The role of media in raising awareness of a significant but overlooked environmental issue is the focus of an ISF post-graduate research project.
A 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report stated that meat and dairy products are the foods carrying the greatest environmental burden, accounting for approximately 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And, demand is set to double by 2050.
However, content analysis of US newspapers indicates the negative environmental impacts of meat production are barely reported on and preliminary analysis of Australian print media indicates there is little coverage locally as well.
Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, called on people to have one meat-free day a week if they wanted to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change.
Worldwide, livestock and meat production have been identified by key governmental and scientific institutions as major contributors to climate change, intensive water use, high phosphorous use, land degradation, threats to food yields and loss of biodiversity.
With ample media research indicating the power of newspaper coverage in giving issues high profile and potency, post-graduate researcher Judy Friedlander, will be examining strategies to increase media content on the meat and environment issue.
In particular, she will be looking at the Meatless Monday campaign concept, designed with the assistance of the reputable John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Meatless Monday campaign has introduced the idea of reducing meat consumption into the public arena.
Working with an advocacy organization, the ISF action research will assess successful overseas initiatives on a local level. These strategies include promoting healthy options for meat alternatives and working with catering companies to increase the availability of diet options.
Judy is a semi finalist in the UTS Three Minute Thesis competition.