The Impact of Environmental Awareness on People’s Everyday Foods
Dr. Teresa Heinz Housel
The environmental movement is gaining more popularity in American culture in the last twenty years. Consequently, more and more environmentally-friendly products are making their way into stores. This makes studying environmental behaviors increasingly important in today’s society because as natural resources start to become increasingly scarce, it is critical that people learn ways to help protect the environment. Researchers have suggested that there are links between people’s environmental awareness and the consumer behaviors they exhibit. To this end, this qualitative study will advance the existing research by examining how environmental awareness can affect food choices. I analyzed the relationship between how aware a person is of environmental issues and the proportion of meat, locally grown food, and organic food they consume each week. By conducting fifteen interviews with faculty, staff, and students of Hope College who have expressed interest in environmental awareness through their involvement or activism on campus, I analyzed if people’s environmental awareness actually affects their foodways. Based on my research, the interview data suggests that the more environmentally aware a person is, the more likely they are to purchase food from local businesses as well as eat more organic foods.
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