Feelings, Facts, Food and Genetic Engineering – A Fresh Look


The logo for thePace Academy for Applied Environmental StudiesThe logo for the “Food You” campaign at Pace University aimed at raising student awareness of issues related to what we eat.

From noon to 2 p.m. today (Eastern time), and archived online here thereafter, you can watch and weigh in on an open-minded discussion of the intersection of biotechnology, the environment and the dinner plate at Pace University.

The event, “Feelings, Facts, Food and GMOs – A Fresh Look,”* is part of FoodYou, a .

Today’s panel consists of Shelley Boris, a chef committed to conscientious cuisine and author of “Fresh Cooking” (disclosure: she’s a friend); Jason J. Czarnezki a professor of environmental law at Pace Law School and co-author of “Food, Agriculture and Environmental Law“; Pamela Ronald, a plant geneticist and co-author of “Tomorrow’s Table“; and Nathanael Johnson, the Grist writer whose 2013 series ”Panic-Free GMOs” provided a deep and informative dive on genetics, agriculture and risk.

I’ll be moderating.

You can post questions or reactions on Twitter using the hashtag#pacefood. We look forward to hearing from you!

* See David Ropeik’s writings and talks for much more on how feelings usually trump facts when people confront consequential science.

"As of 2/21/14, there are 253,293 fall 2014 applications submitted by 36,304 applicants. Applicants are down 11.7% and applications are down 12.3% from 2013."

A line chart titled Fall ABA Applicants by Week. The horizontal axis represents months November through August. Along its vertical axis are numbers 0 through 100,000 indicating number of applicants. The line labeled Fall 2012 steadily rises from 16,719 in November to 59,090 in March, then begins to plateau from March until August ending at 67,735. The line labeled Fall 2013 increases from 12,728 in November to 48,674 in March, then begins to plateau from March until August ending at 59,426. The line labeled Fall 2014 rises slightly from 11,340 to 36,304 at the end of February.

FoodYou Design: Feelings, Facts, Food and GMOs – A Fresh Look

The mission of the FoodYou Campaign at Pace University is to objectively explore and address the tough questions surrounding today’s food system.

The role of genetic engineering in agriculture is particularly contentious, with assertions about huge promise or perils often obscuring science.

On Wednesday, February 26th, join us in person or online for FoodYou Design: Bioethics Forum XX.

A FoodYou Design panel will aim to inform rather than inflame by bringing together a chef focused on conscious cuisine, a food journalist who spent six months investigating claims and counterclaims about GMOs, a law professor and a plant geneticist. The discussion will be moderated by Pace Academy Senior Fellow Andrew Revkin, who has explored the future of food repeatedly on his New York Times blog, Dot Earth.

The discussion will review the science on health and environmental questions, the legal issues related to food labeling and the realities of feeding not just a growing global population, but also one that is becoming more prosperous.

Can GMOs be a part of our vision for a sustainable, equitable, and healthy world?

Details below and at

FoodYou Design: BioEthics Forum XX

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

12:00pm – 2:00pm

Butcher Suite, Kessel Student Center

Pace University in Pleasantville

and .

Free and open to the public.


Andrew Revkin Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies


Shelley BorisExecutive Chef, Fresh Company, and author of “Fresh Cooking: A Year of Recipes from the Garrison Institute Kitchen”

Jason Czarnezki Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace Law School

Nathanael Johnson – Food and Environment Reporter,

Pamela Ronald Director, Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation at the University of California, Davis, and co-author of “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food”

Access the live recording of FoodYou Design at:

This is Pace University’s 20th Bioethics Forum and is co-sponsored by:
Sigma Xi Research Society and Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.

I have written before about the need to improve the rail infrastructure in the United States, including noting some states doing silly things about high speed rail and that China’s high speed rail is light years ahead of the U.S. Since I’ve flown far too much over the last few years given my work in Asia as then director of the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law and given the high carbon footprint of airplanes, I have decided the take the train far more of late. I’ve now travelled roundtrip on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited from NYC to Chicago and am taking the Silver Star from NYC to Florida. These are overnight trains and the folks on the trains are quite nice and the accommodations are fairly comfortable. Once I tell people I’m doing this, most have been shocked to find out the you can even take an overnight train in the U.S. to these destinations. I wish we were investing more in high speed rail in the U.S., and that more of the federal investment after the 2008 economic crisis went to trains rather than roads. Perhaps this dream scenario could develop: I think norms would shift dramatically in this country and people would use rail more frequently if it was cheaper and nicer, especially given how much flying seems to be a challenge of late.