also affects the environment. According to the Brazilian news paper, Brasil de fato,  livestock is responsible for over 80% deforestation in the rainforest in Brazil. Due to the great amount of consumerism of meat, especially red meat, the production has increased and in order to be able to expand the creation of livestocks, it causes deforestation.   

Deforestation causes great problems in the environment, like the loss of biodiversity and soil degradation. Most of it is caused by fire in the forest, caused by humans and not naturally. “Every 10 hectares of the rainforest, six become pasture, three are abandoned and one becomes agriculture” said Ima Vieira, a Brazilian researcher.

With veganism, the consumption of meat and animal origin products decreases a great amount and as a consequence, the deforestation and creation of livestock decrease too. 

Besides deforestation, cattle ranching is responsible for the emission of at least 50% of the greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide(CO2) and methane(CH4). Methane gas is produced and emitted due to enteric fermentation that occurs in the digestive process of cows. A bovine produces on average 220lbs (or 100kg) of methane per day. With the creation of livestocks, the production of this gas is very high. Carbon dioxide is also produced due to enteric fermentation that occurs in the digestive system of a cow.

Also, according to the UN (United Nations), the livestock industry is responsible for70% of the consumption of available water in the world. In case this percentage was reduced to 60%, it would be able to fuel the double of the human population. 

In conclusion, veganism helps to reduce climate change,the greenhouse effect and the waste of water. It goes beyond personal thinking, it helps the environment to get better. Just the reduction of the quantity of meat, especially red meat, and animal products helps in this cause. The tendency is that veganism will increase more in the future. It is not difficult to be vegan, according to popular belief. The only trick is to know how to substitute the nutrients that won’t be delivered to a vegan person’s body and to know how to substitute meat day by day, especially in meals.    


Spanish: Lourdes Molina

French: Maria Lafayete

Italian: Ana Prudente