Comparing What Motivates Veganism/Vegetarianism Now vs 20 Years Ago

Comparing What Motivates Veganism/Vegetarianism Now vs 20 Years Ago

By Anna Markulis, VRG Intern

Could Gen Z’s climate anxiety be pushing them to go vegan and vegetarian? Each year, The Vegetarian Resource Group hosts a scholarship contest on how high school students have promoted vegetarianism/veganism in their community. Contestants write about why they’ve chosen to ditch animal products and why it’s important to them. While each person does so for unique reasons, there have been undoubtedly trends over the years.

I compared scholarship essays from 2003 to 2023 and noted each student’s motivation for choosing veganism/vegetarianism. The differences were drastic. In a sample of 30 essays from 2003, 8% of students highlighted environmentalism as the main reason for going plant-based, while 64% of students gave their passion for animal rights as the most popular reason. “However, in 2023, 43% percent of students attributed environmentalism as the main reason for going vegan/vegetarian, and 29% of students gave animal rights as their reason.”

With high levels of “climate anxiety” among Gen Z, it’s no surprise that young people are choosing to go vegan/vegetarian to reduce their carbon footprint.

For information about VRG’s $5,000 college scholarships for graduating high school seniors see https://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm
The deadline is February 20 of each year.

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