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The Future of Food: The Impact of Food on the Health of the Planet and Humankind

  • 06:00 PM
  • 970-476-0954

The Future of Food: The Impact of Food on the Health of the Planet and Humankind

Environmental Awareness

With Chris Cochran, Susie Davis and Lewis Ziska, moderated by Mercedes Quesada-Embid

Monday, March 4, 2019

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

New venue! Donovan Pavilion | Vail

The food we consume and how it is produced has a profound impact on our environment. From water used in irrigation to water polluted from animal waste to methane emissions from cattle and carbon dioxide emissions from food transportation, making our food supply more sustainable has the potential to improve the health of the planet and the humans living here.
This challenge permeates all levels of the local and global community. Starting locally, this program will address the extent of food insecurity in our own community and the efforts to address it. At the same time as so many face food insecurity, so much food is wasted. Fortunately, food waste is something in which everyone can address; this program will provide actionable steps to be part of the solution.
Finally, discussions around climate change often address factors such as temperature and precipitation levels. However, just as impactful on our global food supply is the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants need carbon dioxide to grow, but can there be too much of a good thing? Rising levels of carbon dioxide have the potential to reduce the nutritional value of the world’s staple crops–find out how and how this is best addressed.
Chris Cochran is the executive director of ReFED. ReFED is a multi-stakeholder nonprofit, powered by an influential network of the nation’s leading business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing U.S. food waste. Previously, Cochran was the senior manager of Sustainability at Walmart where he developed a farm-to-consumer view of food waste while leading sustainability for Walmart’s global produce business. Cochrans’s experience with tackling food waste from multiple points in the value chain helps ReFED bring together new collaborators on food system challenges.
Susie Davis is the director for community impact for Our Community Foundation. With more than twenty years of experience in organizational leadership, Davis uncovers creative approaches to problem-solving and has a talent for bringing people together toward a common goal. During her 15-year tenure with The Youth Foundation, a local youth development organization, Susie led an exceptional staff through substantial growth, building an environment of trust, caring and infectious commitment.
Dr. Lewis Ziska is a plant physiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, he began his career as a Smithsonian fellow and then took up residence as the Project Leader for global climate change at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines before joining USDA. Since joining USDA, Dr. Ziska has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles related to climate change and rising carbon dioxide that address: Agriculture and Food Security; weeds and weed management; invasive species and plant biology and public health.   
Dr. Ziska is a contributor to the 2014 International Panel on Climate Change report (Food Security Chapter); the 2014 National Climate Assessment (Public Health Chapter) and, most recently, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. His work has appeared in Scientific American, USA Today, CBS Nightly News, CBS’ Sunday Morning, National Geographic, NPR, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.  He is the author of “Weed Biology and Climate Change” (with Jeff Dukes, Wiley Press) and the editor of “Invasive Species and Global Climate Change” (with Jeff Dukes, CABi Press). His most recent book: “Agriculture, Climate Change and Food Security in the 21st Century: Our Daily Bread” is available through Cambridge Scholars publishing.
Moderator Mercedes Quesada-Embid joined Colorado Mountain College (CMC) as a faculty member in Fall 2011, just as the new Bachelor’s in Sustainability Studies (BASS) began. Much of her work at CMC centers on advancing institutional sustainability endeavors through the collaborative efforts of student research and innovative campus and college-wide projects. Quesada-Embid, along with other faculty and staff, works toward continuous enhancements of the BASS program curriculum and the expansion of a culture of sustainability across all CMC campuses. She served on the Board of Directors for the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability and facilitated its merger with Walking Mountains Science Center. She currently serves on the Eagle Mines Limited Board, which is a branch of the Eagle River Watershed Council. Connecting students to the broader community is a particularly enriching part of her role as a Sustainability Studies faculty member.
This program is generously underwritten by Betsy & Jesse Fink, Amy & Jay Regan and Wendy Rudolph & Graeme Bush; the Environmental Awareness Series is generously underwritten by Holly & Buck Elliot. This program is presented in partnership with Walking Mountains Science Center.

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