For someone like me, who thinks and reads about food all the time, it is hard, if not impossible, to ignore the prevalence of news reports about the detrimental effects of our food choices on the environment. Recently the buzz centered on food waste, methane release, and the impact on global climate. Last spring it was dead pigs in Chinese rivers. As any reader of Michael Pollan knows, there are dozens of ways that our food system and our environment are deeply intertwined. Most estimates conclude that approximately 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions stem from activities related to growing, processing, and consuming food. Nearly half of all groundwater withdrawals are used to irrigate our crops. So, why does my interest in this relationship leave my friends and students so perplexed?
For reasons that are obvious only to me I followed up my PhD in Earth Science with a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition. My professional interests lie at the intersection of environmental science and public health. To me that intersection is a large, interesting, and critically important place. Yet, whenever I say those words I invariably get a lame attempt at a joke about helping rocks to lose weight. Or wondering if breastfeeding is best for Mother Earth.
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