World Vegan Day: What is it and what can you do to celebrate?

Sunday, November 1st is World Vegan Day! What is it, you may ask? I’ve got all your questions covered. World Vegan Day was established in 1994 by The Vegan Society to celebrate the benefits that veganism (and vegetarianism) have on the environment, the animals, and our bodies.

So, what are those benefits? Many people have switched to vegan products because it drastically reduces their ecological footprint. Believe it or not, the amount of methane and carbon monoxide produced by livestock is greater than ALL transportation emissions combined, at around 14-15% worldwide. Some studies have found that if everyone adopted a vegan lifestyle, greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change and global warming could be cut by as much as 70%! If you like podcasts, this one goes into more depth about how veganism benefits our planet.

Other people, myself included, have gone vegan for the animals. It’s no secret that animals raised on factory farms have cruel and inhumane lives. They are usually kept in extremely confined areas, with many never seeing the outside of a cage in their lifetime. They are pumped with steroids intended to help them grow larger and faster in order to be slaughtered for quick profit. These animals also feel love… and pain. Piglets and calves are taken from their mothers as soon as it’s possible for them to survive on their own, and calves are branded and fattened immediately, with many of them slaughtered within a year of birth. If you want to learn more, check out one of my favorite organizations, Farm Sanctuary, and what they’re doing to combat animal cruelty.

Finally, many people adopt veganism for their health. Our western diet is full of fast food and excess animal protein. Michael Pollan, author and lifelong environmental activist, argues that in western countries, people no longer eat “food,” like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Rather, they eat “edible, food-like substances,” things so processed your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize them as food at all. Research shows that adopting a clean, vegan diet helps prevent heart disease, kick starts weight loss, and even reduces cancer rates. Want more facts? Read the “The China Study” or watch Forks Over Knives.

So now that you know the benefits of being vegan, what can you do to celebrate World Vegan Day?

Find a festival near you! Most cities celebrate with festivals where you can try delicious and nutritious vegan food and drinks. Here is a list of Vegan events going on around the world.
Host a potluck or eat meat free for the day. You don’t have to be fully vegan to make a difference. Try hosting a vegan potluck with your friends or commit to eating meat-free for the day. Want to step it up a notch? Challenge yourself by taking the Vegan Pledge for the next 30 days!
Plant a tree. Give back to our earth by planting a tree or starting your own garden. This helps offset the harmful gas emissions coming from factory farms and the livestock industry. Post your new plant mom (or dad) status on social media to brighten someone’s day!
Buy vegan products: A plant-based lifestyle isn’t just about the food you eat, but the products you buy! All products at Shared Planet are vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally friendly, so you can look and feel great wearing them. The next time you reach for a fall boot or stylish jacket, challenge yourself to choose pleather over leather.

Maggie Blehar is a Philadelphia based writer/educator with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Education. She has been plant-based since 2011 and is always in search of ethical companies to support. She loves traveling, walking her dog, painting, meditation, working for social justice, digging deeper into her zodiac sign, and exploring the Philly vegan scene with friends. Some of her favorite organizations are: Don’t Eat the Homies, Farm Sanctuary, CHNGE, Gentle Barn, and the Equal Justice Initiative.