Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


Excessive meat consumption is associated with a wide range of environmental problems. Reducing meat consumption has been recognized as one of the most efficient ways to decrease one’s ecological footprint, yet meat consumption is still on the rise and many are not willing to make changes to their diets to include less meat. This paper discusses the problem of America’s continued and rising overconsumption of meat, with the end goal of developing and concluding which strategies are most effective at shifting American culture toward sustainable diets. Chapter 1 gives an overview of why a reduction in meat consumption is necessary by discussing quantitative data from the Food and Agriculture Organization showing the environmental implications of meat consumption and the relationship between industrialized animal agriculture and environmental issues such as climate change. Chapter 2 delves into the history and development of the American food system and how different dominant food systems affect our diets. It explains the different cultural, economic, and technological factors that influence our food choices. Chapter 3 defines what a sustainable diet is, what it means for the environment, and what it means for our health. It gives examples of and guidelines of diets that are considered sustainable. It concludes that the two most important things to do when trying to eat more sustainably is to eat more plants, and eat less meat. Chapter 4 discusses the various psychological, sociological, cultural, and economic internal and external barriers that exist that prevent consumers from making the switch to a more sustainable diet. Chapter 5 is primarily concerned with combating these barriers, and coming up with solutions on how to best motivate consumers to make more sustainable food choices with both bottom up and top down efforts.

Included in

Food Studies Commons