By Lucy Orr-Ewing
As the continuing rise of veganism raises numerous ethical, dietary and environmental issues which become increasingly popular in today’s discussions, the vegan remains under constant scruple. In recent years, we have seen the boom of the ‘Green Scene’ as it becomes more fashionable to be environmentally and ethically aware. It is no surprise, therefore that vegan fashion itself has seen a recent uprising, so much so that PETA even held the first ever Vegan fashion awards last year.
The primordial concept for veganism: we, as humans, should not have a ‘use’ for animals in any way, and to promote the self sufficiency of the human race. They seek to abolish all exploitation of animals, which settles any common confusion, such as whether shearing a sheep disadvantages the animal. In fact, sheep shearing has become so brutal to answer the supply and demand of wool manufacturing that sheep are prematurely stripped and many die from the harsh winter conditions.
Vegans themselves admit that the extent to which they commit to the vegan philosophy is hard to maintain completely, but they argue that they do what they can and that is enough. The keystone foundations are inherently basic and the simplicity of opting for man-made leather and other synthetic man-made materials, for example, renders the hassle of switching to veganism utterly void, especially as the eco-friendly, sustainable surge has cemented the availability and popularity of such materials. Websites like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Vegan Fashion Blog offer guidelines in how to avoid non-vegan products, and to creat a forum for all things free from cruelty, from skincare to restaurants.
Perhaps it is the malleability of vegan law that keeps vegans in scrutiny; the ‘you are vegan but you have…’ questions by non vegans may have a validity, however none can deny the issues raised and now considered globally by this ever-growing group.
The popularization of the Green lifestyle will undeniably continue, and we’re sure to see a growth in Vegan style in 2015.
As the rise of veganism continues to question the methods of the meat industry, one chemical compound still resonates as the true danger of mass meat production.
People who promote the leather industry will state to vegans (and truly so) that methane is the natural gas created when bacteria breakdown organic matter, indeed , we can all produce methane quite embarrassingly! The trouble comes with excess. Although methane stays in the atmosphere for a shorter time than other greenhouse gases, its effects are more damaging:
Methane produces 21 times as much warming as C02
The level of methane has risen 2.5 times since the industrial revolution
Methane has unpredictable removal processes
Its capability of locking in heat to the atmosphere makes it responsible for 20% of the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’ even though it is present in less concentrations.
As for the natural gas argument , 2 thirds of global methane comes from man made sources i.e fossil fuels and of course (we had to mention it) cattle ranching. With the rise in demand for cheap leather, the lack of vegan alternatives as well as the demand for cheap meat, how can we limit methane in the atmosphere without changing paradigms? The answer is that we can’t.