Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SCAN Symposium Session 2016: Ethics of Food, Sustainability and the Environment

This week’s blog post features Christopher Gardner, PhD Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.  This session is titled: Ethics of Food, Sustainability and the Environment.  Ideally the system that provides the food we eat should be both ethical and support environmental sustainability. In addition, ideally, food should be nutritious, pleasing to the palate, safe, convenient, and affordable. None of these characteristics are dichotomous; they all involve a continuum. Unfortunately, in some cases increasing one characteristic results in decreasing another. Our current food production and consumption practices are less than ideal, with room for improvement. This presentation will address the disturbingly unethical treatment of livestock raised for food and the human labor force that plants, raises, tends, harvests, and slaughters our food. Strategies for increasing the environmental sustainability of our food choices will be discussed. Finally, it will be proposed that engaging your clients and patients in the topics of food ethics and environmental sustainability may be a useful tool in helping some of them to make sustained healthful behavior modifications in their eating habits.