But what really is veganism? Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. There are different reasons why people go vegan but the philosophy behind veganism is always the same. It could either be for the environment, for the animals, for one's religion or for one's health. But for whatever reason we have for going vegan, it will surely benefit the world or us in one way or another.
My journey to a compassionate lifestyle started in 2004. I have always been an activist. I have always wanted to rebel against the society and against the things that I saw wrong with it. At that point in 2004, I was becoming some sort of a fledgling environmentalist going from one activism to another. Then I happened upon this environmental organisation called Greenpeace. Now, I can't remember exactly what the event was for anymore but that changed my life forever. I was talking to a man telling him that I was an environmentalist. I was so proud of myself because I felt like I was doing a good thing in such a young age. But boy, I got schooled. His words were, 'You will never be a true environmentalist unless you go vegan.' He didn't elaborate or explained further. So I went home and did several research about veganism and its connection to environmental degradation. I was surprised then appalled of what I was reading. It was, at that time, an information overload. I didn't know that since I was an infant, from the moment my parents fed me cow's milk to the day that I had been reading all the information that I was one of the cause of environmental destruction. The truth hurts, as they say. Ultimately, I found out what that Greenpeace activist meant when he said I would never be a true environmentalist if I didn't go vegan. I have learned that the greenhouse gas emission of the dairy and meat industry far exceed that of the greenhouse gas emission of all the cars combined worldwide.
The heavy impact on the environment of meat production was known but the research shows a new scale and scope of damage, particularly for beef. The popular red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.
Agriculture is a significant driver of global warming and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock. Furthermore, the huge amounts of grain and water needed to raise cattle is a concern to experts worried about feeding an extra 2 billion people by 2050. But previous calls for people to eat less meat in order to help the environment, or preserve grain stocks, have been highly controversial.'
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also put emphasis on the environmental benefits of going vegan which you can read here.
I believe that going vegan for the environment has been the best thing I have ever done in my whole life. Knowing that I have the power to change myself and contribute to the betterment of the world is liberating. I want to do more for the world. I want to do more in Davao City. To educated and inform people that the power to change the world is within their reach and they can do it now.
Although I have become a vegan for environmental preservation. Animal liberation has become one of the driving force why I do what I do. I have done so much research in the past and watched so many documentaries that for me to want to eat animals would just make the person I would never be proud of now or in the years to come. My principles are unbending. I believe in kindness and compassion to all beings, no exemptions - be it a beggar on the street or a stray animal in need. The best thing about this lifestyle aside from not contributing to the monstrosity in this world is the health benefits that come after. I feel more energetic and healthier than ever.
Going vegan has been the easiest thing to do so far, it is the 'educating' part that's difficult. I know that it's hard to encourage people to go vegan in a city where meat-eating is a culture but I truly believe that with proper education, we will get there. We can all be vegan not only for the environment's sake, but also for the animals' and our health.
How about you? Why did you go vegan? Why are you transitioning? I would love to hear your story!