Events

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 4:00pm
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Science Center Lecture Hall D, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge

The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet

HUCE presents a special lecture with Paul Greenberg, James Beard award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food. Greenberg will discuss his new book, The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and Healthier Planet, an eye-opening look at how the multi-billion dollar omega-3 industry is affecting our ocean sustainability and, ultimately, our health.

A panel discussion will follow featuring:

  • Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition
  • Christopher Golden, Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Planetary Health
  • Susan Korrick, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Moderated by Elsie Sunderland, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry

Co-sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Chan-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health, and Planetary Health Alliance. 

Omega-3 fatty acids have long been celebrated by doctors and dieticians as key to a healthy heart and a sharper brain. In the last few decades, that promise has been encapsulated in one of America's most popular dietary supplements. Omega-3s are today a multi-billion dollar business, and sales are still growing apace--even as recent medical studies caution that the promise of omega-3s may not be what it first appeared. But a closer look at the omega-3 sensation reveals something much deeper and more troubling. The miracle pill is only the latest product of the reduction industry, a vast, global endeavor that over the last century has boiled down trillions of pounds of marine life into animal feed, fertilizer, margarine, and dietary supplements. The creatures that are the victims of that industry seem insignificant to the untrained eye, but turn out to be essential to the survival of whales, penguins, and fish of all kinds, including many that we love to eat. 

Behind these tiny molecules is a big story: of the push-and-pull of science and business; of the fate of our oceans in a human-dominated age; of the explosion of land food at the expense of healthier and more sustainable seafood; of the human quest for health and long life at all costs. James Beard Award-winning author Paul Greenberg probes the rich and surprising history of omega-3s--from the dawn of complex life, when these compounds were first formed; to human prehistory, when the discovery of seafood may have produced major cognitive leaps for our species; and on to the modern era, when omega-3s may point the way to a bold new direction for our food system. With wit and boundless curiosity, Greenberg brings us along on his travels--from Peru to Antarctica, from the Canary Islands to the Amalfi Coast--to reveal firsthand the practice and repercussions of our unbalanced way of eating. 

Rigorously reported and winningly told, The Omega Principle is a powerful argument for a more deliberate and forward-thinking relationship to the food we eat and the oceans that sustain us. 

Contact Name: 

Erin Harleman

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Email: huce@environment.harvard.edu
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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