The issues that we are talking about are constantly changing, and they influence our common parlance. When it comes to conversations considered as environment-related, “single-use,” “plastic products,” and “veganism” were words that have gotten more popular during these last few years. So much so that Collins Dictionary included the terms in its 2018 list of notable words.
We can all agree that we see these three terms everywhere. Of course, it’s a good thing, especially with the current climate crisis. These things we used to hear about passively are now be getting more attention. By all means, this trend should continue. Among these three terms, it’s veganism that’s attracting a lot of attention and some divisive opinions.
Some experts believe veganism contributes to lessening the greenhouse emissions from the meat industry. Consequently, it lessens our carbon footprint and slows down the world from approaching the tipping point of the climate crisis. Some think it’s barely making any significant impact. Whatever the truth is, one thing is for sure: veganism has influenced many things, especially how companies and the way they do their businesses.
If you disagree with that statement, think back to the last time you were at a breakfast-lunch café or a restaurant. Their menu probably had a selection solely for vegans. That’s because, whether you agree or not, vegans have made quite an impact in the modern world we occupy.
What Is Veganism?
By now, most of us already know what veganism means. But, if you still get confused if it’s slang of some sort for vegetarianism, let’s do a quick clarification. Veganism is a more extreme form of vegetarianism. The latter still consume eggs, honey, and dairy products, while the former omits all kinds of products from animals from their diets and lifestyles.
Most vegans attribute their decision to exclude animal products to environmental, ethical, and health reasons. Besides their diet, other aspects of their lifestyles that are affected by their veganism are the clothes they wear and don’t wear and their choice of cosmetic products if their production included animal cruelty and exploitation in the equation.
A Short History of Veganism
It was in 1994 when veganism was officially coined, albeit the term’s recent rise in mainstream consciousness. But, the practice of avoiding any animal products predates the first recorded use of it. It possibly even started as far back as ancient Indian times between 3300 – 1300 BCE.
People with plant-based diets are slowly growing, and as of January 2021, there are approximately 79 million vegans worldwide. That may sound like a considerable number of people, but against the world’s total population, it’s only 1%. But, projections based on current trends show that 1 in 10 people would be vegans in the next ten years.
The Impact of Veganism on the World
The demand for meat is declining based on 2021 data, but the meat industry’s future is tricky to predict since the numbers fluctuate every year. For now, it is safe to say that meat consumption has dropped to its lowest levels in ten years as per figures from the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization.
The presence of veganism in the modern world is evident, not just in places we go to dine. In supermarkets, it’s common to find an aisle dedicated to selling vegan alternatives to meat and other products that we used to get from animals, like milk.
Even beauty products are offering vegan or cruelty-free products. It doesn’t mean that these cosmetic brands are selling tofu-based lipsticks. It just means that no animals were tested onto to create their products. Unfortunately, around 80% of existing cosmetic companies still test on animals, but with ethical consumption gaining momentum, this practice will soon be outdated.
The fashion industry, which is semi-related to the cosmetic industry, was never safe from the war for a more ethical life and cruelty-free lifestyle that vegans are waging. Because of the biggest names in the fashion world and their usage of animal products like leather, wool, pearl, and fur, the vegan community voiced their protests and called them out for their cruel practices. As a result, vegan fashion and sustainable fashion are booming.
The Future Is Vegan
Criticisms and baseless myths against veganism are also never-ending. But that’s another topic for another day. Meanwhile, let’s focus on a more positive note: veganism is influencing businesses big time, and it’s seeping into our lifestyles. Even if, in the bigger picture, veganism has barely made a dent in the modern world, the movement doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Predictably, veganism will continue to rise alongside sustainability. Let’s be hopeful for that future and that we will all still be here to witness it.