The way people think about food, where it’s come from and the impact it has on the planet has without a doubt changed immensely over the last few years. We are, on the whole, much more aware of what we’re consuming. As a result, thousands of people have embraced veganism, or have at least tried and introduced vegan alternatives into their diet. Pretty much all major supermarkets now offer a plant-based vegan range and restaurants have dramatically increased their vegan offerings.
There are many compelling reasons to adopt a vegan diet; it’s better for the planet, for the animals and for us. When doing some research ourselves, we discovered that 82% of the world’s starving children live in a country where food is fed to livestock who are then eaten by Western Countries – something that shocked and disturbed us in equal measure. We thought this was really effective in helping us understand the often well-hidden, yet sinister side of the meat and dairy industry, something we are all familiar with but know very little about.
One organisation leading the way, and responsible for some of the most successful animal rights campaigns – including the introduction of the ban on fur at London Fashion Week after their two-year long campaign – is Surge Activism.
A group of topless anti-fur protesters demonstrate outside Store Studios at the start of London fashion week. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
Surge is a grassroots animal organisation committed to positive community building, teamwork and the abolition of animal use with a focus on veganism to collectively end the oppression of animals. Their philosophy is that change comes through education, so their mission is to push animal rights forward into mainstream public thinking as well as encouraging unity through community-based activism. They also recently announced the Surge Sanctuary, an incredible 18 acre haven for abused and unwanted to animals to live out their days in peace.
Surge have drawn our attention to how our societies and our cultures operate in a way that normalise the use of animal products, they are used everywhere and all the time. Not only that but we have also normalised behaviour that we would otherwise consider to be horrific and even barbaric, using excuses and ingrained justifications to enable us to carry on as before. It’s difficult to pair up our treatment of our pets, with the animals we instead class as food.
As well as protecting and preserving the life of innocent animals, as a sustainable brand we can’t help but recognise the immense impact going vegan can have on our planet. In 2019, an Imperial College Study found that your diet is where you can make the biggest difference to minimising climate change, followed by travel and heating. While people may be travelling less at the moment, we can’t be certain how long this will continue, and it is unrealistic to think that people could avoid heating their homes. However, everyone can eat a vegan diet – or at least try to. Eating a plant-based diet reportedly has three times more positive environmental impact than washing your clothes in cold water; four times more than hang-drying clothes or recycling; and eight times more than upgrading light bulbs.
We know veganism can offer numerous health benefits, taps into the eco-conscious state of the world, and is a progressive movement towards a greener way of life. The benefits are plentiful, we just have to be a little more willing to make the change.