Consumer ‘Diet vs Climate’ Survey: Majority say Willing to Change Behavior to Abate Climate Change

Posted on June 29, 2023

Washington, DC – June 28, 2023: As the country prepares for 4th of July celebrations with backyard barbecues, a new survey of consumers shows  broad awareness of meat production’s massive impact on the environment, including rainforest deforestation, huge water and land use and animal species decimation, and showed a high level of willingness among participants to change their own behaviors to reduce their own impacts.

The survey conducted on June 24th of 1,068 people of all ages (above 18), all ethnicities and income levels (up to and including $200,000) and broadly across the United States, was created by Sustainable Earth Eating, using Survey Monkey’s digital platform and audience.

Nearly half of respondents (48%) are extremely willing or very willing to change their lifestyle to reduce climate change that they contribute to.  And adding the “somewhat willing” category (36%), a large majority (an astounding  84%) said they are willing to alter their behavior to reduce climate change. Only 18% of respondents answered that they were unwilling to change their behavior to curb climate impacts.

“At a time when our planet is in such dire need of help, our survey gives hope that change is possible,” said survey author and Sustainable Earth Eating Executive Director Jane DeMarines. “In fact, to have data that proves 84% of Americans see the direct correlation between the foods they eat and the impact that has on our environment is overwhelmingly positive. While the survey is not all good news, the biggest percentage of participant answers showed humanity wants to do what’s right, even if it causes them to make changes in their own behavior,” added DeMarines.   

Respondents also had overwhelming positive responses regarding awareness of climate impacts on the economy, animal species decimation, and on their own future personal lives from resulting environmental changes such as wildfires, floods, and large-scale storms. Nearly half (48 %) agree or strongly agree (34% strongly agree; 14% agree).  Some 23% believe there is still time to reverse climate change; while 7% said the time for reversal is over.  Another 10% disagree or strongly disagree that climate change is happening at all.

More than half of respondents (55%) said they were aware that the United States was the world’s largest meat- eating country (per capita), and that livestock production contributes to deforestation.

Scientific research shows that eating meat, and pollution that results from its production, is a major global contributor to climate change. Almost twice as many agree with this statement as disagree (41.12% vis, 20.8%).

On the downside, more than three quarters (78%) of respondents said they planned to grill meat or eat meat on July 4th – a holiday when Americans are estimated to eat 375 million burgers. 

Actress Ellen DeGeneres says, regarding “giving up meat:” It’s a great idea for the planet. It’s a great idea for your health. It’s a great idea for the animal’s health.” Arnold Schwarzenegger, now an environmentalist says, “Meat-eating is not manly.”     

Questions from survey:

Q1: It has been our American tradition to grill meat on the 4th of July– do you plan to grill meat or eat grilled meat this 4th of July?

78% yes

Q2: Did you know there are estimated 375 million hamburgers consumed on the 4th of July and that it takes 1800 gallons of water to produce?

75% did not know

Q3: Did you know that the United States is the world’s largest meat-eating country (per capita) and contributes to rainforest destruction for livestock production?

55% yes

Q4: Do you feel climate impacts (storms/floods/wildfires) are hurting people’s lives, our economy, earth’s animal species’ decimation, and our own futures?

Nearly half, 48 % agree or strongly agree. 34% strongly agree 14% agree. 23% believe there is still time to reverse climate change, 7% said the time for reversal is over. 10% disagree or strongly disagree that climate change is happening.

View The Survey

Categories: Press Release