Ecomerge: blog what you eat
What if instead of just counting calories and saturated fats, we also considered how unhealthy our diet is for the planet? Students in a Portland State multimedia capstone course have set out to promote food choices that are healthy for our bodies and the environment.
The students run Ecomerge, a website and blog that aims to educate the community about how human behavior, such as diet, relates to the environment.
Instructor Rob Bremmer says that the purpose of the capstone, which is conducted completely online, is “to take a look at the economic and ecologic intersection, and to show students how those intersections can shift.” He says the website is a way for students to reach out to the community and improve it through education.
This term, students in the capstone are exploring sustainable protein choices and the environmental impacts of our modern diet. The website includes statistical information about the amount of fossil fuels and other natural resources necessary to produce various foods. It also touches on a variety of health and nutritional problems that stem from industrialized agriculture.
Focusing on protein’s role in a healthy diet, Ecomerge provides information on protein-rich foods and recipes, and suggests ways the average consumer can make sustainable, healthy food choices. In particular, it highlights meat-free protein sources, such as potato frittatas and autumn chickpea salad.
But Ecomerge isn’t just for vegetarians; it also provides information about sustainable meats like free-range chicken, and tips on balancing meat, vegetables, and dairy for a healthy, nutritious diet.
Bremmer says that Ecomerge is designed to help everyone, meat-eaters or not, balance their diets in a way that improves their health and that of the planet. Ecomerge does not seek to proselytize, he says, but to educate.
“We try to teach our students how to make points that might persuade people reading the blog to change their behavior, or at least give them something to think about.”
Michael Munkvold is a recent graduate of the Master’s in Technical Writing program at Portland State.