full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Brian Kateman: How to reduce your diet's carbon footprint — without going vegan

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Can we save our planet? Will we continue to have access to water, food, energy, and other ecosystem goods that our planet provides? Each hour, three species disappear. Each day, 10.000 people die from water sgrtaohe or contamination. Fourteen bliioln pounds of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year; most of it is psatlic, and it will take nearly a thousand years for it to degrade. Due to global warming, the Arctic may be ice free, and thsanuods of cietis, including New York City, may be udneatrewr. You've all undoubtedly heard of many of these statistics before, and likely, at least so far, you aren't impressed. (Laughter) Yet still, in some sense, these facts turned societal platitudes, motivate us. They certainly motivate me, and I, perhaps like many of you, am the typical environmentalist. I gleefully present my refillable cup to the Starbucks btrisaa, I love to shop at Trader Joe's, and I always bring my "Go green" bag. If you are anything like me, I spend one to two menuits in a fit of confusion trying to recycle the fork, bowl, napkin, and food that constitutes my salad. While my New Yorker instinct is to avoid eye contact with an over-eager side walk soliciting eolirnievnmstant, I proudly flash them a smile. smpliy to remind them that I support what they do. And as I rceleft on my eco-friendly day, I sleep like a baby knowing I made a drcifneefe. I know what you are thinking, "You could do so much more," and you'd be right. I could do a lot more. I could compost, and I don't. I could walk to work through cnrtael Park, and I don't. As one environmental campaign suggested, I could get clean and save water by srienhowg with a friend or even an attractive stranger. (Laughter) Don't get too excited for me, I shower alone, often, for many minutes at a time. (Laughter) Undoubtedly, we all could do more, but what if I told you that I did make a more duiicflft sacrifice for our pnlaet? What if I told you that I am a vegan? (Laughter) Did you feel that? (Laughter) You did. One word and everyone gets a little bit nervous. You can be honest with me, this is TEDx, it's a safe sapce, you feel a little aawwkrd. Why? Because I am a vegan? And presumably, many of you are not? What is that about? Well, we've all had that cvsntoeoiarn before. You are out to dnneir with a friend or colleague, and you learn that the psoren you are with is a vegan. You had no idea, you are sripsuerd, and while the person in front of you may not look like this (Laughter) or like this, your perception of them has immediately changed. There is no going back to whatever it was you thought of them before this moment. Back at dinner, the vegan likely feels compelled to explain to you that while he or she is a vegan, by no maens does your culinary decision isipnre offense. You, in turn, decide to kindly acknowledge that reconciling gtsreue, and attempt to, very quickly, move the conversation along to a more unifying toipc. Yet, you still feel whatever it is you or your neighbor might be fleneig right now. A tinge of nervousness, a pulse of drsoimfoct, the mfatntsoaeiin of a mouth twinge, or the eyes widening. There is me, and then there is you. And somehow, our pcpeterion of one another is no longer the same. Well, as it tnurs out, I am not a vegan. (Laughter) Uff! (Laughter) I am sorry to all the vegans in the room who have lost one of their own. (Laughter) To the rest of you, you can safely take a deep sigh of rlieef knowing I'm a carnivore just like you. But whatever connotations are in the word vegan, and the experiences those connotations create in our mind, I am absolutely fncatasied by them, and think they may hold, at least in part, a key to silnovg complex problems like glbaol warming and the loss of biodiversity. Semantics aside for just a moment, we all know that vegans and vegetarians, the modern day pioneers atbniaisng from meat, are onto something, even if we ourselves chosoe to eat eggs and meat. We know our planet is in tloubre, and we know that meat production, from the clearing of ladns and trees to the transportation of these products accounts for nearly 20% of global green hsoue gas emissions; 20%. That is why a vegetarian's footprint is nearly half that of a meat lover's. And for a vegan, it's even lower. We also know that meat pucodoirtn requires a lot of wetar. Producing just one pnuod of meat protein requires ten times the amount of water as producing one pound of grain protein. It's a lot of water. We also know, perhaps most mloarly salient, that due to factory farming, ainmlas are not treated very well. They're not. They are inirbdecly smart and experience pain just like us. So as we look into the eyes of this very aaldorbe baby pig, we have to ask ourselves, "Why do over 90% of Americans continue to eat meat?" Bacon! (Laughter) Bacon is the reason we eat meat. For many, the mere smell of bacon in the morning, that crispy crunchy ttxuree, that savory salty ttsae, they give us a reason to smile. That spicy buffalo wing, that jciuy setak, they are the reason we eat meat. They satisfy our most primal urges. So what should we do? On the one hand, we know that meat gives us a reason to slmie in the morning, and on the other, we know it sdlerdtas our instincts to uphold our snese of mtalrioy, with it's questionable impact on the planet. Plus, as some of the miedacl literature suggest, meat may not be very halhety for us. Certainly, we can treat each meal as a choice, as it you indulge, or make a more restrained decision, we could simply eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. That seems simple enough, and as many have sgeegtusd, if we simply followed a mseatels Monday diet, whereby we abstain from eating meat on Mondays, we'd have a billion vegetarians overnight. That would be huge. But what is a person who eats less meat? They may not be a vatieagren, or vagen, or even on any particular diet. Where do they fall on the seupctrm? I've discovered that there are a few words, each with their own connotations, to drsbciee a person who eats less meat. You could say: I am a semi-vegetarian, I sometimes eat meat, and sometimes I don't. You could say: I am a mostly-vegetarian, I mostly eat fruits and vegetables, I sometimes eat meat, but I try not to eat a lot of it. Or you could say, and this one is by far my favorite: that I am flexitarian; I am flexible about it. (Laughter) Sometimes I eat meat, and sometimes I don't. So, imagine we're back at dinner, and the person you're with has just eilexanpd to you that he or she is a vegan. You dicdee to enthusiastically share that you get it, "I am a flexitarian!" "I am flexible about it!" (Laughter) "I sometimes eat meat, and sometimes I don't, but I try not to eat a lot of it." As you continue to eat your steak, and here she continues to eat her vegetable khmeea ball, you realize, perhaps uuilsocsnocny, that you still fall somewhere different along this mraol landscape. We know with simple ioiuntitn, that flexitarian sounds, well, flexible. That by choosing to eat meat sometimes, as opposed to never eating meat, you alter your moral standards for primal urges and convenience. It's weak, and it's isnitnsecnot. As we know from advances in cognitive science, the brain does not do well with itseoecnnsiicns, it loves fasle dichotomies, and need compartmentalization. And we can see how this plays out, one mitnue, you are a noble lover of all frmos of life, and the next, you are a ravenous animal, or at least, ravenously eating one. So, whatever it is about words like flexitarian and vegan, we know they conjure entirely different perceptions of who we are. And that these portenceips matter. This seemingly innocuous labels to describe our entaig choices mtaetr a great deal. They dniermete how seriously we are taken, how our messages are understood, and our feeling of belonging. Consider our related example, climate change versus global warming. Scientifically, they have different meanings, one refers to climate, while the other temperature alone, but regardless of what they actually mean, they cjnroue different mental associations. A 2014 study from Yale University found that the term 'global warming' was associated with greater public understanding, more emotional enmeeggnat and spurpot for personal and collective action than the term 'climate change.' Global wnmriag generates more intense worries and negative reactions than cmtliae change. That is why I try to use the phrase 'global warming' more than 'climate chngae.' So, we see the same type of problem with wodrs like flexitarian and semi-vegetarian. They all describe incredibly positive steps to the more sustainable planet, but they largely invoke negative associations, feelings of division, and moral incompatibility. So it occurred to me, we need a word that describes a cmnumotiy of individuals who are committed to reducing their consumption of meat, and can encourage others to reduce their consumption of cows, chickens, pigs, lambs, and sofeoad. It is my hope that this word is 'reducitarian.' That it can inspire a community of individuals to simply eat less meat. I bet many of you here today are already reducitarians. How many of you try to eat less meat? You are all reducitarians already. And to my vegan and vegetarian friends, you too are reducitarians, because you are so very much cmetoitmd to rucednig your consumption of meat. Reducitarianism is the practice of reducing one's personal consumption of meat; red meat, seafood, and poultry. Reducitarians may still enjoy the taste of meat, or not cceonrend with making a drastic lifestyle change, but they are committed to reducing their consumption of meat nonetheless. With more fruits and veggies, reducitarians live lgoenr, healthier, and happier lives. They set manageable and therefore, actionable goals to gradually reduce their meat consumption. For example, they may order a smaller steak, or skip eating meat for dinner if they had it for lunch, or simply eat meat only on the weekends. Reducitarians know that by choosing to eat less meat, they are not only going to improve themselves and the environment, but farm animals, as well. The concept of reducitarianism is appealing because not everyone is able or willing to follow a completely vegetarian diet. This is a difficult but important realization; not everyone is able or willing to foollw a cemoltpley vegetarian diet. A Gallup poll conducted in 2012 asked a diverse group of Americans the following question, "In terms of your eating preference, do you consider yourself to be a vegetarian or not?" How would you respond? What do you think they found? What they found was that on average, only 5% of Americans consider themselves to be a vegetarian. But what was so interesting about this 5% is that it remained largely unchanged from the 6% that was rceoredd in 1999 and 2001. In other words, the amount of vegetarians in the United States has raeemnid about the same: extremely low. As you might imagine, this pearcgntee is even lower for vegans. Similar statistics have been observed throughout the world. just in case you aren't convinced, a separate study found that among those who consider themselves to be a vegetarian nearly two-thirds of them had indicated that they've recently eaten meat when they were asked to recall their diet. These individuals were not vegntaaeris or vgenas, they were reducitarians. But they were forced to play mental gymnastics with themselves without a word to describe who they are. And this used to happen to me all the time. My friends and family knew that I was a vegetarian. Once in a while, we would go out to eat, I'd order bacon with my eggs and pencaaks, and they would literally catch me in the act red handed, eating a silce of bacon. (Laughter) Do you know what it's like for a Jewish vegetarian to be caught eating bacon? (laehugtr) That is a double wmmhay no one wants to experience with their morning coffee. So look, what I think this means is that even though we know it would be better, more healthy, and environmentally ferndily if everyone just stopped eating meat. This is an ideal, a romantic ideal, that we have been unable to achieve. This message of completely eliminating meat consumption has worked very well, or somewhat well, for the individuals who are vegetarians or vegans, but has failed to capture the attention of the rest of us. The 95% of us who cntnoiue to inhabit this planet. So yes, reducitarianism is a message for the 95% of us. We should consider eating less meat for the sake of our health and the environment. We can learn a lot from vegans and vegetarians who have so admirably reduced their meat consumption, that they effectively eat none at all. But vegans and vegetarians can also laren a great deal from those who simply strive to eat less meat. In many ways, the use of categorical imperatives that we must never eat meat, has put vegans and vegetarians and those who simply strive to eat less meat in a boxing match for moral superiority. It's exhausting, and as the data suggests, lreagly unproductive. ritrasaeuicdnim is a message that allows us to fcuos not on our differences but on our shared commitment to eating less meat, regardless of where we fall on the spectrum. I believe that this reducitarian message will absolutely terrify the meat industry. Because it is a message that will produce the greatest impact on the causes we all care so deeply about. After all, what could possibly matter more than the increased well-being of our health and the eenvniornmt. It is my hope that we can leverage "reducitarian." A piivoste and inclusive term of moral wrtoh to encourage ourselves and others to eat less meat, improving our health, and the environment, and making a lot of animals very happy in the process. It starts with us, all of us, to encourage ourselves and others to simply eat less meat. So this is my message to you, consider eating less meat this week, and be a reducitarian. You can change the world by ordering a smaller steak, or doing something more. But don't just sit by and ignore what you already know. Consider eating less meat and be a riuadaitrcen. Save our planet, improve your health, and save a lot of animals. Thank you so much. (asauplpe)

Open Cloze

Can we save our planet? Will we continue to have access to water, food, energy, and other ecosystem goods that our planet provides? Each hour, three species disappear. Each day, 10.000 people die from water ________ or contamination. Fourteen _______ pounds of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year; most of it is _______, and it will take nearly a thousand years for it to degrade. Due to global warming, the Arctic may be ice free, and _________ of ______, including New York City, may be __________. You've all undoubtedly heard of many of these statistics before, and likely, at least so far, you aren't impressed. (Laughter) Yet still, in some sense, these facts turned societal platitudes, motivate us. They certainly motivate me, and I, perhaps like many of you, am the typical environmentalist. I gleefully present my refillable cup to the Starbucks _______, I love to shop at Trader Joe's, and I always bring my "Go green" bag. If you are anything like me, I spend one to two _______ in a fit of confusion trying to recycle the fork, bowl, napkin, and food that constitutes my salad. While my New Yorker instinct is to avoid eye contact with an over-eager side walk soliciting ________________, I proudly flash them a smile. ______ to remind them that I support what they do. And as I _______ on my eco-friendly day, I sleep like a baby knowing I made a __________. I know what you are thinking, "You could do so much more," and you'd be right. I could do a lot more. I could compost, and I don't. I could walk to work through _______ Park, and I don't. As one environmental campaign suggested, I could get clean and save water by _________ with a friend or even an attractive stranger. (Laughter) Don't get too excited for me, I shower alone, often, for many minutes at a time. (Laughter) Undoubtedly, we all could do more, but what if I told you that I did make a more _________ sacrifice for our ______? What if I told you that I am a vegan? (Laughter) Did you feel that? (Laughter) You did. One word and everyone gets a little bit nervous. You can be honest with me, this is TEDx, it's a safe _____, you feel a little _______. Why? Because I am a vegan? And presumably, many of you are not? What is that about? Well, we've all had that ____________ before. You are out to ______ with a friend or colleague, and you learn that the ______ you are with is a vegan. You had no idea, you are _________, and while the person in front of you may not look like this (Laughter) or like this, your perception of them has immediately changed. There is no going back to whatever it was you thought of them before this moment. Back at dinner, the vegan likely feels compelled to explain to you that while he or she is a vegan, by no _____ does your culinary decision _______ offense. You, in turn, decide to kindly acknowledge that reconciling _______, and attempt to, very quickly, move the conversation along to a more unifying _____. Yet, you still feel whatever it is you or your neighbor might be _______ right now. A tinge of nervousness, a pulse of __________, the _____________ of a mouth twinge, or the eyes widening. There is me, and then there is you. And somehow, our __________ of one another is no longer the same. Well, as it _____ out, I am not a vegan. (Laughter) Uff! (Laughter) I am sorry to all the vegans in the room who have lost one of their own. (Laughter) To the rest of you, you can safely take a deep sigh of ______ knowing I'm a carnivore just like you. But whatever connotations are in the word vegan, and the experiences those connotations create in our mind, I am absolutely __________ by them, and think they may hold, at least in part, a key to _______ complex problems like ______ warming and the loss of biodiversity. Semantics aside for just a moment, we all know that vegans and vegetarians, the modern day pioneers __________ from meat, are onto something, even if we ourselves ______ to eat eggs and meat. We know our planet is in _______, and we know that meat production, from the clearing of _____ and trees to the transportation of these products accounts for nearly 20% of global green _____ gas emissions; 20%. That is why a vegetarian's footprint is nearly half that of a meat lover's. And for a vegan, it's even lower. We also know that meat __________ requires a lot of _____. Producing just one _____ of meat protein requires ten times the amount of water as producing one pound of grain protein. It's a lot of water. We also know, perhaps most _______ salient, that due to factory farming, _______ are not treated very well. They're not. They are __________ smart and experience pain just like us. So as we look into the eyes of this very ________ baby pig, we have to ask ourselves, "Why do over 90% of Americans continue to eat meat?" Bacon! (Laughter) Bacon is the reason we eat meat. For many, the mere smell of bacon in the morning, that crispy crunchy _______, that savory salty _____, they give us a reason to smile. That spicy buffalo wing, that _____ _____, they are the reason we eat meat. They satisfy our most primal urges. So what should we do? On the one hand, we know that meat gives us a reason to _____ in the morning, and on the other, we know it _________ our instincts to uphold our _____ of ________, with it's questionable impact on the planet. Plus, as some of the _______ literature suggest, meat may not be very _______ for us. Certainly, we can treat each meal as a choice, as it you indulge, or make a more restrained decision, we could simply eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. That seems simple enough, and as many have _________, if we simply followed a ________ Monday diet, whereby we abstain from eating meat on Mondays, we'd have a billion vegetarians overnight. That would be huge. But what is a person who eats less meat? They may not be a __________, or _____, or even on any particular diet. Where do they fall on the ________? I've discovered that there are a few words, each with their own connotations, to ________ a person who eats less meat. You could say: I am a semi-vegetarian, I sometimes eat meat, and sometimes I don't. You could say: I am a mostly-vegetarian, I mostly eat fruits and vegetables, I sometimes eat meat, but I try not to eat a lot of it. Or you could say, and this one is by far my favorite: that I am flexitarian; I am flexible about it. (Laughter) Sometimes I eat meat, and sometimes I don't. So, imagine we're back at dinner, and the person you're with has just _________ to you that he or she is a vegan. You ______ to enthusiastically share that you get it, "I am a flexitarian!" "I am flexible about it!" (Laughter) "I sometimes eat meat, and sometimes I don't, but I try not to eat a lot of it." As you continue to eat your steak, and here she continues to eat her vegetable ______ ball, you realize, perhaps _____________, that you still fall somewhere different along this _____ landscape. We know with simple _________, that flexitarian sounds, well, flexible. That by choosing to eat meat sometimes, as opposed to never eating meat, you alter your moral standards for primal urges and convenience. It's weak, and it's ____________. As we know from advances in cognitive science, the brain does not do well with _______________, it loves _____ dichotomies, and need compartmentalization. And we can see how this plays out, one ______, you are a noble lover of all _____ of life, and the next, you are a ravenous animal, or at least, ravenously eating one. So, whatever it is about words like flexitarian and vegan, we know they conjure entirely different perceptions of who we are. And that these ___________ matter. This seemingly innocuous labels to describe our ______ choices ______ a great deal. They _________ how seriously we are taken, how our messages are understood, and our feeling of belonging. Consider our related example, climate change versus global warming. Scientifically, they have different meanings, one refers to climate, while the other temperature alone, but regardless of what they actually mean, they _______ different mental associations. A 2014 study from Yale University found that the term 'global warming' was associated with greater public understanding, more emotional __________ and _______ for personal and collective action than the term 'climate change.' Global _______ generates more intense worries and negative reactions than _______ change. That is why I try to use the phrase 'global warming' more than 'climate ______.' So, we see the same type of problem with _____ like flexitarian and semi-vegetarian. They all describe incredibly positive steps to the more sustainable planet, but they largely invoke negative associations, feelings of division, and moral incompatibility. So it occurred to me, we need a word that describes a _________ of individuals who are committed to reducing their consumption of meat, and can encourage others to reduce their consumption of cows, chickens, pigs, lambs, and _______. It is my hope that this word is 'reducitarian.' That it can inspire a community of individuals to simply eat less meat. I bet many of you here today are already reducitarians. How many of you try to eat less meat? You are all reducitarians already. And to my vegan and vegetarian friends, you too are reducitarians, because you are so very much _________ to ________ your consumption of meat. Reducitarianism is the practice of reducing one's personal consumption of meat; red meat, seafood, and poultry. Reducitarians may still enjoy the taste of meat, or not _________ with making a drastic lifestyle change, but they are committed to reducing their consumption of meat nonetheless. With more fruits and veggies, reducitarians live ______, healthier, and happier lives. They set manageable and therefore, actionable goals to gradually reduce their meat consumption. For example, they may order a smaller steak, or skip eating meat for dinner if they had it for lunch, or simply eat meat only on the weekends. Reducitarians know that by choosing to eat less meat, they are not only going to improve themselves and the environment, but farm animals, as well. The concept of reducitarianism is appealing because not everyone is able or willing to follow a completely vegetarian diet. This is a difficult but important realization; not everyone is able or willing to ______ a __________ vegetarian diet. A Gallup poll conducted in 2012 asked a diverse group of Americans the following question, "In terms of your eating preference, do you consider yourself to be a vegetarian or not?" How would you respond? What do you think they found? What they found was that on average, only 5% of Americans consider themselves to be a vegetarian. But what was so interesting about this 5% is that it remained largely unchanged from the 6% that was ________ in 1999 and 2001. In other words, the amount of vegetarians in the United States has ________ about the same: extremely low. As you might imagine, this __________ is even lower for vegans. Similar statistics have been observed throughout the world. just in case you aren't convinced, a separate study found that among those who consider themselves to be a vegetarian nearly two-thirds of them had indicated that they've recently eaten meat when they were asked to recall their diet. These individuals were not ___________ or ______, they were reducitarians. But they were forced to play mental gymnastics with themselves without a word to describe who they are. And this used to happen to me all the time. My friends and family knew that I was a vegetarian. Once in a while, we would go out to eat, I'd order bacon with my eggs and ________, and they would literally catch me in the act red handed, eating a _____ of bacon. (Laughter) Do you know what it's like for a Jewish vegetarian to be caught eating bacon? (________) That is a double ______ no one wants to experience with their morning coffee. So look, what I think this means is that even though we know it would be better, more healthy, and environmentally ________ if everyone just stopped eating meat. This is an ideal, a romantic ideal, that we have been unable to achieve. This message of completely eliminating meat consumption has worked very well, or somewhat well, for the individuals who are vegetarians or vegans, but has failed to capture the attention of the rest of us. The 95% of us who ________ to inhabit this planet. So yes, reducitarianism is a message for the 95% of us. We should consider eating less meat for the sake of our health and the environment. We can learn a lot from vegans and vegetarians who have so admirably reduced their meat consumption, that they effectively eat none at all. But vegans and vegetarians can also _____ a great deal from those who simply strive to eat less meat. In many ways, the use of categorical imperatives that we must never eat meat, has put vegans and vegetarians and those who simply strive to eat less meat in a boxing match for moral superiority. It's exhausting, and as the data suggests, _______ unproductive. _______________ is a message that allows us to _____ not on our differences but on our shared commitment to eating less meat, regardless of where we fall on the spectrum. I believe that this reducitarian message will absolutely terrify the meat industry. Because it is a message that will produce the greatest impact on the causes we all care so deeply about. After all, what could possibly matter more than the increased well-being of our health and the ___________. It is my hope that we can leverage "reducitarian." A ________ and inclusive term of moral _____ to encourage ourselves and others to eat less meat, improving our health, and the environment, and making a lot of animals very happy in the process. It starts with us, all of us, to encourage ourselves and others to simply eat less meat. So this is my message to you, consider eating less meat this week, and be a reducitarian. You can change the world by ordering a smaller steak, or doing something more. But don't just sit by and ignore what you already know. Consider eating less meat and be a ____________. Save our planet, improve your health, and save a lot of animals. Thank you so much. (________)

Solution

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  111. manifestation
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  113. climate

Original Text

Can we save our planet? Will we continue to have access to water, food, energy, and other ecosystem goods that our planet provides? Each hour, three species disappear. Each day, 10.000 people die from water shortage or contamination. Fourteen billion pounds of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year; most of it is plastic, and it will take nearly a thousand years for it to degrade. Due to global warming, the Arctic may be ice free, and thousands of cities, including New York City, may be underwater. You've all undoubtedly heard of many of these statistics before, and likely, at least so far, you aren't impressed. (Laughter) Yet still, in some sense, these facts turned societal platitudes, motivate us. They certainly motivate me, and I, perhaps like many of you, am the typical environmentalist. I gleefully present my refillable cup to the Starbucks barista, I love to shop at Trader Joe's, and I always bring my "Go green" bag. If you are anything like me, I spend one to two minutes in a fit of confusion trying to recycle the fork, bowl, napkin, and food that constitutes my salad. While my New Yorker instinct is to avoid eye contact with an over-eager side walk soliciting environmentalist, I proudly flash them a smile. Simply to remind them that I support what they do. And as I reflect on my eco-friendly day, I sleep like a baby knowing I made a difference. I know what you are thinking, "You could do so much more," and you'd be right. I could do a lot more. I could compost, and I don't. I could walk to work through Central Park, and I don't. As one environmental campaign suggested, I could get clean and save water by showering with a friend or even an attractive stranger. (Laughter) Don't get too excited for me, I shower alone, often, for many minutes at a time. (Laughter) Undoubtedly, we all could do more, but what if I told you that I did make a more difficult sacrifice for our planet? What if I told you that I am a vegan? (Laughter) Did you feel that? (Laughter) You did. One word and everyone gets a little bit nervous. You can be honest with me, this is TEDx, it's a safe space, you feel a little awkward. Why? Because I am a vegan? And presumably, many of you are not? What is that about? Well, we've all had that conversation before. You are out to dinner with a friend or colleague, and you learn that the person you are with is a vegan. You had no idea, you are surprised, and while the person in front of you may not look like this (Laughter) or like this, your perception of them has immediately changed. There is no going back to whatever it was you thought of them before this moment. Back at dinner, the vegan likely feels compelled to explain to you that while he or she is a vegan, by no means does your culinary decision inspire offense. You, in turn, decide to kindly acknowledge that reconciling gesture, and attempt to, very quickly, move the conversation along to a more unifying topic. Yet, you still feel whatever it is you or your neighbor might be feeling right now. A tinge of nervousness, a pulse of discomfort, the manifestation of a mouth twinge, or the eyes widening. There is me, and then there is you. And somehow, our perception of one another is no longer the same. Well, as it turns out, I am not a vegan. (Laughter) Uff! (Laughter) I am sorry to all the vegans in the room who have lost one of their own. (Laughter) To the rest of you, you can safely take a deep sigh of relief knowing I'm a carnivore just like you. But whatever connotations are in the word vegan, and the experiences those connotations create in our mind, I am absolutely fascinated by them, and think they may hold, at least in part, a key to solving complex problems like global warming and the loss of biodiversity. Semantics aside for just a moment, we all know that vegans and vegetarians, the modern day pioneers abstaining from meat, are onto something, even if we ourselves choose to eat eggs and meat. We know our planet is in trouble, and we know that meat production, from the clearing of lands and trees to the transportation of these products accounts for nearly 20% of global green house gas emissions; 20%. That is why a vegetarian's footprint is nearly half that of a meat lover's. And for a vegan, it's even lower. We also know that meat production requires a lot of water. Producing just one pound of meat protein requires ten times the amount of water as producing one pound of grain protein. It's a lot of water. We also know, perhaps most morally salient, that due to factory farming, animals are not treated very well. They're not. They are incredibly smart and experience pain just like us. So as we look into the eyes of this very adorable baby pig, we have to ask ourselves, "Why do over 90% of Americans continue to eat meat?" Bacon! (Laughter) Bacon is the reason we eat meat. For many, the mere smell of bacon in the morning, that crispy crunchy texture, that savory salty taste, they give us a reason to smile. That spicy buffalo wing, that juicy steak, they are the reason we eat meat. They satisfy our most primal urges. So what should we do? On the one hand, we know that meat gives us a reason to smile in the morning, and on the other, we know it straddles our instincts to uphold our sense of morality, with it's questionable impact on the planet. Plus, as some of the medical literature suggest, meat may not be very healthy for us. Certainly, we can treat each meal as a choice, as it you indulge, or make a more restrained decision, we could simply eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. That seems simple enough, and as many have suggested, if we simply followed a meatless Monday diet, whereby we abstain from eating meat on Mondays, we'd have a billion vegetarians overnight. That would be huge. But what is a person who eats less meat? They may not be a vegetarian, or vegan, or even on any particular diet. Where do they fall on the spectrum? I've discovered that there are a few words, each with their own connotations, to describe a person who eats less meat. You could say: I am a semi-vegetarian, I sometimes eat meat, and sometimes I don't. You could say: I am a mostly-vegetarian, I mostly eat fruits and vegetables, I sometimes eat meat, but I try not to eat a lot of it. Or you could say, and this one is by far my favorite: that I am flexitarian; I am flexible about it. (Laughter) Sometimes I eat meat, and sometimes I don't. So, imagine we're back at dinner, and the person you're with has just explained to you that he or she is a vegan. You decide to enthusiastically share that you get it, "I am a flexitarian!" "I am flexible about it!" (Laughter) "I sometimes eat meat, and sometimes I don't, but I try not to eat a lot of it." As you continue to eat your steak, and here she continues to eat her vegetable kheema ball, you realize, perhaps unconsciously, that you still fall somewhere different along this moral landscape. We know with simple intuition, that flexitarian sounds, well, flexible. That by choosing to eat meat sometimes, as opposed to never eating meat, you alter your moral standards for primal urges and convenience. It's weak, and it's inconsistent. As we know from advances in cognitive science, the brain does not do well with inconsistencies, it loves false dichotomies, and need compartmentalization. And we can see how this plays out, one minute, you are a noble lover of all forms of life, and the next, you are a ravenous animal, or at least, ravenously eating one. So, whatever it is about words like flexitarian and vegan, we know they conjure entirely different perceptions of who we are. And that these perceptions matter. This seemingly innocuous labels to describe our eating choices matter a great deal. They determine how seriously we are taken, how our messages are understood, and our feeling of belonging. Consider our related example, climate change versus global warming. Scientifically, they have different meanings, one refers to climate, while the other temperature alone, but regardless of what they actually mean, they conjure different mental associations. A 2014 study from Yale University found that the term 'global warming' was associated with greater public understanding, more emotional engagement and support for personal and collective action than the term 'climate change.' Global warming generates more intense worries and negative reactions than climate change. That is why I try to use the phrase 'global warming' more than 'climate change.' So, we see the same type of problem with words like flexitarian and semi-vegetarian. They all describe incredibly positive steps to the more sustainable planet, but they largely invoke negative associations, feelings of division, and moral incompatibility. So it occurred to me, we need a word that describes a community of individuals who are committed to reducing their consumption of meat, and can encourage others to reduce their consumption of cows, chickens, pigs, lambs, and seafood. It is my hope that this word is 'reducitarian.' That it can inspire a community of individuals to simply eat less meat. I bet many of you here today are already reducitarians. How many of you try to eat less meat? You are all reducitarians already. And to my vegan and vegetarian friends, you too are reducitarians, because you are so very much committed to reducing your consumption of meat. Reducitarianism is the practice of reducing one's personal consumption of meat; red meat, seafood, and poultry. Reducitarians may still enjoy the taste of meat, or not concerned with making a drastic lifestyle change, but they are committed to reducing their consumption of meat nonetheless. With more fruits and veggies, reducitarians live longer, healthier, and happier lives. They set manageable and therefore, actionable goals to gradually reduce their meat consumption. For example, they may order a smaller steak, or skip eating meat for dinner if they had it for lunch, or simply eat meat only on the weekends. Reducitarians know that by choosing to eat less meat, they are not only going to improve themselves and the environment, but farm animals, as well. The concept of reducitarianism is appealing because not everyone is able or willing to follow a completely vegetarian diet. This is a difficult but important realization; not everyone is able or willing to follow a completely vegetarian diet. A Gallup poll conducted in 2012 asked a diverse group of Americans the following question, "In terms of your eating preference, do you consider yourself to be a vegetarian or not?" How would you respond? What do you think they found? What they found was that on average, only 5% of Americans consider themselves to be a vegetarian. But what was so interesting about this 5% is that it remained largely unchanged from the 6% that was recorded in 1999 and 2001. In other words, the amount of vegetarians in the United States has remained about the same: extremely low. As you might imagine, this percentage is even lower for vegans. Similar statistics have been observed throughout the world. just in case you aren't convinced, a separate study found that among those who consider themselves to be a vegetarian nearly two-thirds of them had indicated that they've recently eaten meat when they were asked to recall their diet. These individuals were not vegetarians or vegans, they were reducitarians. But they were forced to play mental gymnastics with themselves without a word to describe who they are. And this used to happen to me all the time. My friends and family knew that I was a vegetarian. Once in a while, we would go out to eat, I'd order bacon with my eggs and pancakes, and they would literally catch me in the act red handed, eating a slice of bacon. (Laughter) Do you know what it's like for a Jewish vegetarian to be caught eating bacon? (Laughter) That is a double whammy no one wants to experience with their morning coffee. So look, what I think this means is that even though we know it would be better, more healthy, and environmentally friendly if everyone just stopped eating meat. This is an ideal, a romantic ideal, that we have been unable to achieve. This message of completely eliminating meat consumption has worked very well, or somewhat well, for the individuals who are vegetarians or vegans, but has failed to capture the attention of the rest of us. The 95% of us who continue to inhabit this planet. So yes, reducitarianism is a message for the 95% of us. We should consider eating less meat for the sake of our health and the environment. We can learn a lot from vegans and vegetarians who have so admirably reduced their meat consumption, that they effectively eat none at all. But vegans and vegetarians can also learn a great deal from those who simply strive to eat less meat. In many ways, the use of categorical imperatives that we must never eat meat, has put vegans and vegetarians and those who simply strive to eat less meat in a boxing match for moral superiority. It's exhausting, and as the data suggests, largely unproductive. Reducitarianism is a message that allows us to focus not on our differences but on our shared commitment to eating less meat, regardless of where we fall on the spectrum. I believe that this reducitarian message will absolutely terrify the meat industry. Because it is a message that will produce the greatest impact on the causes we all care so deeply about. After all, what could possibly matter more than the increased well-being of our health and the environment. It is my hope that we can leverage "reducitarian." A positive and inclusive term of moral worth to encourage ourselves and others to eat less meat, improving our health, and the environment, and making a lot of animals very happy in the process. It starts with us, all of us, to encourage ourselves and others to simply eat less meat. So this is my message to you, consider eating less meat this week, and be a reducitarian. You can change the world by ordering a smaller steak, or doing something more. But don't just sit by and ignore what you already know. Consider eating less meat and be a reducitarian. Save our planet, improve your health, and save a lot of animals. Thank you so much. (Applause)

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
eat meat 4
simply eat 4
global warming 3
eating meat 3
primal urges 2
great deal 2
climate change 2
meat consumption 2
completely vegetarian 2
vegetarian diet 2
simply strive 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
completely vegetarian diet 2

Important Words

  1. absolutely
  2. abstain
  3. abstaining
  4. access
  5. accounts
  6. achieve
  7. acknowledge
  8. act
  9. action
  10. actionable
  11. admirably
  12. adorable
  13. advances
  14. alter
  15. americans
  16. amount
  17. animal
  18. animals
  19. appealing
  20. applause
  21. arctic
  22. asked
  23. associations
  24. attempt
  25. attention
  26. attractive
  27. average
  28. avoid
  29. awkward
  30. baby
  31. bacon
  32. bag
  33. ball
  34. barista
  35. belonging
  36. bet
  37. billion
  38. biodiversity
  39. bit
  40. bowl
  41. boxing
  42. brain
  43. bring
  44. buffalo
  45. campaign
  46. capture
  47. care
  48. carnivore
  49. case
  50. catch
  51. categorical
  52. caught
  53. central
  54. change
  55. changed
  56. chickens
  57. choice
  58. choices
  59. choose
  60. choosing
  61. cities
  62. city
  63. clean
  64. clearing
  65. climate
  66. coffee
  67. cognitive
  68. colleague
  69. collective
  70. commitment
  71. committed
  72. community
  73. compartmentalization
  74. compelled
  75. completely
  76. complex
  77. compost
  78. concept
  79. concerned
  80. conducted
  81. confusion
  82. conjure
  83. connotations
  84. constitutes
  85. consumption
  86. contact
  87. contamination
  88. continue
  89. continues
  90. convenience
  91. conversation
  92. convinced
  93. cows
  94. create
  95. crispy
  96. crunchy
  97. culinary
  98. cup
  99. data
  100. day
  101. deal
  102. decide
  103. decision
  104. deep
  105. deeply
  106. degrade
  107. describe
  108. describes
  109. determine
  110. dichotomies
  111. die
  112. diet
  113. difference
  114. differences
  115. difficult
  116. dinner
  117. disappear
  118. discomfort
  119. discovered
  120. diverse
  121. division
  122. double
  123. drastic
  124. due
  125. dumped
  126. eat
  127. eaten
  128. eating
  129. eats
  130. ecosystem
  131. effectively
  132. eggs
  133. eliminating
  134. emotional
  135. encourage
  136. energy
  137. engagement
  138. enjoy
  139. enthusiastically
  140. environment
  141. environmental
  142. environmentalist
  143. environmentally
  144. excited
  145. exhausting
  146. experience
  147. experiences
  148. explain
  149. explained
  150. extremely
  151. eye
  152. eyes
  153. factory
  154. facts
  155. failed
  156. fall
  157. false
  158. family
  159. farm
  160. farming
  161. fascinated
  162. feel
  163. feeling
  164. feelings
  165. feels
  166. fit
  167. flash
  168. flexible
  169. flexitarian
  170. focus
  171. follow
  172. food
  173. footprint
  174. forced
  175. fork
  176. forms
  177. fourteen
  178. free
  179. friend
  180. friendly
  181. friends
  182. front
  183. fruits
  184. gallup
  185. garbage
  186. gas
  187. generates
  188. gesture
  189. give
  190. gleefully
  191. global
  192. goals
  193. goods
  194. gradually
  195. grain
  196. great
  197. greater
  198. greatest
  199. green
  200. group
  201. gymnastics
  202. hand
  203. handed
  204. happen
  205. happier
  206. happy
  207. health
  208. healthier
  209. healthy
  210. heard
  211. hold
  212. honest
  213. hope
  214. hour
  215. house
  216. huge
  217. ice
  218. idea
  219. ideal
  220. ignore
  221. imagine
  222. immediately
  223. impact
  224. imperatives
  225. important
  226. impressed
  227. improve
  228. improving
  229. including
  230. inclusive
  231. incompatibility
  232. inconsistencies
  233. inconsistent
  234. increased
  235. incredibly
  236. individuals
  237. indulge
  238. industry
  239. inhabit
  240. innocuous
  241. inspire
  242. instinct
  243. instincts
  244. intense
  245. interesting
  246. intuition
  247. invoke
  248. jewish
  249. juicy
  250. key
  251. kheema
  252. kindly
  253. knew
  254. knowing
  255. labels
  256. lambs
  257. lands
  258. landscape
  259. largely
  260. laughter
  261. learn
  262. leverage
  263. life
  264. lifestyle
  265. literally
  266. literature
  267. live
  268. lives
  269. longer
  270. loss
  271. lost
  272. lot
  273. love
  274. lover
  275. loves
  276. lunch
  277. making
  278. manageable
  279. manifestation
  280. match
  281. matter
  282. meal
  283. meanings
  284. means
  285. meat
  286. meatless
  287. medical
  288. mental
  289. mere
  290. message
  291. messages
  292. mind
  293. minute
  294. minutes
  295. modern
  296. moment
  297. monday
  298. mondays
  299. moral
  300. morality
  301. morally
  302. morning
  303. motivate
  304. mouth
  305. move
  306. napkin
  307. negative
  308. neighbor
  309. nervous
  310. nervousness
  311. noble
  312. observed
  313. occurred
  314. ocean
  315. offense
  316. opposed
  317. order
  318. ordering
  319. overnight
  320. pain
  321. pancakes
  322. park
  323. part
  324. people
  325. percentage
  326. perception
  327. perceptions
  328. person
  329. personal
  330. phrase
  331. pig
  332. pigs
  333. pioneers
  334. planet
  335. plastic
  336. platitudes
  337. play
  338. plays
  339. poll
  340. positive
  341. possibly
  342. poultry
  343. pound
  344. pounds
  345. practice
  346. preference
  347. present
  348. primal
  349. problem
  350. problems
  351. process
  352. produce
  353. producing
  354. production
  355. products
  356. protein
  357. proudly
  358. public
  359. pulse
  360. put
  361. question
  362. questionable
  363. quickly
  364. ravenous
  365. ravenously
  366. reactions
  367. realize
  368. reason
  369. recall
  370. reconciling
  371. recorded
  372. recycle
  373. red
  374. reduce
  375. reduced
  376. reducing
  377. reducitarian
  378. reducitarianism
  379. reducitarians
  380. refers
  381. refillable
  382. reflect
  383. related
  384. relief
  385. remained
  386. remind
  387. requires
  388. respond
  389. rest
  390. restrained
  391. romantic
  392. room
  393. sacrifice
  394. safe
  395. safely
  396. sake
  397. salad
  398. salient
  399. salty
  400. satisfy
  401. save
  402. savory
  403. science
  404. scientifically
  405. seafood
  406. seemingly
  407. semantics
  408. sense
  409. separate
  410. set
  411. share
  412. shared
  413. shop
  414. shortage
  415. shower
  416. showering
  417. side
  418. sigh
  419. similar
  420. simple
  421. simply
  422. sit
  423. skip
  424. sleep
  425. slice
  426. smaller
  427. smart
  428. smell
  429. smile
  430. societal
  431. soliciting
  432. solving
  433. sounds
  434. space
  435. species
  436. spectrum
  437. spend
  438. spicy
  439. standards
  440. starbucks
  441. starts
  442. states
  443. statistics
  444. steak
  445. steps
  446. stopped
  447. straddles
  448. stranger
  449. strive
  450. study
  451. suggest
  452. suggested
  453. suggests
  454. superiority
  455. support
  456. surprised
  457. sustainable
  458. taste
  459. tedx
  460. temperature
  461. ten
  462. term
  463. terms
  464. terrify
  465. texture
  466. thinking
  467. thought
  468. thousand
  469. thousands
  470. time
  471. times
  472. tinge
  473. today
  474. told
  475. topic
  476. trader
  477. transportation
  478. treat
  479. treated
  480. trees
  481. trouble
  482. turn
  483. turned
  484. turns
  485. twinge
  486. type
  487. typical
  488. unable
  489. unchanged
  490. unconsciously
  491. understanding
  492. understood
  493. underwater
  494. undoubtedly
  495. unifying
  496. united
  497. university
  498. unproductive
  499. uphold
  500. urges
  501. vegan
  502. vegans
  503. vegetable
  504. vegetables
  505. vegetarian
  506. vegetarians
  507. veggies
  508. walk
  509. warming
  510. water
  511. ways
  512. weak
  513. week
  514. weekends
  515. whammy
  516. widening
  517. wing
  518. word
  519. words
  520. work
  521. worked
  522. world
  523. worries
  524. worth
  525. yale
  526. years
  527. york
  528. yorker