May 18, 2017

The Reducetarian Solution

3 minute read, in Behaviour / Culture / Social Issues

Ever consider reducing your meat intake? Brian Kateman’s new book gives you many reasons why changing the way you eat affects more than your life alone.

Back in high school I entertained the thought of vegetarianism. But as I’ve grown older and started to feel the effects of aging, the thought comes to mind more often. Raising animals for food is one of the major sources of pollution and environmental degradation. As mentioned in my previous post about the fashion industry, thinking about the future of my nephews and other kids has made me take many more second glances at my choices.

I recently picked up Brian Kateman’s newest book The Reducetarian Solution. It’s a book of mini essays chunked into three categories: mind, body, and planet. In some way, they all make the case that cutting down at least 10 % of the amount of meat you eat can transform the lives of yourself, animals, and the planet that we share.

Here are several of the many essays that stuck out for me:

Effective Reducetarian – William MacAskill
This piece revolves around the question: How can I make the biggest difference possible in my current situation? “…[I]f you are only reducing the amount of animal products you consume, rather than going entirely vegetarian or vegan, the most effective way to reduce animal suffering is to stop eating chicken, then eggs, then pork.”

An Anthropologic Survey of Carnovory and Morality – Avi Tuschman
Tuschman thinks eating meat tears at the conscience of our species. That we’re torn between our hunger and humility.

Three Mental Hacks to Help You Be a Reducetarian – Nick Cooney
Humans hold so many biases. One is the status quo bias: thinking that the way things are right now is the way they should be. Cooney tries to help old habits die.

Replenishing a Thirsty Planet – Wendy Pabich
The meat on our plates takes a huge amount of water to produce. Period.

It’s about much more than meat – Joan Dye Gussow
Gussow believes it’s not really about meat, but a lack of mindfulness about our impact on the planet – about our overconsumption.

Making the Invisible Visible: Exploitation of Livestock Workers Supports the Meat Industry – Molly Anderson
Today’s meat industry would not be able to sell meat at its current prices without exploiting workers.

The Food Desert Phenomenon – Hillary Shaw
A food dessert is defined as a place where there is an absence of affordable healthy food in poverty-stricken areas. In a food dessert, food may be plentiful – but not nutritious.

I’ve already been trying to reduce the amount of meat that I eat, but reading this book only made me want to manifest the thought into my daily actions even more. You can apply reducetarian thinking to different areas of your life as well. We should all buy less material things that we end up not being entertained by a week after. We should all be mindful about our consumption patterns. We should all think about our actions’ impact.

Some people think of reducetarianism as a new type of diet. However, I never liked the term diet. So, I like to think of this all as the following quotation states – as a bit or reorganizing.

“Reducing doesn’t automatically mean suffering, it just means reorganizing, often in ways that ultimately pay dividends.”
– Naomi Oreskes

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