Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

Forests and Food

As the elderly and aggravated Chinese gentleman said in Hope in a Changing Climate, “my grandchildren can’t eat trees!”

Reading the long piece in the New York Times (With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Key Climate Protectors) this week it appears that across the world trees are being eaten not by children but by beetles and other insects at such an increasing rate that the role of forests in sequestering carbon need to be recalculated.

Here in Vermont, at the Dana Meadows Sustainability Institute, amidst the intentional community she inspired the maples and oaks and sycamores are beginning to shift colors; the smell of fall is in the air, and the grass has a sheen of just frozen water atop it so that it crunches when compressed under a boot.

In Aspen, at the Ideas Festival over the summer, trees were a focus as well – emblazoned with environmental information about their important and varied roles – as the life support systems of the planet.

When I present next at the James Beard’s Foundation annual conference in New York City, on the theme of money and media in the food sector, yet again trees will not be on the menu. But they will be on the agenda – as they should and must be.

(On the first day of the conference [Oct. 12] I will be showing an excerpt from Hope in a Changing Climate in a session entitled "The Power of Effective Leadership." On the second day [Oct. 13] I will be part of the panel "DIY: Cooking up a Better Food System -- Perspectives on How We Can Affect Change" leading a session entiteld "What We Can Do with Messaging". The conference will be broadcast live and video will be available at the conclusion of the conference. For more information on the conference, see the preview in the Huffington Post--James Beard Foundation Food Conference: How Money and Media Influence the Way America Eats and the Full Conference Agenda.)

 

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Jonathan makes connections that other people miss. Beyond an understanding of any single environmental issue or energy challenge, he knows how to use knowledge to drive change, how to bring the right players to the table, and how to reframe seemingly intractable problems to create space for new approaches. He’s a strategic thinker with a very clear sense of how things work.

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