Philosophy for our times

Inspiring events to bring about the change you want



What is wrong with our relationship with food? How can we change the way we eat to protect the world and save-guard our future?

Biologists claim that the predatory character of humans is leading to the sixth mass extinction. With industrial farming driving this disaster, is it time to radically transform how we think about food and the earth more generally?

Instead of considering what is best for humans, should we see nature as something sacred rather than a resource to be mined? Could this revolutionise how we eat?

Or are policy, regulation and practical action the only truly viable solutions?


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Our Host

Barry C. Smith

Barry C. Smith

Director of the Institute of Philosophy and author of Questions of Taste - The Philosophy of Wine


Natalie Bennett

Natalie Bennett

The former leader of the Green Party argues the need for stricter regulation of the food industry and for a basic standard of living, giving people the time and money to eat well.

T!m Freke

T!m Freke

The philosopher and renowned authority on world spirituality advocates the need for a wide-reaching spiritual shift in society to promote greater compassion and a sense of connectedness among all living things.

Rosie Birkett

Rosie Birkett

Cook and author of the book and blog, A Lot On Her Plate, Rosie will be providing the foodie perspective: what is the cultural, emotional and social significance of food and eating?.

Dada Jyotirupananda

Dada Jyotirupananda

The yogic monk, long-time vegan and meditation teacher argues for ideological change that prioritises the welfare of all planetary life, rather than human well-being alone.

Event Details

7:00pm: Doors and Bar Opens 

7:30pm: Eating to Save the Planet Debate

8:30pm onwards: Live DJ Set: 

DJ, producer and occasional Shaking Chain, IAI resident DJ Alex Solo brought his arcane record collection to London (Club Makossa, JAMM, CLF Bussey Building) via Manchester (The Corner, Deaf Institute, Night & Day). He runs the club night Babalonia, a night of salsa dura, disco, Turkish psych, soukous, deep house, MPB, boogie, afrobeat, etc. Fresh from a high-concept collaboration with UCL scientists — trying to recreate a sleep cycle with a DJ set — Mr. Solo has promised to bring some epicurean delights and tantalising treats to our dance-floor. 

Why the Event Matters

“We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.”

 With experts claiming that industrial farming is driving the 6th mass extinction, Ursula Le Guinn’s dystopian novel, The Dispossessed, feels hauntingly prescient.

Over-fishing, chemical pollution from farms, and mass deforestation to grow crops for animals rather than humans - our appetites are a major factor in ecological destruction and food insecurity.

And not only does our diet of factory-farmed meat harm the environment, it also damages our health: intensively farmed food is high in fat and is also creating drug-resistant bacteria with half of all antibiotics used on farm animals.

On April 3rd, we will be asking where we went wrong. How has food become an instrument of destruction? When did we trade eating for consumption? More importantly, where do we go from here?

Do we need to work together with businesses and governments to change the food industry? Could policy, education and intervention transform the industry into a paragon of ethical sustainability? Is the solution practical and pragmatic action?

Or does the way we eat reflect a fundamental flaw in our concept of the self? Western philosophy has tended to see humans as individual identities rather than as formed by our relationships with the world around us. Would a radical sense of inter-connectedness foster a desire to protect our environment? Could this new spirituality re-imagine food as valuable in itself, rather than simply a resource to be exploited?

Join us on Tuesday 3rd April to debate the future of food.

- Cora Harrison, Event Producer


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