The flapping of a butterfly’s wings may or may not have the capacity to trigger a tornado on another continent, but without a doubt, our food, water and energy systems have profound impacts upon each other (and us, and our planet). With that in mind, we're excited to introduce our new GRACE website, which we built to reflect the interconnected nature of these three systems.
Maybe you're a water conservationist. You'll be interested, then, to know about how much water is used in the US for agriculture (nearly 40 percent) and for energy production (over 40 percent of freshwater withdrawals are used for thermoelectric production), or about how overuse of chemical inputs in our country’s breadbasket leads to dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay.
These are just a few ways that our food, water and energy systems are intricately related. We call these vast areas of overlap the “nexus,” and by taking a more integrated approach, we hope to promote a more holistic way of thinking about our shared resources – for consumers, advocates and decision-makers alike.
Our GRACE program staff is excited about expanded potential offered by the new site.
From our Food Program Director, Destin Layne
As we approach Sustainable Table’s10th anniversary, we're inspired by how far the food movement has come, and are even more committed to providing consumers with easy to navigate resources that help them find the truth about green-washing, food labels, our industrialized food system and so much more. Over the past decade, we've introduced more than 30 million viewers to the problems with industrial meat through The Meatrix, our critically acclaimed animation series. And as we develop new partnerships and create more innovation in the emerging food and technology space, we are excited about the opportunity to explore a healthier and more resilient future through a wider, more inclusive lens. Because our new site presents our food work in concert with GRACE’s Water and Energy Programs, we can address these issues and discuss solutions to the problems we face in new and deeper ways.
But rest assured – our new site includes all the great tools and resources from the original Sustainable Table, along with some great new content and an easily navigable layout. Our updated Issue Pages provide detailed information about the most pressing food and agriculture topics (and now with an added “nexus” focus), and In the Kitchen has new recipes, tips for buying and cooking with sustainably produced food, and articles about how food affects your health and nutrition. And visit our Take Action section to learn how to advocate for a better food system for everyone.
And from our Water and Energy Program Director, Kyle Rabin
Our food, water and energy systems are inextricably linked and therefore must be managed and governed in an integrated manner to effectively meet the needs of an ever-growing world population. GRACE’s new website reflects this emerging understanding by integrating our content to better illustrate the interconnections among these systems.
Our Energy and Water Programs have grown out of GRACE’s Network for New Energy Choices and H2O Conserve projects. We remain an active partner in the Freeing the Grid project and are excited to introduce our Water Footprint Calculator to a wider audience. And as we move forward with our work, we will be increasingly focused on the interconnections among our food, water and energy systems (the nexus) and why a more coordinated approach is necessary in the policy arena and beyond. Our GRACE staff will expand our research into new and emerging issues to help advocates, policymakers and the general public stay on top of the rapidly changing energy sector, and how energy production and consumption affects our food and water systems.
We will also continue to highlight the ways in which our nation’s water resources and water systems can be better managed – recognizing its integral role in food and energy production – to continue to provide abundant, sustainable supplies of clean freshwater. And our Power Plants Kill Fish educational resources are a key component of a national campaign to stop the damage that antiquated open loop power plant cooling systems are having on aquatic life within rivers, lakes and estuaries. The campaign, which has been actively seeking water and fish-friendlier power on a national and state level, and even at individual power plants, exemplifies the need for more nexus-oriented policies and practices.
And from the Senior Editor of our Ecocentric blog, Leslie Hatfield
Ecocentric has taken a nexus approach to our writing about food, water and energy systems since its inception in 2010. Drawing from this framework requires a certain mental flexibility, but the best – and most interesting – solutions to the problems we face are the ones that take into consideration the interrelated nature of these systems. I'm excited to see our program work presented in this richer, more holistic way.
We hope our visitors will appreciate our new approach. Please, take a look around our new site, and let us know what you think!
Managing Director, Programs and Technology
GRACE Communications Foundation