Hampton University
Hampton University Marine and Environmental Science Professor Benjamin Cuker Publishes New Book
10/02/2020 - #62

HAMPTON, Va. (Oct. 2, 2020) – Hampton University Marine and Environmental Science Professor, Dr. Benjamin Cuker, has recently published a new book titled, “Diet for a Sustainable Ecosystem: The Science for Recovering the Health of the Chesapeake Bay and its People.” This new book explores the intersection between the food and system, human health and that of our environment.

“Here at Hampton University, we take pride in the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff. It is extraordinary to see one of our professors doing great things for the betterment of people and the community,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

The recently published book was written by Benjamin Cuker, Ph.D., associate professor of Marine and Environmental Science. In his 33rd year instructing at Hampton University, Cuker teaches a variety of courses that emphasize fieldwork with a learning centered approach. “The effort of this book comes from an eco-feminist perspective that emphasizes working with nature rather than trying to conquer it. The narrative pays special attention to women, people of color, and immigrant workers as it explores their role in the food system, and the way they suffer from the Standard American Diet (SAD).  I made sure to include a diverse set of co-authors. The book is scholarly but crafted for the general reader,” said Cuker.

Dr. Cuker is the first author on sixteen of the twenty-one chapters of the newly published book and credits a diverse set of co-authors who helped create his narrative. “The list of co-authors includes a whole rainbow of authorities including women, men, Africa, Native American, Asian American, senior scientists, undergraduate and graduate students, and even the former head of the Chesapeake Bay. Included in this list are three colleagues from Hampton University; Drs. Michelle Penn-Marshall, Deidre Gibson and Indu Sharma,” said Cuker.

This book describes a new-food system that will help recover the health of the Bay and its people, challenging the reader to think about their own decisions and the type of food they eat. It uses a lot of historical ecology to illustrate important points. This includes colorful chapters in the history of the region, such as the “oyster wars” where men literally used guns and cannons in bloody fights over oystering grounds.

“I appreciate that Dr. Harvey values and enables the kind of scholarship at HU that facilitated the creation of this book,” said Cuker.

Importance of book:

- Brings to life a story of the Chesapeake Bay as a case study readily applicable to other ecosystems where the food system has damaged the health of the environment and its people

- Combines historical ecology, human history, economics, ethics, climate change studies, nutrition science and aquatic science to construct a cohesive narrative for understanding the intersection of environmental sustainability and human health

- Constructs a virtual timeline of the Chesapeake Bay and its food system that extends from the distant geological past to the challenging future of an Earth undergoing rapid climate change

- Presents the science that enables readers to see the consequences of their dietary choices for their own health and that of the environment

- Documents the consequences of both the Standard American Diet, and the industrialized chemical agriculture that supports it

For more information, visit https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783030454807.

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