Published 03 April 2020
At the Sydney Environment Institute, we are committed to bringing together the best minds to imagine, research and create sustainable futures. Over the past few years, our online blog and magazines have grown in popularity, and we are thrilled to bring a new format to the table with our new Longform Series. These extended articles are available to download as in-depth explorations of key environmental issues. We hope that these articles give our researchers the freedom and space they deserve to tease out their best ideas, critically engage across disciplines and explore creative and collaborative solutions, whilst giving our readers an opportunity to be immersed in state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research.
Launching the series is Dr Dinesh Wadiwel from the Department of Sociology and Social Policy with ‘Swinging the Pendulum Towards the Politics of Production: Animal-Based Food and Environmental Justice’. Dr Wadiwel was our keynote speaker at the annual Iain McCalman Lecture in February, and his presentation, from which this article is transposed, explored the impact of animal agriculture on climate, planetary health and justice.
The articles, podcasts and video series that the Institute is able to offer are all thanks to our incredible and ever-growing network of local and international researchers, so please reach out if you are not already a member and would like to join us, or to contribute to this exciting new series.
Swinging the Pendulum Towards the Politics of Production: Animal-Based Food and Environmental Justice
Dr Dinesh Wadiwel
Dr Wadiwel explores the impact of animal agriculture on climate, planetary health and justice, and the issues with focussing on individualised responsibility, rather than structural and institutional reform. His talk seeks to swing the pendulum from the politics of consumption towards the politics of production by seeking to understand the global “metabolism” of the historically unprecedented expansion of animal-based foods under capitalism.
The industrialisation of production within the context of capitalist economies has led to the mass production of animal foods as a source of profit, producing deep environmental impacts, and simultaneously exposing trillions of animals annually to the violence of intensified farming and fishing. This talk highlights that thinking about production, rather than consumption, allows us to explore the way the economies and institutions might be enlisted to create a “just transition” away from industrial animal agriculture.