I recently asked the twitter and linkedin vegan communities (as well as a few non-vegan friends and family members) to predict what percentage of the U.S. population would be vegan by the year 2050. While few respondents to the informal, non-scientific poll thought we'd still be stuck at our current one percent, 34% guessed that one in ten of us will be vegan by mid-century, and 31% believed that one in four will be. Some were even more optimistic.
"I voted for 50%, but only because it was the highest one," wrote one poll respondent. "I honestly believe it is going to be more like 75%, or even higher. I think we are hitting a 'tipping point,' and within the next few years we will see a boomlet of new vegans, followed by a steady increase that is much faster than we are seeing now. It is really just a matter of reaching a critical mass of vegans that allows others to see that we really are healthier and happier."
"It will be interesting to see what percentage of the poplulation is eating lab grown meat by then," wrote Asheville, North Carolina resident Joe Walsh. "I'd also say that a huge percentage of people are going to reduce meat consumption, maybe by 50%, for health and environmental reasons. If they did it for the animals, they'd go all the way."
Jerry Schneble, Executive Director of the Totally Vegetarian vegan project funding nonprofit, warned that trouble could be on the horizon. "Because of the effect our diet has on global warming, if we are not at 50% by 2050, we are going to be in deep trouble. Much of the world is already vegetarian. It is only the western world that is carnivorous."
"With my vegan diet, I have a good chance of being around in 2050 to see this too," added Walsh. "Let's put this query in a time capsule and open it in 39 years."
What holds more people back from investigating and/or embracing an animal-free diet and lifestyle? What everyday and long-term actions can vegans take to help others realize the importance of doing so?