Dear Vegans, you are Not Saving the World

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By Karim Aziz Oghly

Veganism seems to be understood, by those adopting it, as a gateway to writing “Planet Saver” in their social media biographies. This is targeted towards those thinking they are saving the planet. Those who claim to be saving the world can tend to look down on those that refuse to adopt their ways of life as if they are lesser, or weaker beings. 

Admittedly, according to Arjen Hoekstra, a professor at the University of Twente, the animal-product industry accounts for one-third of water usage. With freshwater already being scarce and slowly depleting, a change in consumption habits is vital to our continued survival. I am not here to say that veganism is a poor choice of lifestyle; it is not. Yet asking the entirety of the world’s population to ultimately ax animal-products from their lives is too hefty of a request. Not only will cultural differences likely intervene, but the primary obstacle is the inherent stubbornness of humans. After all, how can the entire world forget and leave behind classic cheeseburgers and move onto Beyond Meats? 

An argument that seems to have been lost in the flurry of environmental angst is the concept of simple reduction. Outright stopping our consumption of meats is likely to cause an imbalance in existing ecosystems due to humans being natural predators. Let’s go back to basic biology classes. If one were to remove a predator from an ecosystem, what they once preyed on will flourish and overpopulate that ecosystem, causing an imbalance. So, we as a population of humans who have preyed on the meat industry for centuries cannot completely stop our consumption of meats. By simply reducing our consumption of animal products, we can avoid an imbalance and reduce the need for massive agricultural projects that account for so much water usage.