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We are proud to present in collaboration with TED a curated series of talks plus specially commissioned educational support materials.

TED Studies: Sustainable Consumption - Reworking the Western Diet

Teachers and students can use TED Studies: Sustainable Consumption to enhance existing curricula in undergraduate education courses. Educators and students will find activities and multimedia resources which link the study of Sustainable Consumption to the real world, plus expanded academic content such as key terms, related journal articles and major debates in this highly topical area.  For an abridged, interactive version of this content, subscribe to the TED Studies: Sustainable Consumption course via the iTunesU course app for iPad by clicking here.

Overview

Introductory Essay

Amy Bentley and her co-authors present the disturbing facts which face all of us who live in the land of plenty, otherwise known as the industrialised Western world, and its implications for the rest of the planet.  The authors explain the history behind the West's high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar diet, and why it is not sustainable in the future, in any sense of the word.  Most definitely food for thought.

View Essay

Module 1

How food shapes our cities: Meals in the modern metropolis

Watch the 2009 TEDTalk, “Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities”.  In her talk, the architect and author looks back at 17th century London to understand how urban infrastructure created the problem of feeding city dwellers before industrialization. After a quick look back, Steel fast-forwards 300 years to the way that agribusiness and urban infrastructure have evolved to make us “dependent on systems that only they can deliver.”

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 2

Vertical farming and hydroponics: A garden in my apartment

Watch the 2011 TEDTalk, “Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment”.   Brooklyn resident Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food, so she created a window farm in her apartment using discarded plastic bottles — an effort that led to an innovative start-up that produces food on vertical hydroponic platforms.  Taking a stand against the patent-frenzy agribusiness industry, Riley released her work through an online community that now connects more than 16,000 urban farmers and citizen scientists worldwide.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 3

Reclaiming a food desert: A guerilla gardener in South Central L.A.

Watch the 2013 TEDTalk, “Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central L.A”. The artist and designer couldn’t help but notice what was going on in his backyard—namely, the area’s poor health and high mortality rate from diet-related illnesses. This irreverent talk outlines Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” that provides nourishment, empowerment, education—and healthy, hopeful futures—one urban garden at a time.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 4

Children’s health and government policy: School lunch reform

Watch the 2007 TEDTalk “Ann Cooper talks school lunches”.  Berkeley Unified School District’s ‘renegade lunch lady’ wants children to take to heart the symbiotic relationship between healthy food, healthy bodies and a healthy planet. An outspoken critic of agribusiness and the USDA’s National School Lunch Program, Cooper details the devastating health consequences of western diet — including the staggering statistic that nearly half of all school-aged children could be insulin-dependent within a decade.  In this TEDTalk, Cooper describes her school district’s approach to nutrition, which includes cooking and gardening classes for students and families.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 5

What’s wrong with what we eat: Meat and our ‘food footprint’

Watch the 2007 TEDTalk “Mark Bittman: What’s wrong with what we eat”. The New York Times food writer and cookbook author believes that we’re missing the mark if we focus on whether food is organic, local or humanely sourced.  The elephant in the room, he argues, is the astonishing amount of meat we eat—ten billion animals each year in America alone.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 6

Factory farming and the power of personal choice: Why I’m a weekday vegetarian

Watch the 2010 TEDTalk “Graham Hill: Why I’m a weekday vegetarian”. Treehugger.com founder Graham Hill had heard all the arguments to go vegetarian, but he knew he would mourn the loss of meat. His compromise?  Cutting 70 percent of his meat intake by saving the steaks and salmon for the weekend.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 7

Sustainable seafood: How I fell in love with a fish

Watch the 2010 TEDTalk “Dan Barber: How I fell in love with a fish”. While traveling in Spain, Barber stumbled upon the unthinkable: a fish farm that is totally self-renewing, supports local water quality and biodiversity, and serves up exquisite seafood delights. Barber believes that aquaculture operations like this one ought to be part of a radical reconception of agriculture, and he argues that our problem is not how to produce enough food to feed a growing population, it’s how to distribute it more efficiently and equitably.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.

Module 8

Hunting alternative proteins: Why not eat insects?

Watch the 2010 TEDTalk “Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?”   The entomologist believes insects should be the alternative meat source due to their high nutritional value and production efficiency. Already, 80 percent of the world’s population is making meals out of more than a thousand insect species—so why not in America and Europe?

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

To flip this video, visit TED-Ed.


Putting It Together: Summary Essay and Activities

View Essay and Activities