#IWD21: Sharon Keilthy is on a mission to promote sustainable play

Eoin Higgins

5 essential supports for female entrepreneurs in Ireland

Erin Lindsay

#IWD21: Wildflowers and a candle will always be found close to Ruth Starrett

Dominique McMullan

The most explosive revelations from Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview

Holly O'Neill

The lingering gender pay gap: One woman’s expert advice on how to narrow it

Meg Walker

Inequality in women’s healthcare: why it happens, why it matters and what we can do...

Erin Lindsay

#IWD21: Alix Mulholland captures the scents of the Irish countryside

Eoin Higgins

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had no choice but to go on Oprah

Jennifer McShane

This Sandymount home with stylish interiors is on the market for €1.3 million

Megan Burns

Image / Editorial

Is Veganism As Environmentally Friendly As We Think?

by Lauren Heskin
06th Aug 2016

Veganism is become something of a ‘buzz’ word in recent times, a way of eating that returns to our hunter-gather ancestry. Essentially veganism cuts out all animal product, including by-product like milk, eggs and cheese, for a vegetable-driven, leaner diet. Celebrities like Liam Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Ellen DeGeneres and Kate and Rooney Mara have all spoken about?how much stronger they’ve felt since becoming vegan.

But it’s not just about a healthier food regime, veganism also has ethical connotations: vegans do not eat or buy any product that may have been produced through animal?exploitation?or cruelty. You’ve seen vegan makeup and fashion lines popping up everywhere and if you’ve ever watched the documentary?Cowspiracy, you’ll know just how damaging animal farming can be to our environment. Ask any friend who has become vegan and they’ll usually sight ethical reasons for their decision. And it is undoubtedly more ethical than an omnivore diet and their pursuit it absolutely one to be admired – this coming from someone who can’t watch any animal in pain and shivers at the sight of roadkill, yet happily tucks into a burger. Veganism has serious merit and should not be brushed aside as a ‘fad diet’.

But questions are now being raised over exactly?how?environmentally friendly is veganism? A recent study published in?Elementa looked at seven different diets – one vegan, one vegetarian including dairy and eggs, one vegetarian with dairy, and four omnivore diets of varying degrees of vegetarianism and healthiness. It compared the amount of farmland required per year to produce food for each diet and discovered that, yes, a vegetarian-leaning diet requires much less land and therefore is more sustainable. But veganism actually wastes land that is?unable to cultivate crops – i.e. land that is ideal for animal rearing – and less-fertile croplands used specifically?for growing grains to feed livestock. As a result, because there is a finite amount of soil that can facilitate vegetable growth on earth, veganism could only feed 737 million people. This compares to a vegetarian dairy-friendly diet that could feed 807 million as it works land rendered useless by veganism.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.54.00

Now it’s worth noting here that the typical omnivore diet could only feed 402 million people so veganism DOES reduce human impact on the earth…. Just surprisingly not as much as vegetarians who like a drop of milk in their tea. It also depends on what you think “environmentally friendly” means – is it about extending human life on earth or is it about what’s really best for the planet? Hint: we are not good for planet earth, we’re carbon’dioxide?creating fossil fuel burning nihilists.

So if you’re a vegan who sometimes craves a toasted cheese sandwich, it’s okay to give in. So long as your diet is healthy and predominantly plant-based, you’re doing the whole world a favour. And perhaps those of you, like myself, who are considering going veggie but can’t quite give up eggs and brie – a little goes a long way towards sustainable farming.

Also Read

Covid crying
Tears, fears and tissues: The 5 types of Covid crying we’re all by now familiar with

It goes without saying that most of us have had...

By Edaein OConnell

The grown up guide to wearing glitter lips

If Tom Ford, Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel and Nars tell you...

By Holly O'Neill

Elizabeth Day
Elizabeth Day: ‘Life is full of failure. But it’s never too late to change your life’

Failure is a natural element of the cycle of life....

By Jennifer McShane

5 uplifting Netflix picks that will absolutely bring you joy

For a lift, reminding us of simpler times, and that...

By Jennifer McShane

Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky will soon get to talk of scandal on her terms

It was on this day, January 17th, 1998, when news...

By Jennifer McShane

Aoibheann MacNamara
Inside a house conversion brimming with Scandi-Galwegian chic

Artistic dynamo Aoibheann MacNamara has loved every moment she’s spent...

By IMAGE Interiors & Living

GoFundMe CEO: ‘Ireland is the most generous nation in the world’

These days, it’s easier than ever to give something back....

By Jennifer McShane

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako