Reducetarianism – Your Own Way to Help the Environment
You’ve heard it before: Your burger is bad for the environment! Research in recent years has discovered that the consumption of meat is a huge contributor to global warming due to the mass production, and general methods of the manufacturing process. More and more people are giving up meat in favour of the environment, while some are hesitant, and some people are just tired of hearing about it. However, Jenny Edwards introduces us to the concept ‘Reducetarianism’; yeah it’s a mouthful, but you might just discover that it fills you up as well as your burger.
Did you know that agriculture is the cause of 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions? It is astonishing how much of the population is totally unaware of how harmful the production of meat is to the environment. Producing meat, particularly beef, consumes unbelievable amounts of natural resources such as water, topsoil and fossil fuels; it also pollutes the air and water. It takes roughly 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat, but only 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. Also, the waste from unethical, mass-producing factory farms give off gases such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and methane – all gases that are extremely harmful to us.
You may reminisce over a time when people were simply split up into two dietary groups, meat eaters and vegetarians – well those days are over! Now we have Vegans, Pescetarians, Raw Vegans, Flexitarians, Fruitarians, and now… Reducetarians! You may already be familiar with the term ‘Reducetarian’, however, if you are not… let me enlighten you. If you identify as a Reducetarian, you are committed to cutting down on your meat intake in order to improve your overall health, support animal welfare, and help improve the environment. Quoting Reducetarian.org, ‘It is an identity, community, and movement’. It’s an incredibly realistic, non-radical way to see a positive and gradual change in the world; the website allows you to pledge what kind of route of Reducetarianism that you would like to embark on. The choices are as follows: Weekday Vegetarian, Vegetarian before 6 O’clock, Meatless Monday, and Vegan for a month. I know you’re probably thinking that this is another pretentious, attention-seeking association where people can label themselves, and ‘pretend’ that they care about the Earth, but if you educate yourself (if you haven’t already done so) I know you’ll be tempted to try Reducetarianism too.
I committed to being a Reducetarian for a few weeks, and in that time I decided to educate myself on factory farming, and watched documentaries such as ‘Cowspiracy’; once I gained knowledge on the subject, it just didn’t feel right to consume any animal products, and now I’m Vegan. All my life I insisted that I was a huge animal lover, and yet remained ignorant to the suffering that farm animals were experiencing just so I could satisfy my taste buds for a few moments. I’ve always been a ‘foodie’, I eat out all of the time, and cooking is one of my favourite hobbies – so I NEVER thought I would ever make the decision to become Vegan.
The point of the Reducetarianism movement is not to try to make everyone feel terribly guilty about eating meat. Nor is it to convert people into vegans (even though that would be nice); it’s to convince people to consume less animal products than usual, to benefit their own health, the environment, and discourage the mistreatment of farm animals. If you feel as if you can’t possibly eat less meat, eating better quality meat and other organic produce is still a great solution.