A MORE ETHICAL ECONOMY?

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 Most of our grandparents’ lives were quite unlike ours today. I get a sense of nostalgia when I think how life used to be more linear, more predictable, and simpler.

Today we’re inundated with information from all ends, while the world economy has exploded, taking over every aspect of our lives, like a green spider web enveloping the entire planet. Globalization and technological innovation have made certain jobs obsolete, while creating new ones, and we can now buy more stuff than ever before, which has obviously made us happier than at any other moment in human history.

Well, actually, not really.

Studies have shown that there are heaps of truth to the hold adage that wealth does not buy happiness. Neither does the shopping mall or our newfound ability to choose from a plethora of reality shows about adults proudly putting their vacuous lives on public display.  

But things have also changed in a much more tangible way. Not only are human activities warming the planet at an alarming rate, they have also decimated habitats to the point where populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians have declined by over 60% since 1970.   

One major cause of these problems, which is not so visually evident and hard for most people to accept, is the fact that global meat production has quadrupled in the last 50 years.

The livestock industry also contributes more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry and is the leading driver of land degradation, water depletion, soil degradation… you name it.

There’s more. It turns out 50% of all grains on the planet are fed to the more than 70 billion land animals that are bred, raised and killed every year, just to satiate the growing demand for artery clogging meat, among the leading contributors to the chronic health problems we face today, like obesityheart diseasecolon cancer and diabetes.

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And one last thing, considering the situation we’re in as of May 2020. It’s important to know that 60% of all human diseases come from animals, most of which come from livestock.

It sounds overwhelming. But there’s good news out there. Awareness of these issues is spreading. Consumers in many countries are embracing plant-based diets, for this reason and others, including ethics and health.

The economy is catching wind of this shift in consumer attitudes, but not without fierce resistance from the industries that benefit from animal agriculture, including the pharmaceutical sector, which makes billions of dollars from administering most of the world’s antibiotics to farm animals, not humans  

The mainstream media is often torn between the reporting of these facts and the pressure from livestock lobby groups pushing them to spread misinformation.

But in 2018 something interesting happened. A man named Peter Link, an expert in PR, journalism and marketing, founded vegconomist, a business magazine tailor made for influencers and decision makers of the vegan business world. Since its inception, vegconomist has revolutionized the way entrepreneurs see the economy, opening the world’s eyes to a more ethical and sustainable way of doing business through vegan lifestyles.  

In 2019 the US experienced a growth of 11% in plant based foods, and the number of Americans who identify as vegan grew by 600% from 2014 to 2017. A few years ago this would’ve sounded like some utopian hippie dream. But it’s happening today, for the first time, because consumers are making it happen.

Conventional business magazines are reporting the trend, albeit more modestly than they should. vegconomist, on the other hand, is completely on top of it, shining light on the path for leaders of the movement to take.

The world is changing, people are changing, and the economy is changing. We may never go back to the days when life was simpler, but we can work toward the restructuring of our destructive food system, transforming it into one that works in favor of our own best interests, not against them.

Wealth does not guarantee happiness, nor does shopping or reality shows. But knowing that we’re shifting to healthier and more ethical consumption habits should definitely make us feel better, something that should also make our grandparents proud.

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