We have an environmental emergency right now - and we need you to help us stop it | Viva! - The Vegan Charity

Emergency – we need you!

We have an environmental emergency right now. Our forests are burning, our oceans and air are being polluted, our soil is being degraded and our wildlife wiped out. Animal farming is at the heart of this crisis and it needs to stop. Vegan Now puts the power in consumers’ hands. Click here to learn more.

Malayan tigers are just one of the million species at risk of extinction. Livestock farming is the main driver.

“Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems – at every scale from local to global. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

United Nations Food and Agriculture Policy Branch

The lives of billions of farmed and wild animals are at stake, as are the last remaining wilderness areas of this wondrous planet we inhabit. We are in a fight for the survival of so much that we and you hold dear – extraordinary places, a myriad of magnificent creatures, even the lifeblood of our world itself.

Agriculture causes one quarter of ALL global warming gases and livestock farming causes four fifths of that. This is significantly more than all the world’s transport (14 per cent) and similar to the damage by industry (21 per cent). But farming animals causes so much more damage even than this.

Right now, fires are burning across the ancient and beautiful Amazon rainforest. There have been over 80,000 blazes this year alone. As you know, this is home to one tenth of the world’s species and produces one fifth of our oxygen. But what you may not know is that just four months ago, a free trade deal was agreed between Brazil and the UK/EU to encourage the vandalism.

The rainforest is burned to make way for monoculture croplandsRainforest destruction destroys habitatsOur nation has given Brazil financial aid for its beef industry, directly encouraging the destruction of the forests, which are trashed for cattle grazing and soya fodder. The fodder is exported worldwide – including to the UK - to feed cattle, pigs and chickens. Meat eating is driving the fire that scorches the earth’s lungs.

This harrowing scene of destruction is similar across the world. As animal agriculture expands, natural wildernesses shrink. We are now experiencing the world’s sixth mass extinction, with one million species at risk.

Amazonian jaguarFor convenience, we use shorthand to describe momentous events that are eroding our planet. ´Loss of biodiversity´ is one example. It means the extinction of plant and animal species that were once abundant. It is the desperation of a drowning turtle caught in a fishing net, it is the devastation of forests across the globe, it is the disappearance of beautiful wild cats such as the jaguar and Malayan tiger because they no longer have a home.

Every piece of meat that’s eaten, every fillet of fish and every chunk of cheese contributes directly to this accelerating erosion of our world - and all because they are foods produced in an orgy of inefficiency that the world can no longer afford. They are the main reason why forests are felled, wetlands are drained, deserts are spreading and oceans are dying.

A ‘beef’ steer will consume 17kg of vegetable protein to produce 1kg of meat and all other ´food´ animals repeat this inefficiency to one degree or another. To say it is insane sounds too glib - but it is insane, irresponsible, obscene.

Can a vegan diet really help save our world?

Oxford University is at the forefront of researching the environmental impacts of farming. One of their lead researchers is the author of a crucial study published in Science. It looks at almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries, covering 90 per cent of foods eaten. They found that moving from current diets to a vegan diet that excludes animal products has ‘transformative potential’.

Veganism would reduce food’s land use by a massive 76%. Food’s greenhouse emissions, acidification and water pollution would be slashed in half.

For the USA, where meat consumption is three times the global average, dietary change has the potential for an even greater effect on food’s greenhouse gas emissions, reducing them by two thirds to three quarters!

Their habitats are under threatTheir habitats are under threat due to rainforest destruction.The science is overwhelming, the destruction real and quantifiable and the concern amongst ordinary people profound. Yet almost nothing is done. Look at the Committee on Climate Change’s web site – you won’t find a word about diet. They were set up to advise the UK government on the climate crisis and how to adapt to global warming. Their words are incredibly weak.

Worse than this, most environmental organisations and some animal charities remain largely silent - some even encourage free range meat, fish and dairy consumption under the guise of ‘sustainable’ methods. Free range farming causes staggering damage to the environment. Factory farming is not only unsustainable but cruel beyond belief. All animals are needlessly slaughtered – most as babies.

What’s needed is not stealth but a profound change in people’s habits as soon as possible and that can only happen when they have the facts and when all concerned organisations are communicating the same message – and doing it consistently.

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Viva! - a catalyst for change

That’s why Viva! intends to try and become the catalyst for change, using our considerable communication and campaigning skills to kick-start national awareness.

We’ve already triggered international debate through our Vegan Now launch – with our Patron, Michael Mansfield QC, stating meat could need to be banned to save the planet – covered in every UK national newspaper and over 100 other papers, including major columns in the USA and Russia. I had the lead comment in the Daily Telegraph and gave talks on BBC Wales, Ireland, London and Talk radios. We have debated with farmers’ organisations on several national UK TV news programmes (including Channel 4 and BBC News, More 4 plus Radio 4 and Radio 5). All this reveals just how much work we have to do because institutions barely acknowledge the problems let alone consider the remedies.

How can you help?

Animal farming is responsible for most of the global warming gasses emmitted in agriculture.We desperately need your support in any and every form possible. We must have resources for our campaign - to allow us to go much wider and be persistent! Help Viva! persuade consumers, animal charities, environmental groups, citizen groups, politicians, and the media that going vegan is a positive powerful step – the biggest an individual can take – to save our world.

The feeling of impotence that so many people have can be transformed into positive action – and that’s our goal.

Our message has never been simpler – Change Your Diet, Save Your World. Vegan Now!

  • Share our short YouTube ad at VeganNow.UK, featuring the voices of Greta Thunberg, George Monbiot and me - viewed by over 430,000 people in just three weeks!
  • Please give your money and/or your time generously.

Please help us in this essential battle in any way you can.

Help fund us and help us reach out across Britain and beyond. There is nothing more urgent.

Juliet Gellatley
Founder & Director, Viva!