UCLA students reduce beef consumption after environmental food course

Photo: UCLA

A study of students at UCLA found that those who learned about the environmental impact of their food choices reduced their intake of beef.

The research published in journal Climatic Change, looked at two groups of students.

Half of the students were enrolled in a class focused on the link between food and the environment; the other half were in a course about covering cosmology and evolution.

The researchers found that students in the course about food decreased their weekly consumption of beef by 28%, resulting in a dietary carbon footprint that was 16% lower than their peers.

Jennifer Jay, the UCLA professor who led the research, said:

“If the small changes we observed are extrapolated across the United States, the savings in greenhouse gases would represent one-third of the reduction prescribed in the 2013 President’s Climate Action Plan.
“There has been a growing public awareness that individual choices on energy use — from driving electric cars, to turning down thermostats to installing solar roofs — can have a positive impact on the environment.
“But we don’t have the same level of public awareness when it comes to what we eat, and our dietary choices can impact environmental health.
“This study shows for the first time that education can play an important and quantifiable role in mitigating climate change through even modest voluntary food shifts.”

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