Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Vegan Offsetting

It is quite easy to feel powerless when we have a huge task ahead of us such as the incredible challenge of minimising the damage from manmade climate change. It’s difficult to believe that we can actually make a difference or that all our efforts do matter.
Other times, we find that we are already doing everything in our power to help or that other more beneficial measures are out of our control, like living in a rented flat with no insulation and no double-glazing.
However, there is one thing that is fairly straight forward, reasonably easy, cheap and that is completely under our control; that is avoiding meat and dairy products.
From a more honest and slightly radical point of view, it is inconceivable that there are still people that care deeply for the environment, but who still eat meat and dairy. Last year I met an ecologist who lives in the Amazon and has worked all his life against deforestation. His message was clear; the forest is being cut for pasture or soya to feed animals. He told me lots of destitute people living in the depths of the rainforest dream of the day they will own a piece of land, raise some cattle and pocket the money from that valuable commodity. Those dreams are only dreamt because there is a demand.
But it’s not just about the deforestation. Cattle is directly responsible for methane emissions, a gas 23 times more potent than CO2. Animals bred for food are responsible for more emissions that the world’s transportation combined. If you take all steps of the process into account: breeding animals, transporting them, slaughtering, refrigerating the flesh/milk, etc; one calorie of meat protein uses ten calories of fossil fuels, releasing more than ten times as much carbon dioxide as one calorie of plant protein.
Tomorrow, November 1st, is World Vegan Day. At Lush, we’ve done an internal campaign where staff signed up to go vegan for a day. Many are going vegan for the whole week and hopefully some will stay like that. About 4% of Lush staff are vegan, ten times more than the national average.
It’s been published, by the University of Chicago, that being vegan saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year (more than giving up your car and the same as three medium-haul flights). So let’s say 500 Lush staff go vegan for one day, that’s roughly 2 tonnes of carbon saved there. If they remained vegan for a year, collectively we would save 750 tonnes of carbon, more than a year’s worth of Lush flights!
So there you go, an easy way of making a contribution to the Planet, to animals, to the forest and to your health!


Crafty Green Poet said...

Excellent post, I'm almost a vegan, very rarely use milk or eggs but I do like cheese and yoghurt but I'm working on it.

mocap said...

I thought this was a wonderful post, as a vegan, with alot of people, even those close to me not understanding my reasoning behind it.. This helped! You guys keep impressing me again and again *grin*