Veganuary, Weekday Vegetarians, Meatless Mondays and Now Reducetarians...

credit: Robert Couse-Baker

Just before the holidays, Brian Kateman emailed me about a new movement he had co-founded called Redecetarian, which aims to encourage reduced consumption of meat, fish, and dairy with a view to both reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health outcomes. Here's the scoop from the press release:

“Many people are aware that their food choices have real-world consequences but believe that the only solution is to completely eliminate meat from their diet,” said Kateman. “While this all-or-nothing mindset can be discouraging to the 95% of individuals who are not vegetarians or vegans, the #LessMeat Pledge empowers everyone to make healthier and more eco-friendly food choices in a manageable way under an inclusive identity - Reducetarian.”

I confess I was initially a little skeptical.

It's not that I disagree with the goals of the campaign. After all, reducing meat and dairy consumption is a prerequisite for tackling climate change and improving human health, even if it's politically tricky to bring about. It's just that we already have so many different terms, diets, concepts and movements being promoted for what is essentially a similar thing: Meatless Mondays, Weekday Vegetarianism, VB6 (Vegan Before 6), plant-based diets, veganuary etc.

You get the idea. I was pondering on the value of yet another conceptual framing of a fairly simple idea. But I might be overthinking it.

While the Weekday Vegetarian, VB6 and Meatless Mondays concepts focus on a very specific strategy—often with a view to being a gateway drug leading to further reductions—the Reducetarian concept, to me at least, suggests there is value in eating fewer animal products, and it's up to you how you achieve that goal. (It does begin with a pledge to eat less meat for 30 days.)

Human beings like to follow trends. We like to join clubs. The Reducetarian movement means there is one more club out there that is pursuing a very worthy, very important goal. And if it's a goal you'd like to support, there's an Indiegogo campaign underway to raise $20,000 ($15,000 of which will be matched by other donors) to build an online community, cookbook, app and educational workshops aimed at promoting a lower meat diet.