The Rise of Veganism
- 1 Post
- Age 24
Ten years ago, if one referred to themselves as ‘vegan’, the whole dinner table would be utterly perplexed. Assumptions of eating disorders would creep into minds, eye contact would go amiss and no questions would be asked. Now, the rise of veganism has engulfed us on a global scale and a healthy dialogue has opened up regarding the driving force behind such increase. Is it simply a hipster fad powered by the social media apps we know all too well these days, or a genuine belief in abstaining from animal products for ethical reasons?
Today 542,000 people in the UK follow a plant-based diet. Of these, 42% are 15-34 years old, whilst 14% are over 65. Teenvgn.com, an online portal for vegan teenagers to share motivations, recipes and campaign to promote veganism have 1,100 registered members, with 3-4 new members joining weekly. Clearly, We, the younger generation have taken hold of the ‘vegan’ title and are spreading the message the best way they know how, online, but what’s the real reason for passing up meat and dairy?
Throughout history, young people have always been the catalyst for social change. In the face of adversity, student activism has prevailed and fought for justice. Be it civil and LGBT rights, women’s suffrage, access to education or anti-war movements, the youth are always a majority, fighting only for the interests of those who are to be most impaired.
Accessibility to an infinite amount of knowledge has enabled food corporations to be easily exposed for their injustices against animals and Earth. With the popularity of Netflix, documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Food Inc. have gained a wider audience, enabling shocking statistics to be revealed to those intrigued enough to watch.
Endlessly-advancing technology has altered the way youth participates in activism enormously. We share facts and figures via social platforms, urging petitions to be signed to stop profit-churning megacorps committing crimes against our planet. The real reason for turning down that Big Mac isn’t because it doesn’t suit our Instagram aesthetic, but because it takes between 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, in turn contributing to the 18% of greenhouse gases accountable to animal agriculture.
The fact that veganism credibility has soared amongst young people however, may not simply be down to a few unpleasant truths. Ellie Goulding, Ellen Page and Russell Brand are all celebrities following plant-based diets, spreading the word to their largely youth fan-base. Brand tweeted about going vegan after watching the documentary Forks over Knives. Goulding proves it’s possible to be a strong, healthy vegan by consistently posting workout videos on her Instagram. The copious number of ‘vegan’ Instagram accounts have no doubt played a part in the uprising. Pictures of mouth-watering ‘smashed avo on rye’ have created a frenzy around the humble avocado, launching it to fame for being the millennial's most coveted edible. Food bloggers have also turned to the app to promote the vegan lifestyle. After being diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome,Ella Woodward subsequently cured herself through a purely plant-based diet. 26 year old health food advocate (known as @deliciouslyella on Instagram) has shaped her career at the swipe of a screen, sharing recipes to her 1.1 million followers.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason why this viral veganism has gained such momentum over recent years. It seems that young people have indeed made it ‘cool’. Undoubtedly, The youth of today are more susceptible to new ways of thinking; the whole world is at our feet and we see the potential for a better one. But in this case, was it the cold hard animal atrocities or that pretty picture of quinoa porridge which first caught our attention? Much like the chicken or the egg, we will forever question which came first.