I write this post in route to the Cooking for Solutions Event at Monterey Bay Aquarium, where I’m on a panel titled “Eco-labels: The road to sustainability?” The panel will be moderated by Beth Daley of the Boston Globe, and my fellow panelists include Wendy Gordon, Editorial Director, NRDC Smarter Living; Dr. Jon Johnson, Co-director, The Sustainability Consortium; and Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director, Technical Policy, Consumers Union. I’m excited to talk about food eco-labeling in light of the publication of my recent article on the subject, and since I was just in Sweden researching organic and eco-labeling efforts.

The event in Monterey also has an exciting assortment of participants and topics, to list a few below, as well as a number of celebrity chefs attending:

· Anna Lappé: Sustainable food advocate and author of “Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It.”

· Paul Greenberg, Author of “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.”

· A conversation with Ted Turner, Chairman and CEO, Turner Enterprises, Inc

· A conversation with Maria Rodale and Myra Goodman, Chairman and CEO, Rodale Inc. and author of “Organic Manifesto,” and Co-founder, Earthbound Farm and author of “The Earthbound Cook”

It should be an interesting and engaging event designed to increase awareness of sustainable food issues. Most of the attendees are members of the media.

I must acknowledge that a drawback to such great events, and my new appointment as Faculty Director of the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law, is an increased carbon footprint due to increased airline travel (in addition to missing my family). But despite the many comments from others that I should not even bother trying to limit by carbon footprint now, I’m still trying to be judicious when deciding to fly (or drive), especially when telecommuting will work. I do think that little efforts matter in the aggregate (as I’ve argued in my book) since they play a role in shaping social and cultural norms, and improving the environment, especially in the face of climate change— environmental change is a long-term product that will require the shifting of societal and economic norms over time. So, while my carbon footprint wants to move from X to 2X, I will strive to make it 1.5X. The only benefit of flying is getting tons of work done; today I read my student’s paper on water permitting in China, writing a paper about the challenges of biodiversity legislation in China (which I’m co-authoring with a Chinese colleague, a fantastic experience so far which really helps cultural understanding and establishing environmental law in the developing world), and have been able to stay connected with my new Droid Incredible 2 phone (which I highly recommend as its syncing with Google is amazing).

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