On Climate Change, the Public May Not Support Changing Their Own Diet, But Would They Support Programs to Change Society's Diet?
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
In reaction to our BMC Public Health study published this month that examined the potential to re-frame climate change in terms of health, reader Stephanie Parent had this astute observation, one worth testing in follow up research.
I was jazzed to read your article "Maibach et al., Reframing climate change as a public health issue: an exploratory study of public reactions BMC Public Health 2010, 10:299" and learn of the Center for Climate Change Communication.
The discussion regarding Figures 4 and 5 struck an idea regarding how people did not respond well to the sentence about increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and reducing meat consumption. In comparing this sentence with the others, I noticed that the other sentences are societal or governmental actions to change land use or offer services, while the food consumption sentence is based on changing personal behavior, which people tend to be reluctant to change and feel their personal way of life and liberty is being attacked. While not quite the same, what if you reframe the sentence in a way that sounds more like a societal change rather than a personal behavior change to "Increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables and healthy food options to help people maintain a healthy weight, will help prevent heart disease and cancer, and will play an important role in limiting global warming."
It is food for thought.
The open access study is the second most read article at BMC Public Health over the past 30 days and has sparked some interesting debate and valuable feedback.
What do readers think? Should we hold off on emphasizing personal changes to diet until more engagement is done on the public health implications of climate change? Or are you (and the public) likely open to suggestions about societal changes in food availability and costs that lead to healthier diets and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions from food production?
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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