I gave this speech a couple of years ago, back before I was fully committed to my pursuit of professional speaking, which explains how I could show up before a crowd in a T-shirt. But I like the content, and don't anticipate giving the speech again, so I share it despite its flaws.
S U S T A I N A B L Y
I’ve been spreading the word about this event to specific friends on social media, but finally clued in that I should be mentioning it here, too.
This is not new, but I bet you haven't seen it.
You probably know that I've been in conversation with Dr. Christopher Ochner, and this is probably the last installment in that conversation. I expect we'll continue to be in touch, but this exchange has been pleasingly unusual and I don't know that we'll approximate it. Please give Chris a hand for engaging on these points. I am.]
By Dr. Christopher Ochner
By necessity, I have a jaundiced eye toward request for content placement on my blog, because too many of them turn out to be scams. But this one seems legit, and worthwhile as well.
I said in a recent post that there is very little black and white, compared to all the gray of decision-making, and here’s another example.
Brian Wansink and David Just do some interesting research at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and the finding in this report is that cafeterias, in schools and otherwise, ditch their buffet trays, the victim is often salad at the expense of dessert.
One reason many cafeterias have gone trayless is to reduce energy use (repeatedly cleaning all those trays), to which Just and Wansink add a desire to cut down on food waste: People are less likely to take food they’re not going to eat when it’s easier to carry.
But when they went to a college cafeteria to test what happens when trays are taken away, they found that if forced to choose among making multiple trips, or leaving something at the expense of something else.
Students were more reluctant to take a salad, as 18.3% fewer students took salads on the trayless day than the students on the normal day. Without trays, many patrons tried to compensate for having fewer items on their trays by taking more of the few items they took. Because of this students were less likely to eat all of their entrée (38.8% vs. 85.7%), salad (53.6% vs. 91.7%), or dessert (52.7% vs 90.7%)—though the amount of dessert remaining was insignificant.
So not only did it not cut down on food waste, it altered food choices for the unhealthier. Getting rid of the trays seems like a good idea, from the energy perspective. So this is just another example that few matters are black and white, that the color of most decisions in gray.
Even consumers paying attention to where their food comes from and how it is produced are confused, one conclusion that can be drawn from a study published this month in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review that says that 1 in 5 consumers thinks “local” means “organic.”
I see other examples of this not seldomly, such as when I see “organic cane sugar” on a processed-food label, as if the goodness of organic cancels out the … whatever of processed sugar.
The person who shared this video with me suggested it was the companion to "Fed Up," the Katie Couric/Laurie David documentary. It is full of good information on the effects of processed-sugar consumption on our bodies and on public health. It even features a slimy industry apologist.
Based at Utah State, the Crossroads Project is a collaboration of the Fry Street Quartet and physicist Robert Davies that marries science and art to answer what amounts to the central paradox of modern life: "where the scientific ability to identify unprecedented risk to the natural systems that support us, intersects a societal inability to respond," as a document describing the project expresses it.
[My brother, Richard, is a great world traveler and an awfully punny writer. But his missives from the road — this time for him and his intrepid wife Beverly, it's 7 weeks away: Five weeks cycling from Finland through to Lithuania, then a week in Israel with our family and some friends who'll be there celebrating, then a week in Iceland — are often quite good, IMO.