More plants, less meat

For this assignment I wanted to try something really simple. The “do something” component of a lot of stories about the harm caused by the meat industry is fairly straightforward — asking people to eat less or no meat. This is of course a more tractable problem in theory than, say, how an average reader would go about “doing something” about Boko Haram. But just because people can theoretically modify their diets doesn’t make such changes all that likely.

My premise was what motivates one person to change their diet is different than someone else, so showing pictures of overcrowded hen houses to someone who is mostly concerned about reducing their saturated fat intake might make the “you can make changes that have real impact” message sound preachy. So I hid each (brief — could use development) reason for changing diet under a sub head. I can’t really tell how well it works as a concept so feedback is appreciated.

In retrospect I think this piece could have benefitted from more focus on the “how” of changing your diet as opposed to the “why,” and perhaps with more “further reading.”

http://austinhess.github.io/lessmeat/

One thought on “More plants, less meat

  1. The information is great, but your retrospective assessment of the piece rings true. Grounding this in the reader’s experience would make it more effective. This could be done on two fronts:
    1. Maybe do a quiz up front to let people reflect on their current meat consumption. How much meat do I consume? What kinds? Have I heard about reduced-meat, vegetarian, or vegan dining options? How do I think about them? Maybe the quiz somehow allows for you to tailor the pitch you’re making to each and every different reader. One reader may be interested in the environment but doesn’t realize the impact of beef; another might think “vegetarian” and have a mental image of soggy, bland tofu. To one, maybe the environmental content is more important. For another, the idea of yummy vegetarian food is better.
    Finally, really nailing the “how” portion will improve. So to that person who loves beef but didn’t realize its environmental impact: what does that person do next? Well, they could buy grass-fed, lean beef, reduce their beef consumption in favor of organic, pasture-raised chicken, and work in more veggie proteins. Offer recommendations of products or recipes.

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