Is living vegan better for our environment?

We both love meat. Chicken, beef and others. We want to show you the consequences of eating meat and how the meat production affects our environment. We are sure that not everything that happens in production is clear to all people who eat meat.

Why going vegan?

For the environment 

We are all aware of ways to live a greener life. If it’s recycling our household rubbish or going to work by bike, we all can do something. But one of the most effective things a person can do, is avoiding products from animals.

Why is meat so bad for the environment? 

The amount of the things required for the meat production is enormous. It starts with the water and crops required to feed the animals, then the transport and other processes which are involved from farm to fork. The enormous amount of grain feed required for meat production is a huge factor of the deforestation in Brazil. In Brazil, there are 5.6 million acres of land where they grow soya beans for Animals in Europe. This land is developing day for day. It’s very sad to see the forest’s burn down.

For a vegan life, a lower amount of water and harvest will be required, which would reduce our impact on the environment massively.

Land 

Every year, gigantic areas of rainforest are cleared for soybean cultivation in Brazil, for example. The lion’s share of the harvest, 75%, is then processed into animal feed. Switzerland imports more than 300,000 tons of soy as feed for chickens, pigs and cows every year. The percentage of soybeans used for products such as tofu or soy milk is also negligible. In addition, the soy for direct human consumption usually comes from organic production and from European cultivation.

In addition to the loss of biodiversity and the displacement of indigenous peoples, the destruction of the rainforest means enormous damage to our climate: Because a healthy rainforest is one of the most effective CO2 sinks that exist. The many plants and especially the ground vegetation store the CO2 present in the air and thus reduce the concentration in the atmosphere. If they are cleared, exactly these amounts of CO2 escape again through burning and act as greenhouse gases.

data source: selfmade, informations from vegan.ch

Water 

Drinking water is already a scarce resource in large parts of the world – and we are partly to blame. It does not matter how long you shower or how often you bathe, because this water comes from the region and we have enough. But water is also used for you without you noticing it: for one kilo of beef (= approx. 1000 kcal), for example, over 400 liters of drinking water. Not because the beef drinks so much. The cultivation of the feed devours 98%. And since we import animal feed from the southern part of the world every year, we make drinking water even scarcer where there is already too little. Also with Swiss meat.

data source: selfmade, informations from vegan.ch

Air

Choosing your food has a huge impact on the environment. According to the United Nations’ agricultural organization, livestock farming produces more greenhouse gases than global traffic – that is, all cars, trucks, ships and planes combined. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that farm animals devour enormous amounts of feed. In addition, the stomachs of ruminants produce methane that is 23 times more climate-effective than CO2. This means that not only meat has a bad carbon footprint, but also cheese, butter and eggs. For a person in Switzerland, nutrition is the second largest item in terms of environmental pollution.

data source: selfmade, informations from vegan.ch

Why we should eat meat

Important nutrients

Meat contains many nutrients. Of course, there are numerous studies that show that eating too much meat can make you sick. In principle, however, the applies to all food. It is also a fact that moderate meat consumption is perfectly healthy. Meat contains the valuable minerals iron and zinc. No food covers the body’s iron needs as well as meat. Iron ensures that oxygen is transported to the cells. Meat is also an excellent source of protein and the important vitamin B 12 is only found in animal products.

Even the ancestors ate meat 

Eating meat is an inherent human habit. The question of whether humans are carnivores, herbivores or omnivores is an ongoing issue. Vegetarians like to argue that the anatomy of the human digestive system, as well as the lack of fangs and claws, prove that humans are born plant-eaters. A scientific study speaks against this: Researchers from the University of Arkansas have found bite marks and animal bones that can be traced back to the genus Homo, an ancestor of modern humans, who lived 2.5 million years ago.

A sensual pleasure

Eating meat is a sensual delight. It’s actually a banal argument – but meat simply tastes and smells good. The inimitable taste and smell of meat is a sensual experience: barbecue smell in summer, Sunday roast at the family festival, the hearty snack with sausage on a mountain tour. These are experiences that no meat eater wants to miss. No other food that can be prepared in so many flavours and in so many different ways.

A filler 

Meat is easy to roast. It has excellent properties for quickly and tastefully satisfying a family’s hunger. Thanks to the many nutrients contained in meat, moderate consumption makes healthy eating extremely easy. You don’t have to worry about the vitamin and mineral intake. And to roast a delicious schnitzel or to take a sausage sandwich, nobody has to take a cooking class. Meat in the pan also makes men cook in the best sense.

If meat, then high quality

Ethically correct meat consumption is easier than ever today. With all the positive properties that meat undoubtedly has, there is also no question that the conditions in industrial factory farming should not be supported. Every meat consumer should be aware of their responsibility towards farm animals and act accordingly. Nowadays it is possible to buy high quality meat outside of industrial mass production without any great problems. Don’t be afraid to pay a visit to the farm where your meat comes from. A good meat producer should have nothing to hide.

Living vegan for 1 week

In my holidays, I did something that I never would have expected to do. For one whole week, I only ate non-animal food.

Usually, I eat at least one time a day meat and one snack a day which contains milk. So it was a very rough start.

I made a plan with all the things I wanted to eat at home so I can go and buy it. I went to the migros and coop, bought everything and noticed, that living vegan is very expensive. The brand ‘vegan’ in the migros supermarket is pretty sure 50% more expensive than the other brands. The problem is, that there were not a lot of vegan brands, so I focused on this brand. For example, soya milk, costs  2 swiss francs.

My plan:

Monday
Breakfast: vegan cornflakes with soya milk
Lunch: corn nature nuggets with rösti fries
Dinner: valafel with hummus
Snacks: cashews, yoghurt

Tuesday
Breakfast: protein bread with jelly
Lunch: gnocchi with sauce
Dinner: vegetables soup
Snacks: preussen, pistachios

Wednesday
Breakfast: cornflakes with soya milk
Lunch: burger with freekeh salad
Dinner: spinach schnitzel
Snacks: salt bezels, spelled coconut cookies

Thursday
Breakfast: protein bread with jelly
Lunch: Hiltl Zurich, vegan soja steak
Dinner: falafel with hummus
Snacks: nuts

Friday
Breakfast: nothing
Lunch: rice avocado bowl with beans
inner: chili fries
Snacks: cookies

Saturday
Breakfast: nothing
Lunch: burger with country potatoes
Dinner: girasoli with spinach und tomato soup
Snacks: chips

Sunday
Breakfast: nothing
Lunch: Marktküche Zurich, Gnocchi
Dinner: rice avocado bowl
Snacks: cashews

It was a special week but I probably won’t repeat that. The most things i ate weren’t good. They had a bad aftertaste.

It’s really expensive, for adults not that big problem but for young people for sure!

Are plant-based meats healthier for you?

Ther are more and more options that are getting created to replace meat. Most of the times pretty expensive and not really tasty. This is a short video of a Medicine dietant. She talks about that those opions. Take a look.

Source: youtube.com/UW Medicine

Conclusion

It wasn’t an easy project. We had a rough start, Cem was ill for 4 weeks but we kept on.

It is very interesting, how the meat production effects our earth. I will for sure reduce my meat consumption. I can’t just not eat meat anymore, I like it too much. But maybe in the future.

There is definitely something that need’s to be done. The whole world needs to take care of that big problem.

We can totally understand people that do not eat meat. Harming the animals is one thing, but destroying our environment with it is another big thing.

Mohamed Abou El Hawa & Cem Durdu

Sources: vegan.ch
Some texts originate from vegan.ch and have been translated into English

Video:   youtube.com/UW Medicine
picture: selfmade
graph’s: data source: selfmade, data from vegan.ch

On-topic posts on dontwastemy.energy
The Beef Cycle
What are the standards for Swiss organic meat? Are those better than in the EU?

Chicken consumption

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

9 thoughts on “Is living vegan better for our environment?

  1. Hey I really like your article. You are talking about a current topic concering the global warming. The consumption of meat is indeed one of the major problems. You took facts from trustworthy sources and expanded your article with your own ideas including an experiment. The diagrams are pretty meaningful and easy to read and understand. What I like especially, is that you draw its conclusion and you are trying to improve yourself by consume less meat than before and contribute your part to safe the environment.

  2. I liked your post. It was very clear to read and I think it’s very good that you are not vegan yourself. So you were able to write and implement the project from a neutral point of view. It also has a more sympathetic effect on a reader who also eats meat and could convince him more of a vegan lifestyle. However, I think that you used a little bit too much foreign words, which are difficult to understand.

  3. This is a very interesting report and an important step for the future and its environment. I liked, that you just want to do a step in the right direction by eating less meat instead of going vegan directly. However, we have to atleast care about what we eat, which is done with doing reports like this.

  4. I really like your article, it’s a very interesting topic!
    The fact that you’ve made an experiment by only eating vegan for a week is amazing.
    The structure of the different categories; gives the reader a nice overview and makes the article pleasing to read. You could probably write about so many more categories but I like that you’ve focused on these.
    Your post made me think about living vegan

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