When it comes to defining a culture, I suppose other factors may match the vital vibrancy of the culinary, but none surpass it. The foods we forage or hunt or harvest from our lands and waters, the way we prepare them and share them, the ways our foods express and embody our ‘xenium’—that is, the gifts we give to welcome strangers among us—all these are at the heart of who we are, of who we imagine ourselves to be.
When our lands and waters are under stress, when they are pressed by long-term duress, when it’s not just the seasons that change but rather the climate itself that shifts, then so too will shift the wild plants and wildlife, the domesticated crops and livestock, that define our Friday night fish-fries and our weekend cookouts.
This week, our speaker asks in essence: in the face of climate change, how will we be fair to our grandchildren’s fare?
To paraphrase Steinbeck, it is possible to be told a bold truth about a place and at the same time not know quite yet what to make of it. That’s why I’m looking forward to Professor Tai’s analysis.
On September 29 we get a taste of how what Jonathan Patz now calls “the Climate Crisis” is changing our foods, and therefore our culinary heritage. Law professor Steph Tai explores the legal angles of a social justice issue in their talk entitled, “In Fairness to Future Generations of Eaters and Drinkers: How Legal Reforms Can Protect Our Culinary Heritage.”
Description: Cuisine is an important part of all cultures. But climate change can affect both the quality and quantity of available foods and beverages. Prof. Tai will describe some of the effects already seen in agriculture, as well as changes that may happen in the near future. They will then discuss existing legal mechanisms that could be used to protect our culinary heritage, and conclude with additional changes that we should consider if we want fairness for future generations of eaters and drinkers.
Bio: Steph Tai’s scholarly research examines the interactions between environmental and health sciences and administrative law. These include the consideration of scientific expertise and environmental justice concerns by administrative and judicial systems, and as well as the role of scientific dialogues in food systems regulation, and the ways in which private governance incorporates scientific research. Professor Tai was an adjunct law professor at Georgetown from 2002-2005 and a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law during the 2005-06 academic year. Teaching interests include administrative law, environmental law, food systems law, environmental justice, risk regulation, contracts (especially private governance and supply chains!), and comparative Asian environmental law.
Raised in the South by two chemists, Professor Tai decided to combine their chemistry background with a legal education to improve the use of science in environmental protection. At Georgetown, Professor Tai was the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review and a member of the Georgetown Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Team.
After graduating from Georgetown, Professor Tai worked as the editor-in-chief of the International Review for Environmental Strategies, a publication by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Japan. Professor Tai has also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Ronald Lee Gilman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Professor Tai then worked as an appellate attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, briefing and arguing federal appellate cases involving a range of issues, from the protection of endangered cave species in Texas to the issuance of dredge and fill permits under the Clean Water Act. From 2013-2014, Professor Tai served as a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow as a researcher in the Federal Judicial Center.
Explore More: https://secure.law.wisc.edu/profiles/pubs.php?iEmployeeID=48
On October 6 we re-sound the tocsin of the climate crisis as Benjamin Zuckerberg of the Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology speaks on “Winged Sentinels: How Birds Are Coping with Climate Change.”
Description: The evidence that wildlife are responding to modern climate change is now overwhelming. There is strong scientific consensus that environmental tipping points are being crossed, and many species are adapting (or failing to adapt) to novel climatic conditions. Birds serve as the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to climate change. For this presentation, I will cover how birds are responding to a rapidly changing climate as well as extreme events. From changes in behavior to range-wide shifts, birds are the winged sentinels of modern climate change.
Bio: Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Zuckerberg arrived a bit late to the wonderful world of ecology. He was, however, lucky enough to start studying birds as an undergraduate at Connecticut College, and went on to receive his Masters from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Ph.D. from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry where her focused on studying range shifts in bird distributions as a consequence of climate change. He then spent three great years as a postdoc and research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Dr. Zuckerberg joined the faculty at UW-Madison in 2011 and has built a lab focused on studying how modern climate change impacts birds and mammals. He remains a strong advocate for the role of the public in collecting data on wildlife and feels that citizen science has opened entirely new fields in ecological research.
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