Younger generations adopting diets that help slow down climate change

GÖTTINGEN, Germany — Finding ways to slow and limit climate change is supported by nearly three in five teens and young adults, according to a recent survey. One of the easiest ways to do this is by following an eco-friendly diet. New research sheds light on the preferential diets of younger generations that may be deliberately chosen to help offset the consequences of climate change.

To explore younger people’s understanding of climate change and their personal food preferences, scientists from Göttingen University surveyed about 1,400 Germans from the ages of 15 to 29. Both their personal goals for the future and the repercussions of those goals were noted when they evaluated comments about global temperatures.

In the study, respondents were classified into three categories, each with a distinct degree of climate knowledge: supporters (57%), undecided (29%), and deniers (14%). As a whole, this shows that more than half of young people are very conscious and concerned about climate change.

Climate-friendly diets are becoming a more accepted lifestyle for young adults. Many of these people are flexitarians (those who consume meat sometimes). Additionally, 17% are now vegetarians. The group that isn’t confident about global warming accepts it, but they haven’t changed their behavior to reflect it. Those who deny the science of global warming or who deny that human activity is to blame for it don’t include this when considering their diets.

“Our results show that a lot of communication is necessary to promote a more climate-conscious diet among the undecided group,” says study lead author Dr. Kristin Jürkenbeck, from the University of Göttingen, in a statement.

Prior studies have shown that making simple dietary changes such as eating more fish or even cutting back on junk food can help fight global warming.

“The topic of climate change and climate awareness is becoming increasingly important for consumers in all areas of life. This is also clear from public discussion and must not be ignored by companies and politicians,” say Achim Spiller, head of the research group, Marketing for Food and Agricultural Products.

This study is published in the journal Cleaner and Responsible Consumption.

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