Presentation Title

Vegetarianism and Veganism as a Form of Everyday Activism in the Age of Climate Change

Presenter's Name(s)

Olivier K. EvertsFollow

Project Collaborators

Luis Vivanco (Thesis Advisor)

Abstract

Environmentalists often point out that contemporary everyday practices bear specific environmental costs. In the case of eating, recent research has demonstrated that the consumption of meat and other animal products has a significantly higher environmental cost than the consumption of fruits and vegetables. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans have begun to cite environmental reasons for their decision to self-impose a dietary restriction on meat and/or animal products. In this study, I seek to investigate, using ethnographic methods of interviews and participant-observation research, how individuals make sense of environmental justifications and ethical arguments for making a change in their lifestyles, using vegetarians and vegans in Burlington as a proxy to study this issue. Furthermore, I seek to explore how such a change relates to a particular form of activism, one that is rooted in a change in lifestyle due to environmental reasons. Some have called this “ecological citizenship” and others “everyday activism,” but it differs from previous understandings of activism that emphasize participation in social organizations and/or moments of rupture. This shift away from social movement politics to everyday activism is especially important at this time because it is widely understood as an important strategy to mitigate the consequential impacts of climate change.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

lvivanco@uvm.edu

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Anthropology

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

Second Program/Major

Mathematics

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Vegetarianism and Veganism as a Form of Everyday Activism in the Age of Climate Change

Environmentalists often point out that contemporary everyday practices bear specific environmental costs. In the case of eating, recent research has demonstrated that the consumption of meat and other animal products has a significantly higher environmental cost than the consumption of fruits and vegetables. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans have begun to cite environmental reasons for their decision to self-impose a dietary restriction on meat and/or animal products. In this study, I seek to investigate, using ethnographic methods of interviews and participant-observation research, how individuals make sense of environmental justifications and ethical arguments for making a change in their lifestyles, using vegetarians and vegans in Burlington as a proxy to study this issue. Furthermore, I seek to explore how such a change relates to a particular form of activism, one that is rooted in a change in lifestyle due to environmental reasons. Some have called this “ecological citizenship” and others “everyday activism,” but it differs from previous understandings of activism that emphasize participation in social organizations and/or moments of rupture. This shift away from social movement politics to everyday activism is especially important at this time because it is widely understood as an important strategy to mitigate the consequential impacts of climate change.