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Interacting with Members of the Public to Discuss the Impact of Food Choices on Climate Change—Experiences from Two UK Public Engagement Events

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Natural Science, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
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Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
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National Trust, Malham Tarn Estate Office, Waterhouses, Settle BD24 9PT, UK
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Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
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Centre for Food Policy; City, University of London, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK
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Institute of Energy Futures, Brunel University London, London UB8 3PH, UK
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Food Insights and Sustainability, National Centre for Food Manufacturing, University of Lincoln, Park Road, Holbeach PE12 7PT, UK
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Department of Biotechnology, Genetics and Cellular Biology, Center of Biological Sciences, State University of Maringá, Maringá PR 87020-900, Brazil
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Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
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Department of Computer Science, School of Engineering, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
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Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
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Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UU, UK
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Food Systems Transformation Programme, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
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LettUs Grow, St Phillips, Bristol BS2 0QW, UK
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Oxford Martin School, Oxford OX1 3BD, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062323
Received: 29 December 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2020 / Accepted: 11 February 2020 / Published: 17 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Sustainable Diets)
Food systems contribute to up to 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions are increasing. Since the emissions vary greatly between different foods, citizens’ choices can make a big difference to climate change. Public engagement events are opportunities to communicate these complex issues: to raise awareness about the impact of citizens’ own food choices on climate change and to generate support for changes in all food system activities, the food environment and food policy. This article summarises findings from our ‘Take a Bite Out of Climate Change’ stand at two UK outreach activities during July 2019. We collected engagement information in three main ways: (1) individuals were invited to complete a qualitative evaluation questionnaire comprising of four questions that gauged the person’s interests, perceptions of food choices and attitudes towards climate change; (2) an online multiple-choice questionnaire asking about eating habits and awareness/concerns; and (3) a token drop voting activity where visitors answered the question: ‘Do you consider greenhouse gases when choosing food?’ Our results indicate whether or not people learnt about the environmental impacts of food (effectiveness), how likely they are to move towards a more climate-friendly diet (behavioural change), and how to gather information more effectively at this type of event. View Full-Text
Keywords: GHGE (greenhouse gas emissions); behaviour change; learning tools; diet; public engagement; science outreach GHGE (greenhouse gas emissions); behaviour change; learning tools; diet; public engagement; science outreach
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Kluczkovski, A.; Cook, J.; Downie, H.F.; Fletcher, A.; McLoughlin, L.; Markwick, A.; Bridle, S.L.; Reynolds, C.J.; Schmidt Rivera, X.; Martindale, W.; Frankowska, A.; M. Moraes, M.; J. Birkett, A.; Summerton, S.; Green, R.; Fennell, J.T.; Smith, P.; Ingram, J.; Langley, I.; Yates, L.; Ajagun-Brauns, J. Interacting with Members of the Public to Discuss the Impact of Food Choices on Climate Change—Experiences from Two UK Public Engagement Events. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2323.

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