By Phoebe A.J Wright –
Have you looked around this ‘Veganuary’ and thought, who are these people sipping oat lattes, wearing beanies, and mincing around in baggy jeans? Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are probably members of the infamous Generation Z.
A study on veganism in 2019 cited in the Future Consumer: Food and Generation Z found that 1 in 6 vegans are teenagers and that 42% of vegans tend to be 15-34 years of age.
Now, this isn’t exactly the most shocking information I imagine you’ve read today about Gen Z based on their ‘Meat is Murder’ radicalism or ‘PC gone mad’ stereotypes. However, when uncovering the stigmatism that lies behind the public opinion of Gen Z could it be possible that they are one of the most eco-conscious generations to exist in a very long time?
That exact question is something that many journalists seem to be pushing forward to answer in their articles.
In 2022 the BBC released an article stating that ‘Stirling University Students’ Union Votes to go 100% vegan’. Thus, we are forced to face facts, it really is this newly maturing generation that are distancing themselves from steaks, beef burgers and chicken, and instead ordering salads, bean burgers and chickpeas.
So, let’s look forward 10 years from now; when you picture our planet, is it a utopia of hungry vegans, working hard to sustain clean air initiatives and planting trees? Are they laughing whilst walking through green spaces of preservation with wildlife roaming free?
No? Well, you wouldn’t be the only one- you see evidence has come to light in recent years that it’s not all as simple as switching to a plant-based diet to save the planet, because of how much damage has already been dealt.
In an article Published by PETA UK in 2015, we find that ‘three-quarters of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted’ and ‘animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91 per cent of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest’.
Scary, isn’t it? I mean really, the world we live in and the natural life we live with is quite literally crumbling away into nothing before us – because of us.
It’s not all bad though, I mean unless nature decides to fight back and we start facing a triffid-like situation, then we really are all screwed.
But we can all really make a difference by trying to substitute some meals in our week for plant-based alternatives. Anything you can do in your own individual lives can help combat devastating blows to our natural ecosystems and reduce all our carbon footprints.
In fact, organisations such as WIRED UK reference Research from Oxford University claiming that ‘if every family in the UK swapped out a red meal-based meal for a plant-based alternative just once a week the environmental impact would be equivalent to taking 16 million cars off the road.’
Now you’ve got to admit, pessimist or not that statement really does propose a huge difference.
Remember the vegan utopia? That can still be achieved! Or if you hate that idea, which as I’m writing this and remembering I’m a member of Gen Z most people will, just imagine a world where animals that don’t deserve to be dying out aren’t. Or maybe imagine a reality where meat doesn’t have to be as murderous because fast food industries chilled out a bit.
I know it isn’t easy, especially with the economy we all live in; but maybe if you take anything away from reading this article just know that every conscious step you take towards helping the environment may seem small, but you really ARE, and you can continue to make that difference until our planet really has healed.
Phoebe A.J Wright is a 3rd year student studying at Huddersfield University. She studies Creative Media and Production and hopes to go on to a career within the media industry. Phoebe comes from a small village in Huddersfield called Meltham where she grew up before moving into student accommodation for her studies. Her skills are credited to writing as she studied screenwriting and journalistic writing for the media in her previous years. She is extremely passionate about the environment and also hopes to move forward in the industry with the goal to fight for more diverse and queer representation in television writers’ rooms.
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