This seminar will present an overview of the opportunities and challenges in achieving diets that are both healthy and sustainable, with a special focus on how environmental and statistical modelling techniques can be employed to improve our understanding, predict the future, and test possible interventions. The seminar will draw on Michalis’s main findings from his Australian and global studies.
The Australian study employs environmental footprinting and linear programming to optimise dietary and environmental outcomes for different socioeconomic groups in Australia. This ongoing research has thus far highlighted the significant environmental impacts of discretionary (‘junk’) food consumption and some of the barriers entailed in shifts to healthier diets, especially for lower income groups.
The global study employs environmentally extended multi-regional input-output (EE-MRIO) analysis and Bayesian Belief Nets (BBNs) to quantify how the environmental intensity of food consumption has changed in recent decades and to what extent this is a product of economic growth as opposed to geography or historical dietary composition, and identify countries which appear to be decoupling their food consumption from environmental impacts and what can we learn from them.
About the Speaker
His research on sustainable food systems has both a national and a global component. In the Australian context, he is modelling diets at a high level of socioeconomic resolution to develop bespoke interventions that minimise both environmental and health impacts (as part of a project funded by the Australian Academy of Science). In his global research, Michalis develops statistical approaches to achieve a more nuanced understanding of the ‘nutrition transition’ towards more westernised diets, by quantifying the relationships between drivers such as urbanisation and GDP growth, and associated health and environmental impacts.