Most Americans aren’t connecting climate to their kitchen

hamburger with cheeseYes, we know. This is a site where we delve into issues facing the western east. The region that the world knows as the Middle East but which we are rebranding as something less archaic, more in tune with what the near East is about. Like the rest of the world, we look to America to Canada to learn best practices about environmental policy and research.

Consider this, most Americans are sort of in denial when it comes to climate change and their food. That means more steaks on the barbecue, less care about food miles, and more interest in eating fast?  But is that the whole picture?

Let’s see what the research says.

In a national survey released this week by Earth Day Network and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Not talking about the impact of food

The report, titled “Climate Change and the American Diet,” found that half (51%) of Americans surveyed said that they would eat more plant-based foods if they had more information about the environmental impacts of their food choices.

But, 70% rarely or never talk about this issue with friends or family.

Nearly two-thirds of the Americans surveyed report having never been asked to eat more plant-based foods, and more than half rarely or never hear about the topic in the media. Guess they aren’t listening to NPR. 🙂

However, the report found that more than half of Americans are willing to eat more vegetables and plant-based alternatives and/or less red meat. So that’s good news for startups like Impossible Food and Beyond Meat that are using labs to create plant based meat, without harmful soy, and which tastes and even bleeds like meat.

The Slow Food Movement defines Slow Meat

But at the same time American consumers are already changing their diets and purchasing habits in favor of plant-based foods.

Are you doing Meatless Mondays?

locusts in Yemen

Okay, eating a plague of locusts might be too much to ask, but how about a vegan burger on Monday instead of chicken?

Although four percent of Americans self-identify as vegan or vegetarian, 20% choose plant-based dairy alternatives about two to five times a week or more often. Roughly the same percentage choose not to buy products from food companies that are not taking steps to reduce their environmental impact.

“Many American consumers are interested in eating a more healthy and climate-friendly diet,” said Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. “However, many simply don’t know yet which products are better or worse — a huge communication opportunity for food producers, distributors and sellers.”

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