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Barcelona Science Festival 2018

By on June 11, 2018

Dozens of visitors discover how food and the environment are related at the Science Festival

  • Researchers at the Chair joined the Barcelona Science Festival 2018 on 10th June at the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona.
  • Many research institutes, universities and companies participated in this event, organising more than 230 activities.
  • The Festival gathered together around 20,000 visitors of all ages to exchange knowledge with scientists.

A question: “How are food and the environment related?.” A call to action: “imagine that you are flying on an aeroplane and have to make decisions on the catering menu, considering the carbon footprint associated with the food products before selecting an option.” And two scientists from the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF: Laura Batlle-Bayer, PhD Candidate responsible for the Agrifood Research Line, and Gonzalo Blanca-Alcubilla, PhD Candidate of the Waste Management Research Line. These are the key elements of the workshop “What’s the environmental footprint of food?,” held last Sunday during the Barcelona Science Festival 2018. During this outreach activity, an enthusiastic public of all ages had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of environmental impacts of food consumption and discover the Chair’s ongoing research projects, alongside its researchers.

A weekend for science

On June 9-10, the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona was turned into a science exhibit hosting more than 230 outreach activities for all ages, run by 160 organisations, research centres, universities, and outreach services companies from around Catalonia, including the Chair. As a part of the programmed activities, researchers at the Chair held its workshop on the environmental impacts of food consumption within the space 11-12 “Living more, living better” on 10th June, and received around 40  visitors of all ages interested in research conducted by the Chair’s members. Aimed at bringing science closer to the general public, this activity managed to raise awareness of food’s carbon footprint.

During a 25-minute session, participants enjoyed a unique opportunity to find out about the carbon footprint in-flight meals by comparing the impacts of 3 different menu cards from a life cycle perspective. First, Laura Batlle-Bayer, PhD Candidate responsible for the Agrifood Research Line and the CERES-ProCon Project at the Chair, introduced the greenhouse gas emissions of food consumption. Then, Gonzalo Blanca-Alcubilla, PhD Candidate of the Waste Management Research Line associated with the LIFE Zero Cabin Waste Project, explained the carbon footprint related with the generation and management of cabin waste among the participants.

“We have been given the opportunity to share our ideas and experiences, enhance our dissemination initiatives and, most importantly, promote an open dialogue with society,” stresses Batlle-Bayer. “The Barcelona Science Festival 2018 has been a great occasion to get involved in science education approaches to bring research closer to society by encouraging the involvement of the general public in science activities,” Blanca-Alcubilla adds.

Chair’s ongoing research projects

The ‘Ceres-ProCon Project: Food production and consumption strategies for climate change mitigation’, co-funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, is aimed at “designing strategies to improve the sustainability of food production and consumption,” explains Laura Batlle-Bayer. The main goal of Ceres-ProCon is to achieve a more responsible and sustainable food consumption through healthier diets which are respectful for nature and specifically contribute to climate change mitigation. While the ‘LIFE Zero Cabin Waste Project: Tackling international airline catering waste by demonstrating integral and safe recollection, separation & treatment,’ co-funded by the European Union through the LIFE Programme, “seeks to create an integrated model to reduce, reuse and recycle waste collected on Iberia airplanes and lay the foundations to enable other airlines to replicate this model,” Gonzalo Blanca-Alcubilla highlights. Throughout the project it is intended to study the different waste streams generated in the aircraft cabin, to propose minimisation measures and to implement separation of residues (recoverable and non-recoverable fraction), as well as the collection and treatment of the different flows of waste.

Spanish version: Here