I recently read an NPR article that explored the American relationship with meat consumption. According to the article, many say that they want to eat less meat–largely due to health concerns–but actual habits are slow to change.
Jeremiah and I are vegetarian; we have been for a while. (Actually, I’m a pescetarian; he’s a vegetarian. I still occasionally eat fish.) For us, it was mostly an ethical decision (driven by the fact that we have made friends with all the freaking farm animals). For others, its a decision driven by environmental factors or health concerns.
I thought the article was interesting; for me, it proved a point I have long suspected. That is, sounding the alarms against meat consumption doesn’t do that much good on it’s own. Rather than spur actual change, they just make people consider the fact that they should maybe think about changing…and then they don’t.
Honestly, I’m not the sort to just go around sounding those alarms. If you are interested in why I eat this way, I’ll happily discuss it. I may even write about it, but I’m not a “belligerent vegetarian.” I’m not going to argue with you about it. I’m not going to shame or guilt trip you. (In fact, in my experience, it generally works the other way around; there are meat eaters who get genuinely ANGRY with me when they find out I don’t eat meat. I still don’t understand that.)
Personally, I think that we’re going about this all wrong anyway. Vegetarianism (even on a “one meal a week” basis) is still being framed as a sacrifice, and, for the majority, that’s never going to fly. If it’s going to be embraced, people have to see how positive it can be for them: the positive outcome on their pocketbook, waistline, and health are good places to start.