GREEN FRIDAY: Reducetarianism

From veganism to vegetarianism to nutritionism, we've seen uge trends in Americans changing the way they eat for both personal health or environmental reasons. But have you heard of Reducetarianism?

Alex Bocco, Writer - The Reporter

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We’ve seen huge trends in Americans changing the way they eat for both personal health or environmental reasons–from veganism to vegetarianism to nutritionism. Similar to these diets, there is a new approach to changing your diet while still improving the environment in a less aggressive way: Reducetrariancism.

What is that?

According to the Reducetarian site, the movement is all about people who are committed to eating less meat of any kind, including dairy and eggs, “regardless of degree or motivation. Basically, a Reducetarian can be someone vegan, vegetarian, or simply someone trying to eat less animal products. The movement’s website also stated “this concept is appealing because not everyone is willing to follow an ‘all-or-nothing’ diet.”

Through this definition, I was able to recognize my own diet as reducetarian without even knowing it. This diet seems more inclusive and open minded than something as extreme as veganism (you go vegans! I just can’t do it). Chances are, you’re a reducetarian, too. Whether that be engaging in Meatless Mondays, adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, or choosing to consume meat from local, grass-fed farms only–this diet consist of doable steps.

In 2018, it is well known that animal agriculture makes a serious impact on the environment. Withagriculture being responsible for 9% of the U.S.’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, the factory farms are also producing around 500 million tons of manure each year. Much of this runs off into local streams or lakes, contaminating the local water resources. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, the US meat industry is responsible for approximately 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The supply and quality of freshwater on our planet is becoming more of an issue at an alarming rate; with serious droughts and water pollution affecting parts of the US it seems ludicrous thatit takes around 1,000 gallons of water to produce one day’s worth of the average American’s diet. This doesn’t even account for the amount of deforestation occurring to make enough space to grow more livestock to keep up with Americans’ demands. Deforestation results in a loss of biodiversity which affects our water, air, and local ecosystem.

If the environmental impact isn’t enough of a reason to consider reducing your meat intake, maybe the care (or lack thereof) for animals in the meat industry will. According to the USDA Meat Animals Production, Disposition and Income Summary of 2016, the total production of cattle (and calves), hogs, and pigs totaled 78.3 billion pounds. 78.3 billion pounds. Billions. And it is no secret that the conditions of large cattle and pig farms are inhumane and just terrible for the animals. Chickens are force fed until their bellies expand, cattle are separated from their calves and forced to walk around in their own manure, it’s sad.

It’s also no secret that reducing your meat intake can improve your health. According to the American Heart Association, limiting your meat intake can reduce your risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, strokes, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Of course, genetics also play a role but if you are from a family with a long history of these illness, your diet is one of your best lines of defense! Unlike past decades, it’s easier than before to learn how to create meals that give you the proper nutrients that your body needs without eating meat every time you need protein.

This less-aggressive movement of reducing your meat and animal product intake is creating waves in U.S. communities and I think it may be here to stay. While removing animal products completely from your lifestyle may be too extreme for you (and definitely for me), going meatless two or three days a week is totally doable. Be green to yourself, others, and the environment! Join the movement and be a Reducetarian!

Happy Green Friday!