Four high profile vegans have joined forces with The Vegan Society to send out an important message about veganism and the planet this World Environment Day (June 5).
Leading journalist George Monbiot, MP Kerry McCarthy, Green Party Co-leader Jonathan Bartley and entrepreneur Dale Vince have signed a letter written by the Society urging environmentalists to consider the impact animal agriculture is having on the planet.
The self-deprecating letter calls meat-eaters out for contributing to climate change, and asks them to see veganism as aspirational, rather than extreme.
The letter follows the publication of the biggest analysis to date of food production. According to the study, avoiding meat and dairy is the 'single biggest way' to reduce your environmental impact as it provides just 18 percent of calories but takes up 83 percent of farmland.
The letter highlights this impact, saying: "We can't just have the cheese sandwich because we know the devastating effect that animal agriculture has. Animal farming is a greater contributor to climate change than transport, it's destroying precious habitats, both here and in the Amazon.
"It's a hugely inefficient food choice, giving us only 12 calories back for every 100 we feed to animals. With a vegan diet, we're cutting our food emissions by up to 50 percent, halving our land use, and if we all opted for vegan we could feed 3 billion more people.
"It's pretty clear that veganism is the best 'off the shelf' diet for the environment. We can't in good conscience, just go with the flow. This is too important."
Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns, Policy and Research at The Vegan Society, said: "Veganism is often called radical or extreme. With the weight of evidence showing that going vegan is the most significant thing an individual can do to reduce impact on the planet, it's time everyone got radical on this issue."
The letter comes as the charity launches the latest phase of its Plate Up for the Planet campaign that encourages people to take a seven-day planet-changing vegan challenge.
Davies said: "We need to be far bolder with our food choices if we are to protect our precious planet, and Plate Up for the Planet encourages people to do just that. Vegan diets can help to combat climate change; save wildlife and natural habitats; and feed a growing population – why not give our seven-day challenge a try?"