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Another Argument for Team Vegetarian: The Kids Are Doing It

I'm always looking for new reasons to argue for the benefits of a vegetarian diet. This latest bit is less convincing than, say, "it lowers your risk of heart disease by 60%." But still, it's encouraging to those who care about such things, that more American kids than ever are turning away from meat. One in 200, in fact. It's certainly something. And yet global meat consumption is growing at a rate of 2% a year, with traditionally vegetarian countries mimicking our not-so-awesome eating habits, to not-so-awesome results.So let's review some of the better arguments for vegetarianism, shall we? Obviously, eating a mostly vegetarian diet isn't always convenient. It can be limiting, especially if you consider yourself, as I do, a foodie. It also doesn't always make you the best dinner guest, and can change social rituals a little bit (I love nothing more than a four-hour dinner of shared everything). But to me, the benefits outsize the compromises.For those unmoved by such things, consider the most persuasive and high-stakes argument of them all: The UN report which found that cattle rearing produces more greenhouse gasses than the transportation industry. That means that cutting down on your meat intake will actually do more for the environment than trading in your SUV.Again in September, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change pleaded with people the world over to at the very least curb their meat intake. Their one-meat-free-day-a-week suggestion was a little on the light side if you ask me, but it was something. Baby steps, right? The report doesn't seem to have reduced meat consumption, though. Probably because altering our diet seems to be the one leap that otherwise environmentally conscious people want to make. Or is it?Lately there's been a rash of stories, columns and fun facts bringing vegetarianism back into the discussion. There are columnists like this, who say "not everyone can make the leap to full-fledged vegetarian," but contemplates the limits of her "flexitarian" diet. Then there is this: the latest in the meat-eater-goes-veg magazine story. (We ran our own a while back-hilariously told by Justin Droms.) So we'll see if the debate takes up more or less space in the coming months.In the mean time, there's always the Lettuce Ladies.

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