On Tuesday the 3rd July the LEAP team were delighted to host the winners and finalists of the unpublished categories of the 2017 Food Sustainability Media Award, a joint initiative by Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition.
The morning kicked off with an Introduction to the project by Prof Susan Jebb, co-director of LEAP, before three individual researchers spoke about some of their work so far.
Dr Tammy Tong described the studies currently being undertaken to examine the impact of consuming meat and dairy on health. In particular Tammy discussed the differences in health outcomes among people of distinct dietary groups, e.g. regular or low meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. She noted that its important to consider what people who don’t eat meat do eat as the health effects may be a combination of the effects of various different food types.
Dr John Lynch spoke about his research into how we capture the true impact of livestock production on global warming. John suggested that the standard metric by which greenhouse gases are expressed and compared, the 100 year Global Warming Potential (GWP-100) carbon equivalent, can provide misleading comparisons between different activities, as it fails to capture important dynamics that differ between gases. He provided an early overview of work being done in LEAP to look at the climatic impact of livestock emissions with alternative metrics and atmospheric models.
The last speaker was Filippo Bianchi who spoke about his DPhil work in which he has conducted a systematic review to identify studies testing the effectiveness of interventions to decrease meat purchase or consumption and to motivate and support people to shift towards more sustainable plant-based diets.
There was a lively discussion as the visitors asked challenging and interesting questions throughout the morning. It was great for the LEAP researchers to get a better sense of how the media might respond to their research findings. Noone was left in any doubt that we are all going to have to work hard to explain complex issues clearly if we are going to create a well-informed discussion in society about a sustainable food future.