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A vegan diet: Am I making a difference as an individual?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." Everyone is probably familiar with this quote from Mahatma Gandhi. The reason why it is so well-known and popular is probably because it reflects the meaning of life for many of us. We all want to make a difference and make the world a better place through our presence. But can I as an individual make a difference at all?

Why you make the difference

Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Greta Thunberg - as different as the spheres of influence of these people are and were, they have one thing in common: their personalities and their actions have changed the world. Throughout history and today, there are numerous examples of how individuals have inspired people and brought about fundamental change.

However, not all of us are born to be charismatic do-gooders or have the desire to devote our entire lives to a cause. But we don't need to, because even our everyday actions make a difference. As consumers, we make decisions every day and determine whether we are part of a solution or part of the problem. No one wants to support a system that causes millions of people to suffer and ruins our planet. Yet the decisions we make every day when we shop keep this system going. One reason for this is that many people are unaware of what goes on in the food industry - especially in the production of animal-based foods. On the other hand, in our culture it is considered normal and natural to eat animal products. We have grown up with it and have developed habits over time that are not questioned.

Through education and information, an awareness of health and sustainability is developing. More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of a plant-based diet every day and the vegan diet has become part of everyday life. Whether it's the growing number of meat substitutes or the numerous recipes on the internet, giving up animal products is easier than ever and no longer associated with restriction and deprivation. It is therefore important that our choices bring about a change in supply and prevent our food production from continuing to destroy the environment and enable factory farming.

What you achieve with a vegan diet

With a world population of almost 8 billion people, it's hard to believe that your choices make a difference. But the following facts from the documentary Cowspiracy prove that it really does.

If you choose a vegan diet, you produce 50% less carbon dioxide, use 11x less oil, 13x less water and 18x less land than a meat eater. Every day you save 4,164 liters of water and 20.4 kg of grain. You save 2.78 square kilometers of forest and the life of an animal. Extrapolated over a year, that's 365 animal lives.

These figures illustrate not only that you as an individual are making a difference, but also how enormous it is.

Not to forget: Thanks to social media, each and every one of us has an immense reach these days. With the posts you like and share, the pictures you post and the hashtags you use, you are making a difference and influencing the people around you. Set a good example and show others how easy it is to do good. In this way, you can - in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi - bring about change. Take part in Veganuary and give up animal products for a month.

Find out more about Veganuary and what's behind it here.

If you want to know more about the impact of our diet on the environment, we recommend this blog post.