January is back around and for many of us this means a fresh attempt at maybe a healthier outlook on life after the overindulgence of Christmas. Many of us will be taking up a new exercise routine to shake off those Christmas calories, some will quit drinking for a while but this January many people will try Veganuary! But what is Veganuary?
Veganuary is a UK nonprofit organisation that encourages people to go vegan for the first month of the year as a way to promote and educate about a vegan lifestyle. Since the event began in 2014 participation has more than doubled each year.
So what does it mean to be Vegan?
Well, it can be quite complex, but here is how Wikipedia describes it:
“Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. A follower of the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan. Distinctions may be made between several categories of veganism. Dietary vegans (also known as “strict vegetarians”) refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances. An ethical vegan (also known as a “moral vegetarian”) is someone who not only follows a vegan diet but extends the philosophy into other areas of their lives, and opposes the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is “environmental veganism”, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.” You can continue to read the Wikipedia article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism
Recent reports suggest that going vegan is one way we could help with climate change, and as we know, the climate emergency has been at the top of the news agenda throughout 2019. The Guardian reports that animal agriculture uses around 70% of agricultural land, and is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. They also report that 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk which is the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. So cutting down on meat consumption can go along way to reducing the effects of climate change. However veganism goes far beyond just diet as a law has been recently passed in the UK that protects ethical veganism under UK equality laws!