Is Greta Thunberg Vegan?

Posted by on April 22, 2020 | Permalink

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Greta Thunberg is the voice of a generation. Determined to bring the colossal threat of climate change to the forefront of global conversation, politics, and decision-making, she continues to inspire people and movements, including the headline-grabbing Extinction Rebellion.

Aware of animal agriculture’s large carbon footprint, the climate activist eats vegan herself, and she challenges those around her to follow her lead.

In a recent interview, Greta explained that she persuaded her parents to go vegan by stressing that their refusal to make the easy switch was stealing her generation’s future. Her dad is now fully vegan, while her mum is 90% of the way there.

Why Greta Wants Us to Go Vegan

Climate Change

You can’t be a meat-eating environmentalist. The fishing, meat, dairy, and egg industries aren’t just relentlessly cruel to animals – they’re also a nightmare for the environment.

Sir David Attenborough has said the following about climate change:

“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Animal agriculture is responsible for a greater proportion (14 to 18%) of global greenhouse-gas emissions than all transportation (which accounts for 13.5%, including air travel) according to the United Nations’ Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock report.

Another report by the United Nations – Livestock’s Long Shadow – states that raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. The situation is so dire that the United Nations is calling for urgent and unprecedented changes now, including changing our diet, to limit the catastrophic damage caused by climate change.

(We use the exact titles of the reports here for reference, though of course, “livestock” is a speciesist term that should never be used to describe animals, who have personalities and feelings.)

Researchers at the University of Oxford found that going vegan could reduce our carbon footprint from food by up to 73%, resulting in a significant drop in greenhouse-gas emissions.

The study’s lead author, Joseph Poore, states the following:

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth …. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.”

Scientists agree that all plant-based foods have a lower carbon footprint than any animal-derived “products”, so the easiest way to slow down climate change immediately is to go vegan.

Life on Earth

Exploiting animals for their milk, flesh, and eggs is pushing our natural environment and life on Earth to its limits. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 states that 60% of wild-animal populations have been lost since the 1970s.

WWF identified habitat loss as the main cause of animals’ extinction.

Wild animals are running out of space to live in and are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Despite this crisis, humans are still razing some of the most species-rich areas on Earth – including rainforests in South America – in order to graze cows or grow soya that is fed to cows, chickens, sheep, and pigs. One-third of the Earth’s land surface is used for animal agriculture, and if we all stopped eating meat and dairy, global farmland use could be reduced by 75%.

Water Footprint

As if its violence towards animals and environmental destruction weren’t enough, animal agriculture also has a shocking water footprint. Meat-eaters are responsible, on average, for the use of 15,000 litres of water a day.

While it takes about 1,790 litres of water to grow 1 kilogram of wheat, you’d need to use more than five times more water for 1 kilogram of beef. It takes the equivalent of 50 bathtubs full of water to produce just one steak.

It’s not only meat production that wastes water, either. It takes 72% more water to produce a litre of cows’ milk than it does to produce the same amount of soya milk.

Using this much water unnecessarily at such an alarming rate harms the planet and us, but going vegan drastically changes the numbers. By eating plant-based, we reduce our water footprint by nearly 60%.

With all this in front of us, the question isn’t why Greta is vegan but why everyone else isn’t, too.

What You Can Do for Animals and the Planet

As individuals, the best thing we can do for animals and the planet is to go vegan. Not eating meat, eggs, or dairy is the simplest way for each person to spare the lives of nearly 200 animals every year – and to reject the daily cruelty that occurs in abattoirs and on factory farms in the UK and elsewhere. To help you get started, order a free vegan starter kit full of tips and advice for every part of your journey.