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"We don't tell people what to do": An examination of the factors influencing NGO decisions to campaign for reduced meat consumption in light of climate change

November 01, 2014
Global Environmental Change

Linnea I. Laestadius, Roni A. Neff, Colleen L. Barry, Shannon Frattaroli

To date, efforts by non-governmental organizations to encourage reduced meat consumption in light of climate change have been quite limited, particularly among environmental non-governmental organizations. This study sought to examine the factors influencing non-governmental organization decisions to establish and sustain dedicated public education and/or policy advocacy campaigns on this issue. More specifically, a grounded theory approach was used to examine environmental, food-focused, and animal protection non-governmental organizations in the U.S., Sweden, and Canada. Results indicate that the relatively limited degree of engagement is primarily attributable to the fact that few non-governmental organization staffers felt that addressing meat consumption within a climate change context was a part of their core missions. Reduced meat consumption was also seen as an issue with limited social and political appeal. Further, many environmental non-governmental organizations appeared to be reluctant to mount campaigns explicitly encouraging personal behavior change of any type. Cross- non-governmental organization collaboration or the creation of additional non-governmental organizations with missions focused on this specific issue may be needed to increase the level of campaigning on this issue.

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