When most people think about greenhouse gases, they usually imagine cars and factories burning fossil fuels for energy. And this makes sense; after all, fossil fuels contribute to 14.5  percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

However, this picture is limited… So if meat production causes such a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, why have efforts to reduce it been so limited thus far? Why aren’t we, as a planet, recognizing the ways in which we can change our diets to control our climate? Past research has focused primarily on the science behind meat and climate, but has paid little attention to how we can fix the problem.

My partner and I set out to determine the best strategies to influence public behavior change regarding meat consumption, which we have compiled in the podcast below. Read my blog post to learn more about our methods and results!

Midterm Podcast Script

“Meat is tied to ideas about masculinity and class and this picturesque idea of the open pastoral landscape with cows grazing, and it’s so hard to disentangle those choices when we make our everyday dietary decisions,” Laestadius said. “What we eat is such an intimate thing, and no one wants to tell someone what they can or can’t eat because they might be met with a negative reaction.”  – Linnea Laestadius , researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee 

Note: All interviewees have signed consent forms and are aware of how their responses are being used on my domain site.


Boer, Joop de et al. “Help the Climate, Change Your Diet: A Cross-Sectional Study on How to Involve Consumers in a Transition to a Low-Carbon Society.” Appetite, Academic Press, 7 Dec. 2015.

Bryngelsson, David, et al. “How Do Dietary Choices Influence the Energy-System Cost of Stabilizing the Climate?.” Energies, vol. 10, no. 2, Feb. 2017, pp. 1-13.

“Climate Change and Culture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation.” USDA, Feb. 2013.

“Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 13 Apr. 2017.

Graham, Thomas, & Wokje, Abrahamse. “Communicating the Climate Impacts of Meat Consumption: The Effect of Values and Message Framing.” Global Environmental Change, Pergamon, 20 Apr. 2017.

Harwatt, Helen, et al. “Substituting Beans for Beef as a Contribution toward US Climate Change Targets.” Climatic Change, vol. 143, no. 1/2, July 2017, pp. 261-270.

Hyland, John J. et al. “The Role of Meat in Strategies to Achieve a Sustainable Diet Lower in Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Review.” Meat Science, Elsevier, 21 Apr. 2017. 

Laestadius, Linnea, et al. “Meat Consumption and Climate Change: The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations.” Climatic Change, vol. 120, no. 1/2, Sept. 2013, pp. 25-38.

McMichael, Anthony J. et al. “Food, Livestock Production, Energy, Climate Change, and Health.” The Lancet, 13 Sept. 2007.

Milman, Oliver, & Leavenworth, Stuart. “China’s Plan to Cut Meat Consumption by 50% Cheered by Climate Campaigners.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 June 2016.

Song, Guobao, et al. “Dietary Changes to Mitigate Climate Change and Benefit Public Health in China.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 577, 15 Jan. 2017, pp. 289-298.

Stoll-Kleemann, Susanne, & Schmidt, Uta Johanna. “Reducing Meat Consumption in Developed and Transition Countries to Counter Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss: a Review of Influence Factors.” SpringerLink. 2016. 

Worland, Justin. “How a Vegetarian Diet Could Help Save the Planet.” Time, Time, 21 Mar. 2016.

Photo: Cows / -JvL- / Creative Commons