Drought, famine and the sustainability of the human race


This is way our corn is looking in the midwest these days; not looking good for the future either.

In a recent blog, I featured seven environmental experts, all of whom were offering their opinion on how best to avoid another dust-bowl. Only one mentioned the possibility of growing more food for humans instead of for animals. (See link below.)

As I have stated repeatedly on this blog, the reason that our experts never consider plant-based solutions to daunting global issues is because the majority of them truly believe that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy. And that is what I call the “protein myth” that must be dispelled before our brightest minds will even put plant-based solutions on the table for consideration.

Well, it has happened again, in a 8-11-12 Op-Ed in the New York Times, three new experts weigh in on the weather and drought topic with a piece entitled: Extreme Weather and Drought Are Here to Stay (See link below for complete article). So who are these new experts and what did they have to say? The authors and their titles:

Christopher R. Schwalm is a research assistant professor of earth sciences at Northern Arizona University. Christopher A. Williams is an assistant professor of geography at Clark University. Kevin Schaefer is a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

When will they learn that plant-based eating for humans will save well over 50% of the water being used on this planet?

Throughout their Op-Ed piece, the three authors make a number of good points as they review the combined problems of water shortage, climate change and agriculture. Here’s what they had to say about water shortage:

Many Western cities will have to fundamentally change how they acquire and use water. The sort of temporary emergency steps that we grudgingly adopt during periods of low rainfall — fewer showers, lawn-watering bans — will become permanent. Some regions will become impossible to farm because of lack of irrigation water. Thermoelectric energy production will compete for limited water resources.

My response. If we made an aggressive move in the direction of plant-based eating for humans, we could soon eliminate over half the consumption of fresh water around the world. At the same time, we could feed over twice as many people on less than half as much land—reducing the need to even try to grow food crops in drought-prone areas.

On this drought map, RED is BAD. And the experts are saying that it’s not going to get any better.

As for global warming, the experts agree that we have a serious problem and that it’s not going to get much better, but again they fail to mention the number one cause. From the article:

Until recently, many scientists spoke of climate change mainly as a “threat,” sometime in the future. But it is increasingly clear that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change, with a growing frequency of weather and climate extremes like heat waves, droughts, floods and fires.

As with their other “expert counterparts” around the world, these three highly educated men only offer one proposed solution—reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. But they don’t lay out any plans for how our leaders might go about implementing that solution.

There is still time to prevent the worst; the risk of a multidecade megadrought in the American West can be reduced if we reduce fossil-fuel emissions. But there can be little doubt that what was once thought to be a future threat is suddenly, catastrophically upon us.

The Bottom Line. About all this article did was to establish the fact that we have a problem, but it did absolutely nothing in terms of moving us toward a solution. Houston, we have a problem! (but no mention of what we must do about it)

What is it going to take to open the minds of our “experts” to simple, workable solutions to all of these problems? Solutions that are right under their noses. The food they are putting in their mouths. The answer is so simple; it’s just two words. Whole Plants.

As for what’s at stake. Although I have written often about “saving the planet,” I have recently concluded that the planet is going to be just fine. Mother Earth has seen mass extinctions in the past (4 billion years) and she will see more in her future. What’s really at stake for us is the long-term sustainability of the human race. And that’s something that no political candidates ANYWHERE are talking about.

But I am going to keep blogging about this topic until enough people with power and wealth start listening. With enough money, we can “dispel the protein myth,” free up millions of brilliant minds around the world and begin to get some traction with our project to move the human race back in the direction of living in harmony with nature.

Check out my “protein myth” article below for my thoughts on how we might get this process underway.

With the handy kit below, not only can we take charge of our own health, but we can sustain human life on this planet for much longer if we began eating in an earth-friendly, plant-based way.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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8 Responses to Drought, famine and the sustainability of the human race

  1. John C says:

    The “experts” mention taking shorter showers and banning lawns, but home use only accounts for 4% of water use. Many times more water waste is diet related.

    You may not have seen this report by a professor of water management from the Netherlands, which bolsters your point:
    http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/Hoekstra-2012-Water-Meat-Dairy.pdf

    The author states:
    “…if people consider reducing their water footprint, they should look critically at their
    diet rather than at their water use in the kitchen, bathroom, and garden.”

  2. Linda Dale says:

    Jim, I so appreciate your good intentions and dogged determination, but I still don’t think that trying to convince people that they don’t “need” animal protein is the answer. There are many, many things people don’t need, and they know they don’t NEED them, they just WANT them. Americans, in particular, aren’t willing to deny themselves the things they WANT as long as they can afford to buy them. Everybody I know who eats meat eats it because they like the taste, not because they think they need protein. The problem is, as I see it, is that the vast majority of people haven’t heard or read often enough how bad animal products are for their health. THAT is the information that needs to get out. Most people do care about themselves (if not the animals) and want to live longer and healthier lives. Maybe they can be motivated if we direct our efforts to their selfish concerns.

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Hi Linda, Thanks for your comment. You’re right, most people don’t want to hear about what they don’t “need.” They just care about what that want. But the point I am trying to make is more subtle.

      As you know, there are many global issues that are driven by what we eat. For example: Cost of healthcare, global warming, adequate water supply and enough land to feed the world’s steadily increasing population. There are many very smart (and very educated) people out there who are are spending their entire lives working on these critical global issues—but they appear to be ignorant of the most powerful solution to all of them. I have concluded that they don’t consider this “obvious solution” because of their collective perception about our need for protein. You’ve no doubt heard this age old question a zillion times, “If you don’t eat meat or dairy, where do you get your protein?”

      One of those highly educated and extremely influential people is Lester Brown. Like most of our elected officials, great thinkers and world leaders—he never even mentions the “plant based solution” to the host of environmental and social problems that he has spent his life researching. My whole point is that until we “dispel this protein myth,” then we’ll not enjoy the benefit of great thinkers like Mr. Brown when it comes to promoting—and leading—an aggressive shift toward a plant-based diet for humans. Right now, there’s only a few hundred of us out there spreading the plant-based solution, and we’re going to need millions more to change the world. Mr. Brown would be a great guy to have on our team.

      From Wikipedia: Lester Brown. Noted author with over 50 books, the founder of WorldWatch Institute, Founder & President of the Earth Policy Institute, the recipient of 26 honorary degrees and a MacArthur Fellowship; Mr. Brown has been described by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers.”

      Best regards, J. Morris Hicks

      • Linda201 says:

        But wouldn’t it be easier to “dispel the protein myth” if we kept pounding home the fact that animal products are BAD for their health? The millions of people who have quit smoking did so because of the well-publicized, graphically illustrated, health consequences, not because they decided they didn’t really NEED cigarettes.

      • J. Morris Hicks says:

        Linda, I don’t believe people really ever believed they ever “needed” cigarettes. Protein is very different. That’s why we hear that question all the time. You’re right, we need to pound away–and we need the world’s greatest and most prominent thinkers doing the pounding. Why aren’t they?

        What is your theory about why the top environmentalists are not focusing on the NUMBER ONE cause of global warming, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity? When they do, more people will be open to hearing about the health benefits as well.

        Be well, J. Morris Hicks

  3. Peter Revers says:

    Hi Jim:
    I read this article with interest, and am sympathetic to your thinking..
    But….
    You miss the whole point and the major problem to end all problems that this world faces, the one that absolutely no one will touch, and that is “overpopulation” In a simplistic world, if the world could control its human population all these problems would be taken care of, and I include, global warming, food supplies, water resources, energy requirement, and much of the global violence etc etc…
    And…
    This control of human population need not happen overnight. If fertility rates were reduced on an global, educated, voluntary and benevolent basis, the overall population would come down over a period of years

    See http://www.populationinstitute.org

  4. Sal Liggieri says:

    Hey Jim,
    Are you still optimistic that change will come and if it does, will it be voluntary or will it be forced on us by external calamities?

    Sal Liggieri

  5. Leo S. says:

    If you are interested in downloading a free 199-page book by Lester Brown titled “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization” the following link should work. He suggests many things we could and should do to improve conditions on planet earth.

    http://www.earth-policy.org/books/pb4

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