Could Sweden become the first country to adopt an entirely vegan diet?
For many reasons, it looks like the human species is splitting into at least two independent species. No, I’m not talking Conservative and Liberal, but rather, the healthy predominantly plant-based humans, and, well, the Costco version. Go ahead and picture these two types of people in your head. Kind of like comparing giraffes to polar bears, isn’t it?
We may now be seeing irrefutable signs of this speciation as a recent study in Sweden found one in ten Swedes are now vegan or vegetarian, with 17 percent of 15-34 year olds describing themselves as either vegetarian or vegan. Even meat-eaters in Sweden say they’re consuming more fruits and vegetables today than they did a year ago.
“Of those who identified themselves as vegetarian or vegan, 21 per cent said their decision was strongly influenced by their concern for animal welfare, while 28 per cent said this was partly a reason for adopting a meat-free diet, and 15 per cent said it did not affect their choice at all,” reports the Independent. It would be nice to think our ethics were the cornerstone of our diet choices, but health concerns work too. In fact, a healthy diet may lead us to thinking more clearly and thus making more ethical decisions about what we eat in the future--not just whether that's eating animals, but also whether or not workers were paid fairly, or if a product is destructive to the planet or taking business away from family farms. Either way, it still illustrates the growing awareness about the importance of what—or who—we eat. We also know there’s an inextricable link between meat-eating, global warming and world hunger issues that can no longer be ignored. And while bug-eating already exists as a practice throughout the world, it’s not something we have to resort to when going vegetarian can reduce our foodprint and keep us healthy without the creepy-crawly gross factor.
If ten percent of Sweden’s population is currently choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s safe to assume that number will only keep growing. Could the entire country “go vegan?” That certainly seems like a long shot, but it may just get a lot bigger than ten percent. Norway’s military recently adopted the “Meatless Monday” diet plan and much of India’s been vegetarian forever. Bhutan is reportedly looking to only grow organic crops, and Russian officials have recently made similar remarks. It’s undeniable that the world diet is changing out of necessity and choice, and that may just mean forward-thinking countries become havens to the growing vegan population while other countries raze the land for burgers and fries. Which one do you think will last longer?
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image: Ed Yourdon