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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Symposium asks DePauw, 'You gonna eat that?'

Thursday, February 24, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- Starting Wednesday night and ending today, DePauw University is hosting a symposium on the ethics and economics of food choices, featuring author Frances Moore Lappé as the keynote speaker. In the Memorial Union Student Ballroom Wednesday night, she addressed students, asking them a simple question -- why are people creating a world that no one would willingly choose?

Lappé explained that most people would not choose to live in a world where children around the world die from lack of food -- a world where people feel threatened by disease, financial struggles or foreign invaders.

To reach her hypothesis, Lappé followed food trends in the U.S. and around the world, and after years of research and studies, she came to the conclusion that several factors have influenced a world that does not encourage the potential of human nature and instead brings out the worst in humanity.

"We see what we expect to see," Lappé said. "It's the nature of our perception that is creating this world."

Because of the extreme concentration of power, anonymity and the culture of blame, society has created a world where wealth is generated that makes the rich richer and the food unhealthy. In short, it is a world where humans fear scarcity. To correct this, we have to model our future society on a living democracy based not only on political decisions but on individual choices made in our everyday lives.

"Ecosystems are about give and take," Lappé said. "Our every single action is powerful."

Lappé has written 18 books over the course of 40 years, with this year being the anniversary of her first book, 'Diet for a Small Planet' in 1971. Other titles include 'World Hunger: 12 Myths' and 'Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life.'

The symposium began on Wednesday at the Prindle Institute with a student panel at 4 p.m., dinner at 5 p.m. and a community panel on local issues.

Thursday will feature a morning discussion on literature and food in the Ivy Room at 8:15 a.m., as well as several faculty panels on the subject. For more information about the events taking place on Thursday, visit the DePauw website at www.depauw.edu.

The symposium was made possible by the A.W. Mellon Environmental Studies grant and the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics.

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