To mark World Vegan month that takes place every November we thought we’d dedicate some space to look at what it means to be vegan, and why many people who choose to be a vegan believe it is the best and quickest way to save the planet.
While a vegetarian diet is becoming more common, even in southern Spain, veganism is still considered a much more radical lifestyle choice. Yet some of the arguments for a vegan diet are compelling, and for those of us concerned about the state of the planet, a lot of the information is hard to ignore. Vegans will not eat or use any product that is derived from animals, and so goes beyond changing their diet. It not only includes avoiding any food from animals – meat, dairy, honey and so on – but also not wearing leather clothes or using animals for entertainment. While many state that they choose to be vegan because of compassion for animals, there are important environmental reasons as well that become clear when we look at some statistics from the meat industry. Animal husbandry accounts for more CO² emissions than all of the world’s transport combined, a massive 18% of the total, yet it is cars and planes that get all the attention. 60% of deforestation is directly linked to agriculture – huge areas of rain forest are being cleared for raising farm animals – either for grazing or for growing feed for animals. Our demand for meat, and increasingly the emerging world’s requirements, is simply not sustainable – we cannot feed the world’s population on a predominantly meat based diet. Helen Holroyd of Marbella´s vegan restaurant, The Loving Hut, is quick to explain that a vegan diet does not mean doing without: “If people need those ‘meaty’ food experiences, there is very little we cannot create using soya-based products. For vegetarians we can make quiches and cakes without using any dairy products at all.” UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon famously said that if people could be vegetarian for one day a week we would be taking a big step to ease the burden on our world. With the world population reaching 7 billion, and these issues becoming ever more pressing, why not take our vegetarian / vegan challenge below and make your contribution to a better world, while raising money for a worthy cause.
Sustainable Eating & Veggie / Vegan Challenge
The Vervet Monkey Foundation in Tzaneen is looking for people to help raise money for their sanctuary where they currently look after over 570 orphaned, injured, abused, ex-laboratory vervet monkeys. They are looking for meat-eaters to go vegetarian for one month and vegetarians to go vegan. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.vervet.za.org for more details.
Dec 3: Vegan festival Barcelona
AVE – Asociacion vegano Española – www.ivu.org/ave/
The vegan Society – www.vegansociety.com
The Loving Hut – http://marbella.lovinghut.es/
Arboretum Marbella – www.arboretummarbella.org
This post is also available in: Spanish