UBC Undergraduate Research

Empowering eaters to make climate-friendly choices : a public education initiative Lee, Kyle; Lee, Winnie; Leung, Sheena; Leung, Veronica; Leung, Vincent; Son, Wonik Nathan; St. Germain, Michelle


There are few things that so clearly connect us to the environment as food, or illustrate how overtly dependant we are on the plant for our survival. Examining how our food is produced is at the core uniting many of the global issues relating to our misuse of land, energy and other resources – and with a modest amount of thought and effort about the food selections we make, we have the potential to make strides towards resolving climate-related problems each time we pick up a fork. Initially, it may seem like changing one’s eating habits is a strange way to approach preventing climate change, however, it is known that our food system is a significant contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Therefore, educating ourselves about climate-friendly food choices is an essential step towards becoming empowered eaters who are able to effect change. As a first attempt to increasing public awareness about the relationship that exists between food choices and climate change, our group was assigned the task of developing an educational campaign to be used at The UBC Farm. The main purpose of this initiative is to encourage patrons at the Saturday Farmer’s Market to adopt a more sustainable approach to food-shopping and eating by exposing them to one or more of three complementary marketing tools: 1. a “Carbon Smart Food Guide” containing general information and guiding principles on how to become a carbon smart consumer 2. an on-line publication aimed at providing those interested with more detailed information than that presented in the food guide 3. a carbon smart logo to be used as a part of a visual display at food stands so that shoppers are able to quickly and clearly identify carbon smart items It is our goal that, collectively, this campaign will help climate-concerned consumers be more successful at navigating the food system, thereby having a positive impact on our community, and our environment. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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