Earth Day Challenge: Skip Showers or Go Vegan

Posted on by PETA Australia

To mark Earth Day (22 April), PETA has issued Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek an ultimatum: either skip showers for six months or go vegan for six months.

As Australia experiences the impact of climate change, with droughts and other manifestations of extreme weather, our quirky challenge is meant to highlight the extent of water use in animal agriculture. A single day of eating vegan saves 4,160 litres of water – the equivalent of four months of taking showers – and animal agriculture significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and subsequent climate change.

If the minister chooses to go vegan, we’ll send her a delicious hamper of vegan goodies to get started. If she opts not to shower, we’ll send her some cruelty-free deodorant and pegs for her cabinet colleagues to wear on their noses.

Recently, the Australian National University and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes made a dire forecast: that Australia is looking at more than 20 years of “megadroughts” – and that’s before factoring in the human impact on the climate. “The only thing we can do to lessen the potential severity and length of future droughts is to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” notes one of the study’s co-authors.

Earth Day is designed to highlight the biggest environmental challenges we face today, but it’s not just about ending fossil fuels. Animal agriculture is Australia’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, behind the energy and transport sectors. Methane from animals on farms accounts for most of the nation’s agricultural emissions and has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere. Farming animals is also remarkably water intensive. Each Australian cow raised for beef drinks up to 112 litres every day – and there are almost 27 million of them.

We’re sure that the idea of going six months without washing feels uncomfortable, perhaps even unimaginable. Happily, going vegan is as enjoyable as it is ethical. Opting to forgo animal-derived products is one way we all can make a far greater positive impact than by not taking showers – not only for the environment but also for animals. Sign up to receive e-mails with information and tips on vegan living: