Online | Diet for a Large Planet

The Polonsky Salon

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Wednesday | 19.04.23 | 19:00

Diet for a Large Planet

A Conversation |

With Prof. Christopher Otter, Ohio State University

about his book
Diet for a Large Planet: Industrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology
University of Chicago Press, 2022 

Host: Dr. Alma Igra, Polonsky Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

We are facing a world food crisis of unparalleled proportions. Our reliance on unsustainable dietary choices and agricultural systems is causing problems both for human health and the health of our planet. Solutions from lab-grown food to vegan diets to strictly local food consumption are often discussed, but a central question remains: how did we get to this point?

In Diet for a Large Planet, Chris Otter goes back to the late eighteenth century in Britain, where the diet heavy in meat, wheat, and sugar was developing. As Britain underwent steady growth, urbanization, industrialization, and economic expansion, the nation altered its food choices, shifting away from locally produced plant-based nutrition. This new diet, rich in animal proteins and refined carbohydrates, made people taller and stronger, but it led to new types of health problems. Its production also relied on far greater acreage than Britain itself, forcing the nation to become more dependent on global resources. Otter shows how this issue expands beyond Britain, looking at the global effects of large agro-food systems that require more resources than our planet can sustain. 

The Polonsky Salon is a digital public platform at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Polonsky Fellows and alumni will host inspiring and internationally renowned academics to discuss new ideas and cutting-edge research from various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

The live broadcast will have subtitles in Hebrew

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