There’s still time to get with the program…Veganuary, or “Vegan January,” isn’t over yet!
Sign the plant-based month-long pledge and get access to 31 days of helpful tips, delicious plant-based recipes, easy meal plans, a starter kit (open to everyone) and participation in a 50,800 member Facebook group that’s very active all year long. If you’ve been thinking about going plant-based vegan, now’s the time to hop on board and stick to it.
Nearly half of Veganuary participants, according to survey research, say that they’ve become committed to veganism long-term, and 60% said that going vegan was easier than they expected. Ride the wave! You don’t have to go it alone.
If you haven’t heard the news, Veganuary is a global vegan movement that started in the United Kingdom in 2014 and has now spread to all 50 United States and 159 countries. Since its inception, more than 500,000 people have participated. The U.K., U.S., and Germany have the most sign-ups this year, while the leading U.S. cities are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, DC, and Orlando, in that order.
Worldwide 390,000 people signed up in 2020, including 50,000 in the U.S. That’s a huge increase over 2019 participation, which was 250,000 strong. This is the first year Veganuary has launched a fully staffed U.S. campaign, run by new U.S. Director Wendy Matthews, so we can expect to see that 50,000 number on the rise.
Veganuary was started by a now-married vegan couple, Jane Land and Matthew Glover, who met on an online vegan dating site. They were inspired to reduce animal suffering and modeled their project after Movember, a “Grow It, Show It” Men’s Health magazine challenge to grow a mustache. While they launched Veganuary from their kitchen table in the Yorkshire region of England, Veganuary is now an official United Kingdom charity with 10 U.K.-based staff and growing.
A number of plant-based celebrities support Veganuary, including former Beatle Paul McCartney and actors Joaquin Phoenix, Alicia Silverstone and Mayim Bialik.
Kantar, a global data and consulting company, has quantified the impacts of Veganuary and they are significant. In 2019 in the U.K., the number of people who gave up animal products in January was 10 times higher than the number who took the Veganuary pledge – 1.3 million went vegan including unofficial participants.
Nearly 1 million pounds of animal products were not consumed and approximately 3.6 million animals were spared in the UK alone, and this doesn’t include prepared foods where animal products were only one of the ingredients.
“We knew that the ‘Veganuary Effect’ was real and many more people tried vegan in January than officially signed-up with us, but seeing the long-term impact that a one-month vegan pledge has on consumption habits – and ultimately animals’ lives – is very exciting. Veganuary’s aim is to get people to try vegan for one month and see how they feel.
Now we know that’s exactly what’s happening, and it’s great news for animals and the planet,” Toni Vernelli, Veganuary head of communications, said.
Plant-Based Cooking Facebook follower Nicole Cohen-Iaquinta, 48, from Illinois, went plant-based for the first time with her husband this Veganuary. Both have lost weight and are so far pleasantly surprised by vegan living.
“It’s been really good. We were just going to try Veganuary for a month, but after seeing that I lost eight pounds and my husband lost 11, we decided to stick with it,” Cohen-Iaquinta wrote by Facebook Messenger. “Our diet before was somewhat healthy but we had weekend cheat days and nightly snacking.”
“We had watched “The Game Changers” (a documentary about vegan athletes) and decided that weekend to dive in! I cleaned out the freezer, the fridge, and the cabinets of all junk food, meat, and dairy. It’s been a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. All the recipes that I’ve made have been really good.
We haven’t felt bloated or full. I feel like my skin has cleared up and overall we feel great!” she wrote.
For Matthews, veganism is just an idea “whose moment has come.” She attributes the uptick in vegan living in large part to greater awareness of the climate crisis.
“We really see an uptick this year. The number of people who are standing up for environmental reasons – there’s just so much focused on climate change right now and the impact that diet has on our planet. People are really connecting the dots between what they eat and the health of our planet. So, I think that that is one of the key reasons Veganuary has been so successful this year,” Matthews said.
Although environmental concerns are certainly front and center right now, according to survey data the majority, nearly half of last year’s Veganuary participants, went vegan for health reasons, while 34% were concerned about animal welfare and only 12% expressed a primary environmental concern. We’ll have to wait and see the 2020 survey results to know whether climate change inspired, at least in part, the tremendous increase in Veganuary participation this year.
When it came to gender, last year’s participants were 87% female. C’mon guys, get it together!
To quantify the environmental impact of an anticipated 350,000 people participating in Veganuary 2020, the organization turned to Oxford University environmental researcher Joseph Poore for answers. Poore took into account participants’ geographical location and their pre-Veganuary diet.
His calculations included both domestic and imported animal products as well as the entire food supply chain. Here’s the benefits Poore found when it came to Veganuary and the environment:
- 451,195 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (The same as 450,000 flights from London to Berlin, according to Veganuary.)
- 176 tons of PO43-eq from waterways. (The same as preventing 716 tons of sewage from entering waterways.)
- 660,430 gallons of water. (Enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.)
Sign the Pledge
Whether you’re concerned about your own health, the climate crisis, the well-being of animals – or all of the above, there’s still time to take action. Get online now and sign the pledge.
Just do it!
You’ll be so glad you did.
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