Speaker makes connections between food and environment

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On Oct. 17, the President of Northwest Veg and Senior Research Analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Peter Spendelow visited campus to talk about food in the environment.

Between 30 and 40 students attended Spendelow’s presentation that was held in Pacific’s own Milky Way. A variety of vegan food was served to those who attended. The event was organized by Assistant Philosophy Professor Ramona Ilea and the Pacific for Dignity of Animals club.

“Everybody eats,” explained Ilea when asked why she asked Spendelow to organize his discussion. She added that Spendelow’s points might help people make more informed decisions about what it is that they’re eating.

Spendelow had visited campus before to speak to one of Ilea’s Environmental classes, but this time Ilea wanted the discussion to be open to the public.

Spendelow introduced the environmental issues he would be mainly talking about, which were global warming, habitat loss, water and air pollution and the toxins produced. He then went on to further discuss these issues with data and graphs involving the foods we eat and how they are really affecting things. The graphs showed that eating less meat would reduce ones ecological footprint and omit less greenhouse gas emissions. A fact that he really stressed was how little efficiency there is in eating animals.

Spendelow presented his information with a lot of graphs and data to help people understand his views. The talk on food and the environment summarized how much energy is used to make the food consumed on a daily basis and how it is affecting the planet. Although the talk was focused on not eating meat, Spendelow stressed that one does not have to live a vegan lifestyle to make a difference in helping to stop global warming.

The main thing Professor Ilea said she liked about Spendelow’s talks was that he analyzes things from a scientific level, which is not a perspective usually looked at when talking about vegetarianism.

“Everything fed to a chicken are things that we could eat,” says Spendelow.

In addition to America’s contributions to global warming, Spendelow talked about how China and India’s meat intake is increasing up to America’s level, which will eventually cause further problems. Another misconception he cleared up was that globally, the number one cause of gas emissions is from food production, not cars.

Spendelow also stayed after his talk to hold one-on-one conversations with those who had questions or needed advice on being vegetarian.


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