Vegan Human Ecology*

The New Human Ecology changes human relationships between ourselves

and all species and ecosystems  

Earth requires veganism. Ecologically, it is not an option. Our vegan human ecology is created by the foods we consciously choose to eat. Those choices have consequences for others and are either morally and environmentally sustainable or not. Our meals create consequences for, and establish relationships with, ecosystems and individuals from other species. If we want to see songbirds, bees, frogs, and elephants thriving, then our daily, conscious decisions about how we behave have to make that possible. It will not happen without us adopting a vegan lifestyle.

Our human ecology* is the expression of everything we do and represented by every interaction we create on Earth. It’s about the choices we make that create the relationships between ourselves and other humans, individuals from other species, and ecosystems. We create those relationships within our immediate environment but also everywhere else beyond our horizons. That’s because the impacts of our personal decisions spread across the planet. Our personal decisions cycle through our cultures, institutions, technologies, spiritual practices, agriculture, population trends, economies, sciences, worldview beliefs, and countless individual actions. It is our human ecology that weaves and creates our species’ history, future, and impacts on Earth.

Human Ecology and Seven Goals

Green Vegans has adopted the more original meaning for the field of human ecology:  Human Ecology is the study of the interactions between human and non-human nature in different cultures. Human Ecology combines the ideas and methods from several disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, biology, economic history, and archeology. Our multidisciplinary approach enables us to comprehensively address issues of environmental justice, sustainability, and political ecology. Lund University

Within that definition, human ecology serves as perhaps the only platform capable of containing our comprehensive approach for achieving the Seven Goals. Ecology is about relationships. We emphasize the relationships between each one of the Seven Goals. Each of the Seven Goals depends on achieving the other six to be successful. Because our individual and collective impacts now reach distant ecosystems, no matter where we live, our human ecology must address our personal relationships with the entire living Earth. 

As vegans, we must recognize and tell others that we must protect ecosystems that provide food, shelter, water, safe spaces, and overall physical and psychological well-being for wildlife—all life. We must protect the ecosystems that provide these needs to be vegan.

Through The New Human Ecology lens, we see how human overpopulation and our activities destroy ecosystems and crowd out species from their homes, species who then suffer. We also see how economic systems devalue the true worth of ecosystems, humans, and individuals from other species while subverting social and economic justice for humans. We can reduce our impacts on plant and animal communities.

Veganism responds to our modern understanding of where we fit into ecosystems

At present, humanity still insists we can continue to impact a living Earth as hunters, pastoralists, and fishers. This cruel foolishness fails to acknowledge how those predatory identities have been superseded by the far greater environmental impacts we create. Witness our clearing land for highways and houses, crops grown for animal agriculture, the dams we build, the greenhouse gasses we spew creating climate change—all of our environmental impacts. These are neo-predations.

With those behaviors, we kill more animals and plants, create more extinctions and destroy ecosystems more than humans ever did by raising and killing as hunters, pastoralists, and fishers. We have replaced our ancestors’ predations with the neo-predations that come from the environmental impacts we now impose over the entire Earth. For instance, clear and reflective glass on tall urban buildings kills an estimated 34,000,000 birds during fall and spring migrations every year in cities north of Mexico in North America alone. We didn’t hunt them but they are dead nonetheless. It is still predation.

With the cotton we wear, our transportation systems that include highways and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, the resources we take to build and heat and cool our homes, and the astronomical impacts we create through animal and botanical agriculture are all multiplied by eight billion of us consuming ecosystem services at an unsustainable rate.

From Our World in Data: 10% of the world is covered by glaciers, and a further 19% is barren land – deserts, dry salt flats, beaches, sand dunes, and exposed rocks. This leaves what we call ‘habitable land’. Half of all habitable land is used for agriculture. This leaves only 37% for forests; 11% as shrubs and grasslands; 1% as freshwater coverage; and the remaining 1% – a much smaller share than many suspect – is built-up urban area which includes cities, towns, villages, roads and other human infrastructure. There is also a highly unequal distribution of land use between livestock and crops for human consumption. If we combine pastures used for grazing with land used to grow crops for animal feed, livestock accounts for 77% of global farming land. While livestock takes up most of the world’s agricultural land it only produces 18% of the world’s calories and 37% of total protein. The expansion of agriculture has been one of humanity’s largest impacts on the environment. It has transformed habitats and is one of the greatest pressures for biodiversity: of the 28,000 species evaluated to be threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List, agriculture is listed as a threat for 24,000 of them.

Onward together

The New Human Ecology empowers YOU to be the change agent. This is our mission. Changing our behaviors to create The New Human Ecology is about joyous discovery and taking personal responsibility for the reality that afflicts the poor and least powerful, human and non-human alike.

You can support Green Vegans as we advocate through our campaigns, but The New Human Ecology and your commitment to creating the Seven Goals in your daily life is Green Vegans’ core purpose. You are where the power lies.  It all comes down to what we have become and now, who we choose to be.

*Portions of this web page are excerpted from This Is Hope: Green Vegans and The New Human Ecology.