Veganuary and Dry January shouldn’t just be month-long

Many of us think that going temporarily vegan is a relatively new craze, but Veganuary has been going on for years and I had no idea. Clearly, I’ve been out of the loop, since 168,500 users registered for the challenge in the last year alone. That’s three times as many as the year before. Veganism is on the rise, and the dawn of a New Year inevitably brings with it countless new followers of this lifestyle. I am not one of them.

No.

I am a self-proclaimed meat-lover. I eat meat twice a day, every day, each day of the week. I’d pair a steak with a bottle of red with all my meals if I could.

But consuming that much meat can’t be healthy. Likewise, I doubt that the bottle of wine is doing wonders for my liver. And yet, the campus bingeing culture is rife. Students consume bottles of wine every night during Freshers, but we take no notice. Our age seems to imply that there’s no reason to worry about alcohol abuse and dependency. But adhere to this lifestyle for a sustained period, and your risk of cancer and organ damage dramatically increases. There’s a greater risk of drunk driving for students, too, mainly because of the easy accessibility of their Fiat 500s parked outside their flats.

Dry January benefits more than just your health

So why not join the 4 million people who took part in Dry January last year, and give up booze for a month? By now, you’re totally aware of the benefits that cutting alcohol can have on you, but what about the rest of the world? The visible culprit impacting Earth is recycling. You see it up and down every road: waste bins piled high with bottles and tinnies.

It wasn’t until third year that I finally received a dedicated recycling bin. Before then, I had to risk a 15-minute hike to Aldi, which isn’t happening the morning after the night before. Everything went to landfill; the guilt was consuming. Worse, though, are the hidden damages: trucks require fuel to carry booze from breweries to stores, and your car needs power and fuel to get to the supermarket and back. If you’re driving to Saino’s just for drinks, that’s a lot of preventable pollution.

…But would I do Veganuary?

Dry January means an end to your contributions here. Veganuary probably has a more notable impact, though, because of the sheer quantity of meat consumed in our lives: the average person eats as many as 7,000 animals in one lifetime. With the amount of food I consume, I probably reached that figure long ago.

No wonder meat production demands more than 2,000 trillion tons of water per year – a figure that could provide drinking water to everyone on the planet instead. As the population grows, so too will our meat consumption. That’s why it makes comparative sense to eat wheat, which requires as little as 500 litres of water per kilogram, rather than beef, which demands over 15,000 litres.

You’d think that I’d be a hardcore vegan with all the knowledge I’ve written here. But with all these facts, I’m not getting on the bandwagon. For someone like me, who eats, sleeps and breathes meat, giving up cold-turkey is unsustainable. I’d crack after a week, let alone a month. Nevertheless, I have a sustainable solution:

Meat-Free Monday

I’m not going to stop eating meat, but every Monday I will plan meals that don’t revolve around beef, chicken, pork and the like (nor alcohol, but ‘Booze-Free Monday’ doesn’t have the same ring to it). This way I’m able to broaden my culinary palette while still enjoying the foods I love – just without saying goodbye entirely. If I slowly limit my meat intake, this new lifestyle might even spread to other days of the week. I could be a sober vegan by the end of the year.

Why don’t you join me by cutting down instead of cutting out? Chronicle your progress on Campus Society to let others know they’re not alone in limiting the meat they eat. Let’s commit for more than just a month, to have a real impact on the environment by being smart about our meat and alcohol consumption.

If that hasn’t convinced you, then read on and see what crazy delicious vegan desserts you can make. If all else fails, think of the cash you’ll save.

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