This research that Dr. Dupuis and I have been doing for the past few months was mainly gathering input from past projects in order to propose a new way of looking at veganism in terms of its environmental impact. This research is being gathered for a summit on veganism in the spring of 2020. The methodology of gathering our research consists of us analyzing citations from vegan publications, identifying reasons why people should be vegan, and the way these organizations appeal to the public. A lot of organizations we’ve found are primarily aggressive in their approach to enforce veganism as opposed to coercing or even suggesting it. We’ve used these fallacies to recognize better ways and organization to campaign such suggestions. A better tactic is marketing cheaper vegan options through food delivery companies instead of getting restaurants to serve vegan meals by appealing to their morals. By allowing easier and cheaper access closer to the start of the supply chain we could assist the overall accessibility to veganism. Additionally, “Reducetarianism” is an organization that is a more inclusive and open-minded group that makes suggestions on how to lower your carbon footprint with your diet. Organizations such as this are more effective in reaching a wider audience.
There’s obvious consumerism and a target market in place when it comes to these organizations. These organizations target white women mainly and ask you to purchase meal plans or ideas from the organization which have turned into for-profit companies. We were originally trying to centralize which moral argument the organizations are appealing to such as health, animal cruelty, or the environment, but I have lost my faith in some organizations arguments due to the prevalent consumerism. Even “Reducetarianism” sells a cookbook and other things for a profit. With that information we can conclude new ways of broadening veganism and other dietary changes that assist in environmental efforts. Widening the target audience by making organizations more inclusive and accessible to people of all gender, race, religion, and ability. There’s also a matter of getting a diverse group of people with different experiences in the organizing efforts, such as restaurant industry workers, grocery store owners, farmers, and food delivery companies. These are the people we hope to invite and have input in the conference so that a true conversation can be held.
Thus far in our research we have spent a lot of time gathering data from previous research. Considering a lot of what this project consists of is stockpiling data to present at a conference on new ideas and solutions for wicked problems, this is a big advancement in our research. I am currently focusing on finding academic literature for vegan organizations that support the argument in veganism and lessening meat in our diets. Some of the insights I have found is that not a lot of arguments are made against the facts they are more against the lifestyle of plant-based diets or the people themselves. Veganism having a positive effect on the environment is widely accepted, so many of the organizations don’t cite much if anything at all relating to the environment even though there is a lot of information supporting their claims. In addition to exploring these organizations I have been looking into how culture affects our food choices and there are a lot of problems to overcome there. Food has very close ties with our culture and identity making it far more difficult to ask someone to cut out food that might remind them of their families or identity because it is more personal than doing what is “best for the planet”.
I have found trouble in how to address the organizations due to their extreme bias towards the idea of a plant-based diet being the end all solution to climate change. There are quotes like “and this is why being a vegetarian isn’t enough” (from The Vegan Society), which makes it seem as if vegans are an exclusive and aggressive group and creates an opportunity for opponents to prosecute veganism through ad hominem and not by facts. The facts tend to not be the main point of discretion for why people aren’t vegan and I am also coming to the conclusion it isn’t ignorance either. There are barriers to be addressed, culturally, financially, due to accessibility, health, and knowledge. To clarify when I say knowledge I don’t mean on the benefits that veganism has for the environment I am more referring to how to prepare food that is not meat-centric or where to go for these meals, or how to make a plant-based diet more desirable. As I continue to research this topic I want to explore these barriers of veganism more and find ways to overcome them easier as well as create a less aggressive vegan environment. As long as solutions are made to be broadly accessed, addressing barriers for an individual may advance the spread of reducing meat consumption due to many of the barriers being similar.
This summer, Dr.Dupuis and I are working on a research project titled “the Emergence Lab”. I specifically am focusing on diet and regenerative agriculture cases. Our project is using primarily case studies to uncover how niche sustainability groups are or are not “breaking through” into more mainstream accepted ideas. The goals of this project is to learn why, how to cause, and what causes sustainable changes to breakthrough into mainstream lives. This is in preparation for the “How Much Meat Should We Eat?” conference at Pace in spring of 2020. I hope to learn more about preventing and overcoming bottlenecks and achieving a well rounded answer on the importance of a meat-free diet on the environment, society, and economy. Considering all of these facets have a lot of overlap when solving a problem that has holds in many different areas, it requires a well rounded solution to it. As well as deciphering the many different facets that this research holds, I would like to supply a greater understanding of intersectionality. I also hope to develop a greater understanding for the systems and institutions that develop these regimes.
With goals this grand and applications being crucial to assist in the environmental advancement there are a few methods that we will have to put in place. With a mix of interviews, primary and secondary research we can uncover the applications of the niche groups into mainstream society and how well it has been achieved. We will do this by addressing actors, their roles and strategies, and also bottlenecks, technological innovations, and institutions. Specifically using case studies to understand how variables affect each situation, we can understand how to capitalize on those situations and avoid previous mistakes. An understanding of what has happened and advancing from it is a primary aspect of prototyping, which is essentially what this research is doing in the abstract sense of the word. This project holds a lot of importance in applying environmental solutions into society, making it part of everyday life.