Why you’re probably a ‘reducetarian’ – and you may not even know it

Name: Reducetarians.

Age: The Reducetarian Foundation was formed in 2015.

Appearance: Slim, smug, uniformly hated by everyone.

Important question first: is “reducetarian” what we’re calling Rastafarian Borrowers now? That doesn’t even make sense. You need to start trying harder.

Fine, then, just tell me what it is. A reducetarian is someone who wants to help the planet by giving up meat and dairy, but also likes meat or dairy too much to give them up.

God, they sound awful. You’ve read the reports, right? According to a study in Science, giving up meat and dairy is the single biggest step any of us can take to reduce our impact on Earth.

Yes, I read that. And yet you still eat meat and dairy?

Absolutely. Meat and dairy are delicious. So you’re just happily chomping your way through millions of acres of farmland without a second thought?

No! I mean, I don’t eat meat with every meal, and I’m thinking about ditching red meat entirely, but … Aha! This makes you a reducetarian.

Does it? Oh God, I feel so dirty. Don’t. Loads of people are reducetarians. According to a study by RSPCA Assured, about 40% of us are now trying to cut down on the amount of meat we eat. Half of us don’t even know we’re doing it. Those people are called subconscious reducetarians.

Hang on, you mentioned that everybody hates us. Of course they do. Tell an avowed omnivore that you’re cutting back on your meat intake and they’ll call you a traitor. Tell a vegetarian that you still eat meat and they’ll call you a murderer.

And what if I tell a vegan? Well, they’ll just bang on at length about being a vegan.

Why are there so many reducetarians now? It’s thought that we’re all being bombarded by so many messages about healthy eating that changing our diets has just slowly become something that we all do.

And it’s a good thing, right? Sure it is. If you only eat meat four times a week, rather than seven or 10, then you’re effectively halving your consumption. If everyone on Earth did the same, it would add up to a huge positive effect on the environment.

So I’m suddenly a climate change activist! You are. Feels good, doesn’t it? Wait, hang on, have you used a plastic straw recently?

Well, yes, there was one attached to my carton of Ribena. How dare you! You’re destroying the planet! Have you no shame?

Do say: “Forty per cent of the population are reducetarians.”

Don’t say: “You’d think they’d be able to get together and think up a better name for it, really.”

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