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Master of Environmental Data Science

Assessing Potential Environmental Justice Implications of Environmental Pressures from the Global Food System

Boat hauls up net of fish

Group Members: Connor Flynn, Mia Forsline, Scout Leonard, Alex Yousefivand (Vand)

Faculty Advisors: Ben Halpern

Client: National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)


In order to feed a growing global population that already suffers from major inequities, global food policies and programs need to address the ways specific food systems across regions exacerbate and perpetuate environmental inequities. Currently, global food production utilizes vast resources and generates a significant environmental footprint; additionally, the growth and development of the global agricultural sector has had profound impacts on the health and wellbeing of human populations. 

Previous studies of food systems focus on singular environmental stressors from singular systems. However, newly available data from the National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS) maps nearly all reported global food production and associated environmental stressors. This data offers the opportunity to examine the human welfare impacts of global food systems and their various environmental stressors. 

This project seeks to harmonize the NCEAS global footprint of food systems data with human welfare data to analyze patterns of environmental inequities in livestock, crop, aquaculture, and fishery production in the U.S. at a county level that could inform future scaled research of these dynamics. It is anticipated that such patterns could guide more equitable and sustainable food system policies and management. 

Client contact: Ben Halpern, NCEAS

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