Vegan Women You Didn't Know Were Environmental Activists

While the popularity of vegan's culture does, in part, stem from one's desire to look and feel good, there's more to the lifestyle than that.

Vegans know that the meat- and dairy-free lifestyle goes beyond health benefits and extends to heightened ethical consciousness and strides in conservation efforts.

In fact, veganism cuts dietary greenhouse gas emissions in half. Not only does the production, transportation, and storage of food contribute to emissions significantly, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that animal-based products release more emissions than plant-based products due to the methane animals produce along with the inefficiencies of growing livestock feed.

While some vegans choose to follow the diet for their own benefit, others think about it on a much larger scale than studies by the EPA illuminate. 

Activism is the force behind vegan education — and the ones who are often most influential in educating others about veganism are celebrities.

Inspired by anELLE article on celebrity vegans like Miley Cyrus and Arianna Grande, we're sharing quotes from a range of influential female vegans showing that their diet choices are founded on animal ethics and environmentalism more than anything else.

1. Alicia Silverstone: Actress, animal right's activist, author of vegan cookbook and founder of website, The Kind Life.
"I do feel that if environmentalists who are meat eaters were given the whole truth about how many of our resources are wasted on meat production, they'd be horrified. I can’t stress enough the connection between what goes on your plate and what's going on in the planet. I know it scares people, but you can’t deny the facts."

2. Ellen DeGeneres: Comedian, talk show host, and MAKER. Though DeGeneres has received criticism in the vegan community, she has contributed to the vegan cause as the coordinator of vegan outreach website formerly titled 'Going Vegan with Ellen' (now called Ellen's Healthy Living) and also as a contributor to stop Ag-Gag anti-whistleblower legislation in Tennessee, which would prohibit undercover investigators from recording footage of animal abuse on farms. 
"I personally chose to go vegan because I educated myself on factory farming and cruelty to animals and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living things with feelings. And I just couldn't disconnect from it any longer."

3. Chrissie Hynde: Lead singer of "The Pretenders," PETA supporter, and former owner of The VegiTerranean, a vegan restaurant in Akron, Ohio, among the top five vegan restaurants in America by Business Week before it was shut down in 2011
"The meat industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars lying to the public about their product. But no amount of false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals."

4. Ellen Page: Actress, Environmental Activist, studies Permaculture, and has been featured on CBC News to talk about the controversies behind biosolids.  
"Why are vegans made fun of while the inhumane factory farming process regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit?”

5. Jessica Chastain: Actress who topped PETA's list of Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities of 2012
"I'm a vegan. I don't want to torture anything. I guess it’s about trying to live a life where I am not contributing to the cruelty in the world."

6. Natalie Portman: Actress, who has gone back and forth with her personal vegan diet, and promotes veganism as a way to help better skin. She also wrote a reflection for the Huffington Post in 2011 about Jonathan Safran Foer's book, "Eating Animals" — bringing awareness about animal cruelty and factory farming practices that the book sheds light on. 
"Eating for me is how you proclaim your beliefs three times a day. That is why all religions have rules about eating. Three times a day I remind myself that I value life and do not want to cause pain or kill other living beings. That is why I eat the way I do."

7. Mayim Bialik: Actress, PETA Supporter
"It was after Jonathan Safran Foer's book, 'Eating Animals' that I had the education and the confidence and the personal conviction to say 'I don't know where to draw the line anymore so I am not going to draw it' I am going to step over the line’ and there’s been no turning back."

8. Joan Jet: Musician, advocate for vegan cooking.
"Twenty years ago I thought: What's the difference between eating a bloody steak and killing my dog, slitting him open and roasting him?"

NEXT: Keeping a Healthy Soul »

Related Stories:
Elizabeth Blackburn On Healthy Aging
How These Indigenous Women Are Combating Climate Change

Photo Credit: Getty images

Tags: Vegan