A dozen years ago, a New York Times Magazine article titled “Power Steer” changed the way Americans thought about meat. “We are what we eat, it is often said,” wrote author Michael Pollan, “but of course that is only part of the story. We are what what we eat eats too.” Read More
Fellow, Center for Diversified Farming Systems
January 22nd, 2015
January 22nd, 2015
Sunday is grocery shopping day.
As I sit on the couch sipping my morning coffee, my husband walks over and asks, “What do you want to make for dinner this week?” I reach for a pen on our coffee table and a piece of paper. Before we head out to the store, we make a list of what we’re cooking for dinner each night of the week. Read More
January 16th, 2015
In his State of the Union speech next Tuesday night, President Obama is expected to focus heavily on challenges like economic inequality and international terrorism. But he is also likely to address at least some of the issues that UCS works on directly, such as climate change and energy. Here’s a quick take on what he may say on these issues, as well as some things he should say, but probably won’t. Read More
December 18th, 2014
Science isn’t easy. Scientific research is often difficult, tedious, and can take years to come to fruition. And it’s because it takes such dogged effort to reach solid scientific conclusions that we trust the work scientists do. Unfortunately, too many politicians and institutions reject or distort scientific conclusions they don’t like.
We all lose when political spin runs roughshod over evidence scientists have uncovered regarding risks to our health and well-being. Sadly, such incidents are now commonplace enough to have their own hashtag: #ScienceFail. Here are our nominations for the worst cases of #ScienceFail for 2014. Read More
December 16th, 2014
In public health, one of the first steps to addressing a problem is defining it. The second, measuring it. Most Americans are aware that our country has an obesity problem—in adults as well as children—in part because of our unhealthy food system. But how do researchers gauge the extent of the problem, and what do we know about whether it is increasing? Read More
December 10th, 2014
You hear the phrase “we’re number one!” from Americans fairly often, usually in relation to sports or politics. Now new research from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that there’s another domain where it applies. It’s not as an assertion of superiority, and probably never will lead to a chant at the Olympics, the World Cup or even the UN climate negotiations. Rather, it’s in terms of our potential to use our land sector – that is, agriculture and forests – to reduce our global warming pollution and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
December 9th, 2014
As the human population rises, so too does the anxiety about whether there will be enough food for all. Many have suggested that sustainable agriculture methods, such as organic production, are not suited to large scale adoption as a means of providing a reliable food source. Yet considering that our industrial agricultural system generates a plethora of environmental and public health problems, we have a real conundrum. How can we possibly secure sufficient food quantities without sacrificing the quality of our health or our planet’s? Read More
December 9th, 2014
December 2nd, 2014
During the summer of 2012, I was hard at work finishing data collection for my doctoral dissertation. While pursuing my degree in Health Policy and Management, I had just spent the last year traveling around North Carolina asking lower-income women what their thoughts were on access to healthy food. Not surprisingly, produce prices were always the first topic to come up. Read More
December 1st, 2014
The new annual data on Amazon deforestation in Brazil has just come out, and it’s good news. For the latest year—August 2013 through July 2014—the annual total was 4,848 square kilometers. That’s 18 percent less than in the previous year, and the second-lowest figure ever. Read More