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An Exploration of Climate Change, Socioecology, and Human Health in Managing Food-Energy-Water Impacts

posted on 01.05.2020, 00:00 by Joe Frank Bozeman III
This dissertation shows performed research and development of U.S. food-energy-water (FEW) management using a holistic, sustainability approach. I address FEW management issues using social, environmental, and economic approaches anchored in the rigors of civil and environmental engineering methodology. Each chapter, excluding the introductory chapter (i.e., Chapter 1), aligns with one of the pillars of sustainability. Chapter 2 focuses on the environment pillar by investigating climate change adaptation and environmental degradation resulting from FEW activities. Here, I show that White food-consumption impacts affect water resources and emit greenhouse gas at the highest rates compared to their Black and Latinx counterparts in the U.S., whereas Blacks impact land the most. Chapter 3 is concerned with the economy pillar by exploring the interplay between food consumption and socioeconomic measures, and illustrates how these affect environmental quality. This chapter shows that although Whites spend the most dollars overall on food expenditures, they have the lowest food-consumption impact rates compared to their Black and Latinx counterparts. Chapter 4 is primarily concerned with the social pillar by investigating how food-consumption impacts interplay with human health. It shows that the U.S. does not meet EAT-Lancet global food consumption, nutritional and environmental health standards across racial/ethnic subgroups, and that shifting to meet these standards would decrease environmental impacts between 28.6% and 37.6%. Furthermore, this chapter shows that the vast majority of American food policy – at the federal level - is not socially-inclusive. Taken together, these works represent a holistic approach to investigating and developing solutions for FEW management as it relates to climate change, socioecology, and human health.



Theis, Thomas L


Theis, Thomas L


Civil and Materials Engineering

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Khodadoust, Amid Derrible, Sybil Ai, Ning Ashton, Weslynne S

Submitted date

May 2020

Thesis type