Let’s start by talking about Veganuary. Veganuary is, in essence, a non-profit organisation encouraging people from around the world to become vegan for the whole month of January and beyond, a pledge similar to that of ‘Movember’ and ‘Dry January’. In the year of 2019, over 250,000 pledged to become vegan for the month, with almost all of them recommending friends and family to do the same. As part of the new decade, Veganuary has seen a large increase in the number of people involved and the number of people willing to participate. However, such extreme dietary change is not for everyone as Katie Leaver discusses in a Metro article. She is pledging not to do Veganuary, to protect her mental health and her recently overcome eating disorder. There are limitations to how much people can do and in no way should you put yourself in a state of unwell and distress.
There is a less drastic alternative. People are incorporating vegan meals into their diet once a week in order to become more sustainable. This concept is based on a social enterprise in Hong Kong called Green Mondays, with aims to create a philosophy of plant-based meals once a week and to tackle global food security, climate change and other important issues. ‘Flexitarian’ as it is now being called, is this idea that allows people to incorporate as much or as little dietary change as they want.
As part of the emphasis towards Veganuary, many global fast-food chains have introduced their own vegan alternatives. From a consumer standpoint, this is fantastic! Something that might get the kids on board with eating a more sustainable diet, and a convenient, easier alternative to many other vegan options. But, for me, this creates a bit of an oxymoron. Can you support the vegan options of fast food chains who are to blame for major deforestation in the Amazon rainforest? Can you eat vegan options from these establishments that are responsible for up to 10% of global water usage? As a vegan, can you enjoy these alternatives at a restaurant that kills millions of animals every day? This is an incredibly difficult situation and maybe one that shouldn’t be the battle of the consumer, rather a fight for another group. It’s important to think about yourself and what you can achieve in becoming more sustainable.
Personally, I have been attempting to incorporate a ‘Flexitarian’ diet, even if it is only one meal a week. I have found difficulty in finding alternatives that I enjoy, but that does not mean that I will give up. I am, however, finding more success and self-satisfaction in finding more sustainable products and alternatives, not necessarily vegan options, to incorporate into my diet. Small changes that will in turn hopefully make a big difference. We are now into 2020, and Climate Change is happening now. So, is that enough?
I want to leave some final questions for open discussion, in hopes that people can collaborate their own ideas and maybe introduce some to the community.
Are you participating in Veganuary or changing your diet to be more sustainable?
How are you incorporating sustainable food choices into your life?
As a consumer, should we incorporate the impact of the company into our dietary decisions?
Do you think what you are doing is enough?