How University Sustainable Development Research Can Impact the Local Community: The Links Between ESD and Dietary Choices

Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


As dietary choices vary worldwide and contribute to a distinct identity, this study examined if links exist between various inhabitants’ motivating factors, including the environmental impact of meat production and the extent of meat consumption. Such a detailed investigation has never been undertaken at the local level and the results not only shed light on current consumption trends and the perspectives of the inhabitants of two Maltese Districts but also lead to formulate a way forward—Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) being the key to address the current situation for a sustainable future. The quantitative data was collected through a structured telephone survey involving 378 inhabitants from each of the two main islands, with the data then analyzed through SPSS software, employing both descriptive and inferential statistics. This revealed that the absolute majority of participants in both districts are meat eaters although their meat consumption patterns differ in frequency, and in the type of meat consumed. Gozitans lead in their preference for local meat and are more inclined to adhere to the traditional way of life, conforming to religious practices. The absolute majority are unaware of the negative environmental impact of meat production and consumption. This study reveals that geographical location does have an influential role in the dietary patterns of its inhabitants and that environmental attitudes are not a strong deciding factor. This study continues to uphold the vision that culture should be considered as one of the main pillars of ESD. In response to these findings, a model illustrating the emerging links between ESD and meat consumption is presented. This paper directly illustrates how university research can impact the local community and the study will undoubtedly prove beneficial to anyone interested in carrying out further research to establish links between ESD and dietary choices.


Dietary choices Education for sustainable development Quantitative framework Culture as the fourth ESD pillar Applied university research 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Education Research (CEER)University of MaltaMsidaMalta

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