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Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Meat consumption has been a prominent part of humanity’s dietary culture, particularly in modern, Western developed nations. However, recent research has shown that collectively reducing our consumption of animal products can have major benefits for mitigating our environmental footprint. Despite a consensus among climate scientists on its potential impact, the public does not recognize the effectiveness of this behavioral shift. Recent efforts to address this have created movements and organizations that focus on reduction of meat consumption (e.g. flexitarianism, reducetarianism, Meatless Mondays), rather than elimination of meat consumption (e.g. vegetarianism, veganism) with the intent of creating a more acceptable message, from a less stigmatized group, thereby reaching more people and resulting in greater change. However, the relative impact of these messages has not been compared in previous work. The present research investigates the perceptions of these messages and messengers to assess if there are differences in how people respond to these messages and change their intentions. Study 1 examined interpersonal communication, testing the difference between a message of giving up meat, coming from a vegetarian, and a message of reducing meat consumption, from a reducetarian. Study 2 extended Study 1, replicating the study while adding a third condition to further differentiate the effects of message and messenger using a reduction focused article from a vegetarian. Study 3 extended the previous studies to communication from NGOs with explicit goals as reducetarian or vegetarian. Across all studies, we find that people are more willing to share messages from a reducetarian perspective than a vegetarian one, people agree with that message more, and indicate that they are closer to reducing up meat consumption after reading that article.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Ginn, Joel, "Getting the Message Across: Flexitarians as Messengers for Meat's Climate Change Impacts" (2021). Masters Theses. 1012.