How Language Can Advance Sustainable Diets: A Summary of Expert Perspectives on How Research into the Language of Plant-based Food Can Change Consumption

How Language Can Advance Sustainable Diets: A Summary of Expert Perspectives on How Research into the Language of Plant-based Food Can Change Consumption. World Resources Institute. Daniel Vennard, Jonathan Wise and Linda Bacon. June 2018

 Food production significantly impacts the environment, but different types of food have different effects. Generally, producing meat, especially from ruminants (cattle, sheep, and goats), uses more land and water and emits more greenhouse gases than producing plant-based foods. Therefore, in countries with high meat consumption, shifting diets to include more plant-based foods and less meat can reduce agriculture’s pressure on natural resources.

One potentially high-impact but low-cost strategy to help consumers shift their diets is changing the language used to describe food. Existing research has shown that how food is described influences what people choose, and that many plant-based dishes have names that are not appealing to people who normally eat meat. However, this area is nascent. More research can reveal the potential of improved language to drive consumption of plant-based foods. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 16 pages].

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U.S. International Relations Scholars, Global Citizens Differ Sharply On Views Of Threats To Their Country

U.S. International Relations Scholars, Global Citizens Differ Sharply On Views Of Threats To Their Country. Pew Research Center. Jacob Poushter. May 8, 2018.

 U.S. foreign policy scholars are more concerned about climate change – and less worried about ISIS and refugees – than both average Americans and general publics abroad.

The international relations scholars in question shared their views via a survey conducted by the Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project. The questions posed to these U.S. academics were mirrored in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey of publics in 37 countries, plus the United States. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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State Regulation of the Charitable Sector: Enforcement, Outreach, Structure, and Staffing

State Regulation of the Charitable Sector: Enforcement, Outreach, Structure, and Staffing. Urban Institute. Shirley Adelstein, Elizabeth T. Boris. February 16, 2018

 State charity offices play an important role in regulating the nonprofit sector, working both independently and with state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Urban Institute-Columbia University Survey of State Charities Regulators (Lott et al. 2016) focused at the office level and showed that state charity offices vary in structure, authority, and tools used to facilitate and enforce regulatory compliance. In this brief, we further analyze those data to compare the relationship between state-level enforcement activities, outreach activities, bifurcation of authority, and staff resources available to state charity offices. We find that staffing levels are related to the scope of outreach and enforcement activities, as well as to bifurcation of authority, which provides a promising avenue for future research. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 18 pages].

Despite Growing Gender Equality, More Women Stay at Home Than Men

Despite Growing Gender Equality, More Women Stay at Home Than Men. YaleGlobal. Joseph Chamie. January 25, 2018

 Women have made great strides in education, employment, politics and equality in general worldwide, but participation in the labor force remains stubbornly below those of men. “By and large, a substantial proportion of mothers withdraw from employment after childbirth,” explains demography expert Joseph Chamie. Choices vary for men and women about working full or part time, placing children or elders in care, or staying at home for family duties. In India for 2016, 29 percent of women with young children joined the workforce versus 81 percent of men, and in Sweden, 80 percent of women are in the workforce versus 84 percent of men. Low participation rates contribute to a gender gap in wages, and higher participation rates contribute to economic growth and reduce poverty. Individuals and families make many calculations in balancing work and family responsibilities. Chamie notes that “families with two incomes are better prepared for unemployment, higher education, martial disruption, illness or economic downturns.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Publics Globally Want Unbiased News Coverage, but Are Divided on Whether Their News Media Deliver

Publics Globally Want Unbiased News Coverage, but Are Divided on Whether Their News Media Deliver. Pew Research Center.  Amy Mitchell et al. January 11, 2018.

 Publics around the world overwhelmingly agree that the news media should be unbiased in their coverage of political issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 38 countries. Yet, when asked how their news media are doing on reporting different political issues fairly, people are far more mixed in their sentiments, with many saying their media do not deliver. And, in many countries, there are sharp political differences in views of the media – with the largest gap among Americans. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 55 pages, 2.26 MB].

Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life

Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life. RAND Corporation.   Jennifer Kavanagh, Michael D. Rich. January 16, 2018.

 Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by “Truth Decay,” defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy.

This report explores the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and how they are interrelated, and examines past eras of U.S. history to identify evidence of Truth Decay’s four trends and observe similarities with and differences from the current period. It also outlines a research agenda, a strategy for investigating the causes of Truth Decay and determining what can be done to address its causes and consequences. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 324 pages, 2.6 MB].