Have you heard? Sustainable travel and ecotourism is at an all time high throughout the world. While many people focus on reducing their transportation emissions and supporting local communities, which are no doubt important, they forget one essential aspect… vegan travel.
If you haven’t caught on yet, sustainable travel, responsible tourism, ecotourism, or whatever you want to call it, is seriously catching on.
It’s spreading like wildfire throughout the travel community.
You’ll find numerous posts on:
- How to reduce your CO2 emissions while traveling.
- Why it’s important to support local communities.
- The benefits of sustainable tourism.
- How to cut back on plastic usage around the world.
- Why it’s essential to choose the right tour group.
- Why tourists should avoid unethical, exploitative animal encounters (like riding elephants).
- How your visit positively or negatively impacts the region.
- And much, much more.
While all of those things are extremely important when practicing sustainable travel and ecotourism, it seems as though one vital aspect is missing…
I mean, the whole idea behind sustainable travel is leaving a positive impact wherever you wander, right?
Whether that be on the environment, within the local community, or in the economy — it all matters.
With that said, no doubt, vegan travel is an essential part of sustainable tourism.
If sustainability really mattered to you, you’d be implementing a vegan lifestyle everywhere you go. From the coffee shop to the beach to that fancy restaurant in New York.
There’s absolutely no downside to adopting a vegan lifestyle (or at least a plant-based diet).And this is especially true when it comes to practicing sustainability around the world.
So, let me say it again for the people in the back…
Vegan travel is part of sustainable travel.
This is a topic that’s been irking at me for a good long while now.
Every time I come across a traveler who proclaims or preaches about their sustainable lifestyle and how much they do for the environment, only to find out they don’t practice a vegan lifestyle, or even just a 90% plant-based lifestyle, the urge to roll my eyes and shake my head is overwhelming.
Because animal agriculture and the animal husbandry is the number one biggest threat to the environment and all the inhabitants who live in it.
If you’re an avid, everyday meat-eater who preaches and practices sustainability, I know you don’t want to hear this but…
Animal agriculture is literally choking the Earth.
And it’s making us — and the rest of its inhabitants — sick and unhealthy.
And yet… the majority of the world continues to turn a blind eye to this enormous elephant in the room.
Turning our heads away from this massive issue isn’t making it go away. In fact, it’s making the problem much, much worse.
Did you know that animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, habitat destruction, and ocean dead zones?
Or that raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined?
Or how it uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution?
If you’re practicing sustainable tourism, which focuses on doing all you can for the environment and local communities, you can’t turn a blind eye to the glaring statistics of animal agriculture industry.
The time for change is now.
But I’ll admit, many vegan travelers aren’t perfect either.
Forgetting about the environment, many vegan travelers only care about the animals.
If you’ve come across a few vegans or follow some on Instagram, you might have seen a popular hashtag, #VeganForTheAnimals.
Of course, this motive is important because we’re saving sentient beings from being murdered (56 billion and counting each year), but they don’t give a damn about the environment.
Left and right, you’ll find vegan travelers hopping on multiple long-haul flights day after day, sipping out of numerous plastic water bottles, and continually buying harmful products that may be vegan but are certainly not good for the earth.
Like any other person, the typical vegan traveler isn’t perfect.
Even though he or she is reducing their impact on the environment and earth much more than the typical meat-eater traveler, they might be ignoring other vital parts of sustainable travel.
And this isn’t okay either.
Guys, we need to do better.
The earth needs us.
So, with that being said, if you’re already a vegan traveler but aren’t reducing your plastic usage or implementing green travel steps, check out these posts:
- 8 ways to ditch plastic while wandering
- 20 ways to be more eco-friendly when traveling
- How to have a #PlasticFreeJuly every month
Because vegans of the world, there’s so much more you could be doing than just skipping out on animal products and byproducts.
And for all you carnivores and omnis out there, here are some super simple ways to easily reduce your environmental impact by cutting down on meat (or cutting it out completely!).
5 ways to be more vegan or plant-based:
1. Be a weekday vegan.
While I’m all for becoming 100% vegan, I’m well aware most people wouldn’t make that change.
Thus, I’m challenging you to become a weekday vegan! This means you eat vegan throughout the week but when the weekend rolls around you’re craving a big burger, you can totally have one.
Being a weekday vegan isn’t restrictive, as you get to have what you want, but it still has an enormous reduction regarding your impact on the environment. Cool, right?
To learn more about this cool knew phenomenon, check out this Ted Talk here on being a weekday vegetarian (but go vegan instead).
Additionally, skim this article on how Meghan Markle is a weekday vegan and how her choice (and your choice) is impacting the earth!
2. Simply add more whole grains & starches to your plate.
Guys, listen up. What I’m about to tell you here might scare you a little bit: carbs don’t make you fat.
In fact, your body runs on carbs! In other words, carbs are liiiiiiiife. And they should make a feature on your plate each and every time eat!
Load up on brown rice, whole grain pasta, oats, barley, and corn. If you want to learn more about this tactic of adding more healthy starches to your diet, head over to Dr. McDougall’s website (a doctor who specializes in starch science).
3. Try out some meat alternatives.
Seriously, they’re better than you think! When in Asia, try out some tofu or tempe (which simultaneously saves you from possibly getting food poisoning from undercooked meat!).
In the USA or the UK, you’ll find supermarkets stocked with tons of meat alternatives.
Brands like Tofurkey, Field Roast, Gardein, Beyond Meat, and Impossible Meat can be found in the US and are absolutely delicious! Check out stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, and natural stores.
In the UK, you’ll find Linda McCartney, Quorn (but make sure to check the label — sometimes they use egg whites as a binder!), Iceland’s No Bull vegan line, and vegan alternatives in Asda, Lidl, Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi, and Morrisons.
Give ’em a try. Do it for the earth, or even the animals.
4. Toss out all milk.
With the variety of plant-based milks, there’s absolutely no need to be stealing the milk of baby calves!
Plus, it does your body harm, rather than help.
In stores, you’ll find milk alternatives like rice, almond, cashew (my personal favorite!), hemp, pea, hazelnut, coconut, and MORE! Seriously, guys.
There are so many plant-based milks you won’t even know what to do with yourself.
5. Make it fun to try new vegan dishes.
If you’re eating out at restaurants, make it fun to order up some veggie dishes with your friends and make it a buffet of sorts. Have some of this, some of that — all in the name of trying new things!
When at home, try out different vegan recipes — ones without strange ingredients you can’t recognize (because that’s sometimes what puts off carnivores from cooking vegan!).
Make it as easy as possible for yourself. (Psst, I have a whole post on my favorite vegan cookbooks!)
Some of my favorite simple vegan recipes is vegan 3-bean chili, veggie burritos or burrito bowls, veggie stir fry, vegan pasta (like spaghetti!), and soup.
Once you have an array of vegan recipes you love, it’s super easy to cook vegan at home! Making the transition to being a weekday vegan even simpler.
A few of my favorite vegan bloggers are:
No doubt, these awesome vegan bloggers will help you create some delicious vegan masterpieces in the kitchen!
So, with that said, wouldn’t you agree vegan travel is an essential part of sustainable travel and sustainable tourism?
Guys, even if you don’t want to go 100% vegan, try out the weekday vegan thing. Or simply start by doing Meatless Monday.
Do it for the earth. She needs us!
Tell me, do you believe vegan travel is a part of sustainable travel? Or do you already practice somewhat of a plant-based diet? Let me know in the comments!
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