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Después de hacer diversas sesiones en formato virtual, el programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB reanudó el pasado día 27 de junio sus sesiones formativas en formato presencial.

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Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care


Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

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ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

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Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

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Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
Why do environmentalists eat meat?

Date: 2019-07-23


A study by researchers at the ICTA-UAB analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists find it difficult to give up meat consumption, one of the world's greatest environmental problems.

Scientists do not believe in individual actions and prefer to rely on politics and technology. 

Environmentalists question the effectiveness of individual actions and believe that changes for the sustainability of the planet will come in the future from politics and technology. This is the main conclusion of a study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) which analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists are not capable of giving up meat even when knowing about its important environmental impact.

Reducing meat consumption is an important way to reduce our environmental impact, including carbon emissions. Despite being a sustainability priority, convincing people to give up meat is difficult. Many scientists, including those who are aware that eating meat is bad, do not become vegetarians. Why do people who care for the environment and for animals continue to eat meat? 

This situation, called ‘the meat paradox’, demonstrates that people do care about the impacts of meat, but continue to eat meat due to the ‘attitude-behaviour’ gaps. People believe they should do something to protect the environment, but then they do not act on their beliefs. So far, scholars have argued that people deal with such ‘cognitive dissonance’ by changing either their attitudes or their behaviours. In other words, in the case of meat, either they convince themselves that eating meat is not that bad, or they eventually become vegetarians. 

However, the study carried out by Evon Scott, graduate of the master's degree SAES at ICTA-UAB (and led by ICREA research professor at ICTA-UAB Giorgos Kallis, and UPF researcher Christos Zografos), starts from the premise that people have consistent reasons for doing what they do. They interviewed meat eaters at ICTA-UAB and identified the different viewpoints their interviewees used to explain why they eat meat. The study Why environmentalists eat meat has been recently published in the journal Plos One

The main narrative of the interviewees is that they believe change will come in the future from politics or technology, not from their own actions. “In other words, they did not believe that whether they eat meat or not was all that important, given that the problem was one of ‘capitalism’ or one of finding new technologies”, Kallis explains. Other interviewees thought the issue was too complex for their change to make a difference, while yet others appreciated that in theory they had to change and become vegetarians, but then conceded that they enjoyed eating meat too much and could not give it up. Researchers concluded that people have sound reasons for their actions, or simply learn to live with their contradictions.

For Kallis, this rethinking of the attitude-behaviour puzzle could extend beyond meat-eating, to problems such as climate change, where also many people think one way yet act another. “People may consider their unsustainable actions as consistent with their pro-environmental beliefs, without the need to modify either one or the other in order to reduce incongruence, unlike what previous research has claimed”, says Kallis. People may simply think that whether they fly or not does not make that much of a difference, as climate change is a problem of ‘capitalism’, ‘politicians’, or could be solved in the future with new technologies. 

They state that, if this is true, then a different policy and communication strategy may be needed to convince those who already know that there are negative implications to their actions, but do not believe that changing what they do will make a difference. This strategy should not focus so much on informing people about the impact of their own actions, but rather on convincing them that changes in their individual behaviours can be important to change the dominant culture and social rules, and thus form part of the political and technological transformation.

More information:
Scott E., Kallis G., Zografos C. (2019). Why environmentalists eat meat. Plos One
Available online https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219607


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