Learning Junk Food Marketing Manipulates, Teens Consume Less

a couple, bicycles

Healthy eating can be a challenge when millions of dollars are spent everyday trying to convince us to eat junk food. It turns out that telling the truth to teens may help them eat healthier. Informing teens about the financing and exploitation that goes into big food gets them to think critically about the marketing and rebel against it. Plus, starting healthy eating practice in the teenage years sets them up for a lifetime of health.

In the study, “A Values-Alignment Intervention Protects Adolescents from the Effects of Food Marketing,” published today in Nature Human Behaviour, Chicago Booth’s Christopher J. Bryan, University of Texas at Austin’s David S. Yeager, and Booth PhD candidate Cintia P. Hinojosa find that reframing how students view food-marketing campaigns can spur adolescents, particularly boys, to make healthier daily dietary choices for an extended period of time. The method works in part by tapping into teens’ natural desire to rebel against authority.

Among the two biggest findings in the experiment: The intervention produced an enduring change in both boys’ and girls’ immediate, gut-level, emotional reactions to junk food marketing messages. And teenage boys, a notoriously difficult group to convince when it comes to giving up junk food, started making healthier food and drink choices in their school cafeteria.
“One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods,” said Bryan.

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Yellowknife Twitter Bot Spreads Global Warming Knowledge

Climate change is occurring at a faster pace with every passing year. The rate of change is hard for us to comprehend and think rationally about. An engineer with Ecology North in Yellowknife decided to help us all understand how quickly things are changing by making a twitter bot – @ykclimatewatch that compares temperatures of the past with those of today.

“The more you act on climate, the less likely you are going to be anxious about it,” said Gagnon.
His solution was to create bot that compares each day’s temperature to average temperatures in the community on that date, so people can see the trend for themselves.

Ecology North’s YK Climate Watch Twitter bot is still in its infancy. Its official tweets started in January.
The bot automatically calculates the mean, or average, temperature of the day between 1971 and 2000. It then compares the historical average — or the “climate normal” which is the three-decade averages — to the average temperature of the day on Environment Canada.

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British Columbia’s Carbon Pricing Works Well

carbon output

British Columbia shows carbon pricing works while another province looks uselessly backwards.

The regressive and antidemocratic Ontario “conservative” government is set to sue the Canadian government for protecting the environment. The argument by the Conservatives is basically that an economy allowed to inefficiently consume non-renewable resources is good and that sustainable policy (carbon pricing) is bad. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds.

Hopefully this wasteful battle between governments ends in the environment’s favour. If Ontario just followed British Columbia’s lead this wouldn’t be an issue and arguably the economy would be in better shape. In B.C. the carbon pricing has reduced emissions while making a more energy efficient economy. Sustainable businesses are seeing growth in B.C. that they wouldn’t see elsewhere.

“This carbon tax is a model for the world that well-designed carbon pricing can be good for the environment and the economy. In the 11 years since B.C. brought in its carbon tax, it’s outpaced the rest of Canada both on emission reduction and GDP growth,” said Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa.

In the meantime, numerous researchers have tried to determine the impact of the tax. According to a 2015 paper, B.C.’s emissions had dropped by between five and 15 per cent since the tax was implemented, and it had a “negligible impact” on the overall economy.

Elgie, of the University of Ottawa, was part of a wide-ranging 2013 study that showed a 19 per cent drop in B.C.’s per capita fuel consumption in the first four years of the tax, while the province’s economy slightly outperformed the rest of the country.

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New York Banning Plastic Bags

fruit store

Everyone knows the harm plastics are bringing to the world, especially to marine animals and waterways. In an effort to reduce the harm done by plastics New York state is banning single use plastic bags. This is a great step due to the sheer size of their population and will hopefully pace the way for more states to follow (California already banned them). Way to go New York!

The plan would have an additional element allowing counties to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, revenue that would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund as well as a separate fund to buy reusable bags for consumers.

In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Cuomo said that “these bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” adding that the plan agreed to in Albany would be a way to “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”

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Piracy is Good for Companies

Copyright holders of multi-million dollar franchises decry piracy and proclaim it to be a threat to their business. The reality is different. Piracy can spur competition and keep prices lower as a result. Additionally, the amount of piracy isn’t as high as large mega-corporations will have you believe. Meaning that the concerns around piracy are overblown and that piracy is counter intuitively good for the economy.

“When information goods are sold to consumers via a retailer, in certain situations, a moderate level of piracy seems to have a surprisingly positive impact on the profits of the manufacturer and the retailer while, at the same time, enhancing consumer welfare,” wrote Antino Kim, assistant professor of operations and decision technologies at Kelley, and his co-authors.

“Such a win-win-win situation is not only good for the supply chain but is also beneficial for the overall economy.”

While not condoning piracy, Kim and his colleagues were surprised to find that it can actually reduce, or completely eliminate at times, the adverse effect of double marginalization, an economic concept where both manufacturers and retailers in the same supply chain add to the price of a product, passing these markups along to consumers.

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