A New Veganism: How Climate Change Created More Vegans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Discussion and debate about climate change and global warming are everywhere; politics, newspapers, social media. But what about in diet? In 2016 the Vegan Society commissioned research to discover how many vegans currently live in the UK. The research found that over half a million people follow a vegan diet or lifestyle, three and a half times more than in 2006. This surge in popularity is being driven by people aged between 15-34 years who are becoming more aware of the realities of factory farming and the implications of meat and dairy on their health and the environment. Whilst veganism will remain a tenet in the fight against the exploitation of animals and a rejection of speciesism, a new kind of veganism seems to be emerging where motivating factors in the shift to veganism are around environmental or health concerns. This short paper, based on a 20-minute presentation, will briefly discuss the livestock industry and its part in climate change and how this in turn has led to rising numbers of vegans in the UK, and how veganism could be a potential answer in the fight to combat climate change. The paper will end with a discussion about my own research into veganism. Firstly, I will discuss my MSc dissertation on a qualitative study where I looked at vegans’ motives and adherence. Eight out of 12 participants from this research said environmental concerns were a motive for their veganism. Secondly, I will discuss how my PhD research has and will be affected by what looks like a turn in veganism from ethical to environmental, and the questions this raises. This paper will discuss how veganism has been placed in the climate change conversation, my previous findings, and how I plan to negotiate a new kind of environmental vegan in my sociological research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalGranite Journal: The University of Aberdeen Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2018


  • Vegan
  • Veganism
  • Climate change
  • Environment
  • Diet
  • Animal agriculture


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