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CAN A SINGLE CONSUMER'S DECISION CHANGE THE WORLD?

On:
On Wysokie Obcasy website we can read: “When we start going to cafes with our own cup, instead of buying a paper one; choose products in glass packaging rather than plastic; recycle garbage and, finally, cut down on animal-derived food; we are usually told: a single person’s decisions will not change anything." [1]

Is this true?

Maybe not all of us are rebels, but everyone makes daily consumer choices. Many people do not give a second thought to the fact that buying a local product means money invested in the local economy; that choosing a Fairtrade product means helping poor countries to develop in the right way; that changing one’s diet to the plant-based means fewer animals killed for food, and so on. Fortunately, more and more people are becoming aware of that. And it all started with individuals who were determined enough to educate themselves about the consequences of consumer choices, and then, to educate others: family, friends, and even strangers, by creating organizations or writing blogs and articles to spread the message.


Education = conscious choice, and choice = demand. And in economics demand generates supply.
It was not so long ago that vegans and vegetarians were scarce. People looked on us as radical weirdos. Products labeled as Fairtrade or Vegan were not available in stores, and hardly anyone cared about what would happen to the plastic bag in which they mindlessly packed one tomato. Today, however, popular newspapers report that veganism and vegetarianism have entered the mainstream, and there are already shelves for Fairtrade- or Vegan-labeled products in stores. There are also more and more shops that specialize in selling vegan, fair trade or zero-waste products. All this means that the consumers who make conscious decisions to change bad habits are no longer single individuals – they have become a GROUP, which has grown fast and gained quite a buying power. Nowadays even meat producers are introducing alternative plant-based products into their offer, and retail chains are offering collection of clothes made of organic cotton!

Does it have any significant impact on reality at all? What can a single person really do? And how does it translate into numbers?

Here are some examples:


- It takes about 2,300 liters of water to produce 1 hamburger (1 serving of meat!), which is the amount used by one person for daily showers in the period of 2 months. [6].

- It takes on average about 13 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of meat. [6].
This means that huge areas of forests (including Amazon rainforest) are being replaced by animal pastures – these areas could produce 13 times as many plants for direct human consumption.

- 1 person eats around 7,000 animals throughout his life [7].
Therefore 1 vegan person saves 7,000 lives over the course of their vegan life!


This is quite impressive, isn’t it?

Yes, a single individual can make a difference. Perhaps this would not matter if one lived alone on a deserted island, but there is no doubt that in a society every minority, as well as the majority, is just a set of individuals. And therefore:

"According to the research conducted by the Humane Society of the United States (an American animal rights organization), every year since 2007 five hundred million fewer animals have been killed just because people began to eat less meat and the awareness of animal products consumption has increased." 
[1]


500,000,000 fewer animals die each year! For over a decade!

Statistics clearly indicate a definite upward trend in conscious consumption. Raising awareness refers to the plant-based diet:

- "Two out of ten consumers aged 25-34 claim they eat more vegetarian products than they did a year ago. In addition, almost 10 percent respondents in this age group declare to have chosen the vegetarian or vegan diet." [2]

- “One in ten people in Sweden now identify as vegetarian or vegan.” [3]

- “The number of vegans in Britain has risen by more than 360 per cent over the past decade.” [4] 

Awareness has been growing also when it comes to clothes and imported food (coffee, cocoa, bananas, etc.): 
"In 2010, Fairtrade producers from the global South sold products for a total of 664.5 million euros. [...] This is 19% increase compared to the previous period." [5] 

So let's not be fooled that our conscious choices and actions do not matter! Our efforts give results, and in the Internet era this is happening faster than ever before! 

GO VEGAN! GO FAIR! Our conscious choices build a better world for all of us!



Sources:

1. http://www.wysokieobcasy.pl/wysokie-obcasy/7,100961,23111039,kazdego-roku-zabijanych-jest-pol-miliarda-zwierzat-mniej-tylko.html?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=SM&utm_campaign=FB_wysokieobcasy&disableRedirects=true

2. http://www.portalspozywczy.pl/handel/wiadomosci/millenialsi-lubia-zdrowo-jesc-rosnie-liczba-wegetarian-wegan-i-fleksitarian,140400.html

3. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/sweden-going-meatless/

4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/number-of-vegans-in-britain-rises-by-360-in-10-years/

5. http://www.fairtrade.org.pl/fairtrade/efektywnosc-fairtrade/

6. http://stopklatka.org/srodowisko

7. https://www.polityka.pl/tygodnikpolityka/nauka/1612473,1,ile-zwierzat-zjada-czlowiek-w-ciagu-calego-swojego-zycia.read

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