As discussed in a previous blog post, The U.S. dietary guidelines were recently released without including recommendations on sustainability and more sustainable ways of eating (i.e., less meat, more plants). As an environmental studies major at New York University, I was curious to learn how informed my colleagues were about these guidelines. Since this seemed to be such a significant loss for the environmental community, I expected that many students would be aware of this decision. To find out, I surveyed 55 university students. I asked a series of questions which included:
When reviewing the survey results, I was shocked to find that 18% of the students surveyed were studying environmental studies as a major or minor but only 5% of students knew that new guidelines were published this year. Of this 5%, some were not even environmental studies students.
How is it possible that those students who are majoring in environmental studies know so little about the U.S. Dietary Guidelines? As an environmental studies student, I feel that food is often overlooked and not seen as one of the most important climate change issues. Although I have learned about food in some of my classes, and there are many electives centered around food, it does not seem to be a concern for the majority of students. This became very clear with the results of my survey. I strongly feel that this issue needs to be “brought to the table,” most especially in the classroom of those aspiring environmentalists, because the way we eat does have a significant impact on the environment.
Photo Credit: Natalie Petrulla and www.timigustafson.com