Treehugger: On Vegetarianism

On the green/sustainability site Treehugger, blog contributor Kelly Rossiter has announted that she’s going to be devoting her blog posts, for some time going forward, to exploring issues of vegetarianism.

Being a vegetarian myself (for about 13 years now), I sometimes find the issue of diet to be a tricky issue. Fairly often, I’m asked about why I’m a vegetarian and I tend to frame my answer in terms of personal choice. In other words, I try to explain why I don’t eat meat without implying that the person I’m talking to shouldn’t eat meat. I assume that a person’s curiosity about my diet isn’t a request to be converted.

Neverthess, I wouldn’t be vegetarian if I didn’t think it was the right thing to do – environmentally, politically, ethically. And the scope and impact of these issues is such that my personal practice is not going to make a difference on its own. Rather, I think there are a number of really strong arguments to be made that the world would be better off if vegetarianism was the rule rather than the exception.

While blunt evangelism is unlikely to win over too many people, I think Rossiter’s gradualist approach might do a lot of good toward convinving people (especially people who already care enough about green issues to read Treehugger) that vegetarianism is a reasonable choice, both as a response to the social and environmental issues facing us today, and as lifesytle.

Here’s a snippet from her introductory post, “On Moving Toward Vegetarianism“:

There’s no question that more people are embracing a vegetarian diet, especially in the under 30 age group, but there is still resistance to it in the rest of the population. There are many people out there who are flummoxed by the idea of cooking and eating a meal without meat. I’d like to change that. The goal is to move toward vegetarianism. I don’t intend to bully you, or guilt you, or scare you into becoming total vegetarians. I don’t expect you to read my columns and eschew the Thanksgiving turkey, but every week I am going to try to make you think a bit more about what you eat and what it means in a larger context. In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about all aspects of vegetarianism; personal, social, ecological, and political.

What might make this project more interesting to a broader (i.e. non-vegetarian) audience is that Rossiter is not a vegetarian. Rather, she’s an omnivore who has been moving steadily toward vegetarianism as she learns more about the provenance of meat and, she seems to suggest, the social, political, and environmental impact of various meat-related industries.

She’s also going to be including weekly “challenges” for people looking to acclimate themselves to cooking meatless meals.

For anybody who’s considered a vegetarian diet, or even for those who have assumed that vegetarianism wasn’t for them, I’d definitely recommend checking back with this column.


One Comment on “Treehugger: On Vegetarianism”

  1. Joey says:

    Rossiter’s gradual approach to vegetarianism is one that can be seen more and more frequently in the US. Flexitarianism, the act of cutting back but not entirely eliminating meat, is gaining popularity for a number of reasons: environmental, economic, moral etc. I work for an non-profit public health campaign called Meatless Mondays, which takes a medical spin on it. The mission of Meatless Mondays is to reduce American’s meat intake by 15% thus reducing an individual’s chances of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Reducing your meat by 15% can be achieved just by cutting meat out of your diet one day per week (we encourage Mondays, hence the name.) If anyone is interested in healthy, affordable, tasty meatless recipes, I suggest you log-on to We’re affiliated with John’s Hopkins Medical School, so it can also be a great resource for health articles and tips.

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