Quantifying ambivalence towards sustainable intensification: an exploration of the UK public's values

AP Barnes, A Lucas, G Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Sustainable intensification (SI) has been proposed as a solution to meeting the challenge of feeding a growing global population under increasing land pressure. This paper explores the level of ambivalence felt towards SI and towards experts promoting SI based solutions to meet food security. A web-based experiment was conducted with 600 respondents who had varying degrees of knowledge about food security issues. We found a diversity of public ambivalence towards sustainable intensification and a high level of felt ambivalence towards experts promoting SI as a solution to global food security. High levels of ambivalence towards experts seemed to influence how messages on global food security were accepted. Moreover, within the respondents here sustainable consumption and greater equity ranked higher than production based sustainable intensification solutions. This paper represents the first application of the psychological construct of ambivalence applied to the topic of sustainable intensification and we argue this helps to localise the debate around SI as it offers the opportunity to capture or disentangle responses towards food security issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609 - 619
Number of pages11
JournalFood Security
Issue number3
Early online date23 Apr 2016
Publication statusPrint publication - Jun 2016

Bibliographical note



  • Ambivalence
  • Ordinal logistic regression
  • Sustainable intensification


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