Could 2019 be the year of the vegan? This past week, people all over the world promised to make lifestyle changes with various new year’s resolutions. And, this January, more people than ever have pledged to go meat-free— for at least a month.
A movement known as Veganuary started five years ago, and each year the number of participants committing to a plant-based diet during the first month of the year has more than doubled. This year, more than 250,000 people in 193 countries have signed up to make January a month without animal products.
According to Rich Hardy, the head of campaigns at Veganuary, on Sunday alone over 14,000 people pledged to go vegan this month, which is a rate of one person every six seconds.
“In 2018 there hasn’t been a week that has gone by without veganism hitting the headlines, whether it is a magazine editor being fired or Waitrose launching a new range of products,” Hardy said. “Vegan products are getting a lot better, and it is becoming a lot more convenient to have a tasty plant-based diet.”
Hardy believes that warnings from scientists about the environmental impact of meat have persuaded many people to consider veganism. This past May, the researchers who conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date on the subject declared that the single biggest thing an individual could do for the environment is to avoid meat and dairy products.
Joseph Poore of Oxford University, the lead researcher on the project, says that reducing your impact on the planet is not just about greenhouse gases, and switching to a vegan diet is more impactful than buying an electric car or cutting down on travel.
Some people believe that 2018 was the year that veganism moved into the mainstream, and Hardy says that Veganuary aims to be fun and inclusive. He says that even if those who made the pledge fall off the wagon, they should just pick themselves up and remember why they signed the pledge in the first place.