Nutrition Professionals as Environmental Stewards and Climate Champions (2022 Mar)

“The intersection of the food system, the environment and human health is nothing short of complex, but as experts in the food and nutrition space, we have an incredible opportunity (and obligation) to be trailblazers in the fight around climate change.  

No matter what sector of the nutrition field we work in, we can exert our influence in many areas, from individual and institutional food consumption to national level food policy. Whether we work with what’s being eaten, how it’s being grown or how it’s being disposed of, we can make a difference.  If you write, speak publicly or have an online platform, you can use it to educate on and promote these ideas and to make plant based food look as delicious as humanly possible.  If you are in academia, you can incorporate issues of sustainability and regenerative agriculture into any and all aspects of your curriculum.  

Again, as systems thinkers and those with a vested interest in human wellness, we cannot separate a healthy foods system from a healthy biological or eco-system. The good news is that the foods that are healthy for humans are usually those that have a lighter environmental footprint [17].  It appears that once again, food is not only medicine for the person, but for the planet and nutrition professionals are leading the charge.”

– This is a small excerpt from a blog post on the Planetary Health Collective site written by Mary Purdy, MS, RDN.
Mary Purdy

➡️ Mary Purdy, MS, RDN is an award-winning integrative eco-dietitian and nutrition educator who is adjunct faculty at The Culinary Institute of America teaching Sustainable Diets and Public Health. She was in clinical practice for 13+ years using a personalized medicine and functional nutrition approach before transitioning into sustainable food systems and their intersection with climate change and human health. She taught at Bastyr University in Seattle, WA for 8 years, and lectures for numerous universities, institutions, and professional educational platforms including the UK’s Future Food Movement. In addition to being the host of The Good Clean Nutrition Podcast, she had her own podcast, The Nutrition Show, with 100+ episodes, and has authored two books, Serving the Broccoli Gods and The Microbiome Diet Reset. Mary also is a nutrition and sustainability adviser for Big Bold Health, serves as the Director of Education for the Planetary Health Collective, and is a sought-after speaker, consultant, and community builder working with organizations to create a more sustainable, just, and resilient food system. Learn more about Mary at www.marypurdy.co.

➡️ Educational Resources/References Around Sustainable & Regenerative Food Systems (updated Nov 2023) – Mary has amassed a myriad of scientific papers on a variety of topics on her website related to the impacts of our current industrial food and agricultural system and the effects it is having on human and planetary health. Here are a few of the clusters:

  1. Research about “sustainable diets” and connecting our food and agriculture system to climate change and environmental degradation and human health.
  2. Impacts of Industrial Animal Agriculture’ on environment and climate change & the benefits of more Plant-forward eating patterns on human and planetary health
  3. The case for the effects of organic/regenerative agriculture/agroecology on soil health, environment/climate and human health (including human gut microbiome)
  4. Making the case for “Better Meat” and humane animal agriculture
  5. Papers highlighting the role of Dietitians/Nutrition Professionals/Healthcare Providers in food system transformation
  6. Making the case for Sustainable Seafood & Regenerative Ocean Agriculture
  7. Organizations working to address & transform the food and agricultural systems – These organizations are treasure troves of information, free resources, reports and learning opportunities.
  8. Consumer-friendly articles about sustainable food systems and diets that are from well-respected institutions and have solid references to back up claims.
  9. Research on the Impact of Pesticides on Human Health
  10. Research on the Impact of Pesticides on The Environment

View/download the resource

Transparency | Diversity | Dynamism | Evidence-based |

Dietetic EducatorPublic Health
Personal Knowledge Development
Global