David Cleveland

Balancing on a Planet: Can Local Food Improve Health, Increase Equity, and Slow Global Warming?

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:00pm
Pacific View Room

Professor David Cleveland (Environmental Studies) explains why diet change for food and climate justice needs to be an explicit goal of localization.

  • Video of Cleveland's talk.

One of the biggest challenges we face is fixing our global food system—although it feeds us, in the process it contributes much to sickness, hunger and climate change. The cause of this is a supply-side strategy that emphasizes increasing production and economic growth. Localizing the food system is a popular solution—but can it deliver? Research suggests that localization can only solve these problems if it focuses on them, especially through diet. Healthy diets based on local food can more efficiently and rapidly 1) improve nutrition and reduce health care costs than can the food, medical, and pharmaceutical industries, 2) reduce inequitable consumption than can increasing the food supply, and 3) reduce climate warming than can technology-dependent strategies. Diet change for food and climate justice needs to be an explicit goal of localization within the global food system. To achieve this goal, we need to provide people and advocacy groups with the relevant scientific information, change the policies and practices of companies and governments that control so many of our food choices, and engage in discussion about diet change as an obligation toward others and future generations.

Cosponsored by The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center