Food and the Future Environment

Step 3: Discussion and Analysis


Step 3: Discussion and Analysis

Conclusions: Discussion and Completing the Summative Assessment Worksheet

If you have finished both LCA sections, congratulations! You have just learned the basics of a common analysis tool for complex systems such as coupled natural-human food systems.

Taking stock: For discussion: here are some items you may want to discuss in your groups and with the class.

  1. Module 10.2 has been devoted to summarizing natural systems impacts of the food system. In this LCA, why did we focus on energy use and fossil fuel energy use in particular? What specific impact on natural systems, does fossil fuel use create that evokes sustainability concerns?
  2. Within the particular measurement parameter or metric from question one, which system created less impact on the earth system per unit of food produced (note that there might be other ways to measure the systems with other conclusions, see question 4)?
  3. Which system yielded more potatoes per area? Does this make a difference to the conclusions regarding energy use and its contribution to sustainability? (think about in which units we expressed the results of the analysis)
  4. What are other measures of sustainability that could be applied to the two systems? Think about the other natural systems components presented in sections II and III of the course and in modules 10.1 and 10.2 (water, soil, etc.), or the concepts of social and economic/financial sustainability.
  5. What lessons from the smallholder system, could be applied to the industrial system, and vice-versa?

You will now complete an assignment based on the LCAs you have just conducted, to submit as the second part of your summative assessment, using a worksheet you will download below.

Files to Download

Summative Assessment Worksheet

Submitting your Answers

Complete the Summative Assessment Worksheet short answer and paragraph responses, based on modules 10.1 and 10.2 and your responses on the Excel LCA Spreadsheet you just completed. Then complete the Module 10 Summative Assessment in Canvas.