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Is Going Vegan the Answer?



The adoption of a plant-based vegan diet has been increasing for the last two years, along with the increase in awareness of climate change. Veganism itself is defined as a practice in which the person excludes all animal products in their diet. There are several reasons someone chose to no longer consume meats, dairy, eggs, or other animal products, such as due to religious reasons, ethical reasons, or environmental reasons.


Adopting a plant-based diet is often chosen to help save the environment. While excluding the animal-based food due to religious and ethical reasons is indisputable, there is always the question of whether going vegan helps the environment.


The research conducted in the UK shows that on average, with the same nutritional and caloric intake a high-meat diet could have average greenhouse gas (GHG) emission 2.5 times higher than the vegan diet. While reducing meat will also reduce GHG emissions, going vegan is not the sole answer to being sustainable. As conscious consumers, we have to know how our food is being produced to be able to decide whether the production is sustainable or not.


For example, by choosing locally grown food straight from the local farmers rather than buying imported vegetables we would be able to cut the gas emission that is emitted by the transportation process. Eating food that are in season can also help increase the sustainability because it reduces the need of importing foods. Aside from eating locally grown food, cutting down the market chain can also help. By cutting down the number of intermediaries between our farmers to us, we can help the farmers gain more income.


Animals are also beneficial in processing resources that otherwise would be waste. While industrialized meat production is surely emits high amount of GHG, there are also sustainably produced animal-based food. For example, chicken can process the food waste and lay eggs that could be consumed. Livestock can also process straws or grasses and produces milk and meat. Animals can also be integrated to crop production, such as integrating ducks in rice production. By introducing ducks as pest control, the farmers can cut down pesticide use. The ducks can also produce eggs that could be consumed.


The main key in reducing the carbon footprint of our diet is to know which plant-based food and which animal-based food that causes environmental problems. As for now, I don’t think I could dedicate myself completely to consume plant-based food only, however I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint by reducing the animal-based food intake and supporting local farmers.


So, how about you, have you ever think to go vegan? I would like to know your story!


Scarborough, P., Appleby, P. N., Mizdrak, A., Briggs, A. D., Travis, R. C., Bradbury, K. E., & Key, T. J. (2014). Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Climatic change, 125(2), 179–192. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1


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I've been a vegan for almost 5 months now. But I also don't think going vegan is the only answer to live sustainably, but it's an option how you contribute to sustainability within numerous ways to do so. I believe It's always good to start with what you can in your own environment and situation! Enjoyed your blog:) Thanks for sharing!😊

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Sarah Wibisono
Sarah Wibisono
Jul 23, 2021

Currently, I'm avoiding red meat and it's been half a year that I dont eat any food that contains red meat 😀

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sitiindriani
sitiindriani
Jul 23, 2021

When I lived in Melbourne, I think I was a vegan for one or two weeks each month. I didn't do that on purpose. Simply, I was too lazy to go to an Asian store or butcher where was far from my apartment. So, I bought vegetables or fruits from the nearest stores. I am lactose intolerant, so I can't drink milk, yoghurt, or cheese. I have many Indian or Srilankan friends who are vegan and joined the Sustainability community, so I started to think about carbon footprint and other things.

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cynthiaismail
cynthiaismail
Jul 23, 2021

I never think I'd go vegan as I am omnivore by nature :P but for health, local empowerment and environment as you shared we indeed need to balance this. Thanks for sharing!

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Finding the best diet in terms of the environmental impacts and optimal health benefits has been my ongoing journey for years. The number of research papers I read and Joe Rogan podcasts I watched, innumerable. I dislike the word flexitarian, but I can't claim to be vegetarian in front of the community. When I was strict about it, I used to track my macro/micronutrients with Cronometer and I find it terrible to calculate the amount of tempe/tofu or kale to fulfill my daily dose of protein or zinc. So then I still prefer to occasionally eat fish, than to purchase Omega 3, B12 pills or protein powder. Also, vegan protein powder puts a dent in my bank account. Because research…

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cynthiaismail
cynthiaismail
Jul 23, 2021
Replying to

yeah, I thought a continuation from Clarissa 😅 looking forward to your sharing about this!

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