Environmental Studies Program

 

Date of this Version

Spring 5-2019

Abstract

Companies such as Tyson Foods and Costco are creating problems through their use of industrial farming practices in Nebraska, such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and monocropping, to generate profit at the cost of humans and the environment. Those most affected are migrant farmworkers from Mexico. The environment is threatened because CAFOs generate greenhouse gases, and pollute nearby waterways with nitrogen. This paper addresses the following research questions: Are students’ perceptions of industrial agricultural companies, such as Costco and Tyson, positive or negative? Are students aware of these issues? How do these perceptions affect issues of sustainability and environmental justice? Surveys with qualitative and quantitative questions were given in nine classes at University of Nebraska-Lincoln to understand awareness and perception around these issues. The surveys were then compared to available literature to understand perception versus reality. Students were generally unaware of the negative impacts of Tyson and Costco. Due to a lack of corporate accountability, public unawareness allows companies to perpetuate their negative behaviors, especially related to the human rights of migrant farmworkers.

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