The 2020 Iain McCalman Lecture

6 February 2020

A Sydney Environment Institute event: Swinging the Pendulum Towards the Politics of Production: Animal-Based Food and Environmental Justice


Dr Wadiwel will explore 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.


"Animal-based foods are an increasing source of global concern due to their climate impact. There are now almost daily calls from scientists for humans to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products, and an increased interest in vegetarian and vegan diets. However, so far, many of these demands for change call for consumers to make individual choices, rather than exploring the institutional or structural drivers of growing per capita meat and dairy consumption. This talk seeks to swing the pendulum of public discussion from the politics of consumption towards the politics of production.


A key focus will be 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 will highlight 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."


The Iain McCalman Lecture celebrates SEI co-founder and former co-director Iain McCalman’s generous and compassionate spirit, and his dedication to fostering and pioneering multidisciplinary environmental research.


Dinesh Wadiwel is a lecturer in human rights and socio-legal studies in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy and Director of the Master of Human Rights. Dr Wadiwel is also a research affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute and a researcher on the SEI/FASS Multispecies Justice Initiative.


The inaugural lecture was held on February 6 2019, given by Dr Frances Flanagan, 2019 University of Sydney Fellow and research affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute.

Please click here to register for this event.

Event details

The 2020 Iain McCalman Lecture

Where The Great Hall, the Quadrangle, University of Sydney When

6 February 2020

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