Cows are big methane machines and not very efficient ones, and everyone agrees that we need to reduce our carbon footprint. As people are becoming better informed about choices and what they’re putting into their bodies, they are looking at the “costs” from a health perspective, for animals and for the environment. Changes are afoot.
Who knew that Burger King would be offering the Impossible Whopper made from plant-based protein instead of meat? And veganism, which used to be a fringe-movement, has now morphed into a hip lifestyle. Scientists are already working on cell-based meat products which will be on sale to the public next year.
To help us understand the issues, we have scientists, philosophers and businessmen. Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard is joined by Nina Gheihman, a sociologist at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and two entrepreneurs, Truman French and Tucker Pforzheimer, who are running a business, growing shiitake mushrooms on Martha’s Vineyard.
BIO: Tucker Pforzheimer
Tucker Pforzheimer founded Martha’s Vineyard Mycological, a culinary mushroom growing operation, with Truman French.
BIO: Truman French
Truman French founded Martha’s Vineyard Mycological, a culinary mushroom growing operation, with Tucker Pforzheimer.
BIO: Nina Gheihman
Nina Gheihman received both her undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of Toronto in Canada. Her dissertation examines how veganism, which has historically been a marginal practice, has recently become a popular lifestyle choice around the world. She is comparing veganism in three national contexts—the United States, France, and Israel—which represent three cases of medium, low, and high prevalence of veganism in terms of public consciousness and adoption at the individual level. Other current projects include an examination of the self-presentation of status in New York Times wedding announcements and how the sexual desirability of women is assessed in the context of high AIDS prevalence in Malawi (in collaboration with Margaret Frye, Princeton University). Nina is also the co-author with Lorne Tepperman (University of Toronto) of Habits of Inequality, published by Oxford University Press. She is an affiliate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University.
BIO: Dr. Walter Willett
Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willett studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Masters and Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Willett has focused much of his work over the last 40 years on the development and evaluation of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments, are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.