Flexitarianism: Traditional Diets as Social Innovation for Sustainability
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Western diets are strongly encouraging ecologically unsustainable and unhealthy levels of meat consumptions and in so doing, are displacing traditional diets locally and globally. This trend is supported by social ignorance and naivety that facilitate the swelling power wielded by the livestock industry. This is supported by industry stakeholders and government structures whose mixed messages ensure individuals remain unwittingly complicit and complacent, and ultimately socially disempowered. This paper describes the human, ecological and animal welfare consequences of excessive meat production and consumption, such as contribution to climate change, water depletion and pollution, land misappropriation and degradation, rainforest destruction, biodiversity and rapid species loss as well as the significant threats and challenges presented to human health and wellbeing. It offers flexitarianism (part-time vegetarianism) as a return to more traditional plant-based diets and socially innovative way to immediately combat the spectrum of negative impacts and empower people locally, regionally and globally to participate in a global transformation towards a more sustainable future. A case study of introducing flexitarianism through sustainability humanistic education is presented. It shows how this method redemocratises education and empowers individuals to counteract mainstream unsustainable practices.
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