I have my suspicions and have begun an investigation to find out.
Did you know that there are now 123 colleges (See link below) in the USA that offer “sustainability programs” with green degrees? I have written letters to two of them and included a copy of our book. Why? Because I am concerned that the incredibly powerful and Earth-friendly whole foods, plant-based diet-style may not be getting the attention that it deserves.
My letter to the department head. Dear Sir, After almost 600 consecutive days of blogging (at hpjmh.com) about the impact of our food choices, I find myself focusing more and more on our planet’s ability to support the long-term sustainability of the human race. I have concluded that the planet is going to be just fine; the question is how much longer she will be able to support life as we know it?
The students of sustainability schools all over the world deserve to learn the absolute truth about how to get the most “bang for the buck” when it comes to lifestyle changes. They deserve to learn about the #1 cause of global warming, the #1 cause of our water crisis, and the #1 cause of decreasing species diversity—our toxic western diet.
They also deserve to learn exactly what a whole foods, plant-based diet can do for their health and for our collective ability to feed the world’s future 9 or 10 billion people (2050) on less than half the land that we now use to feed 7 billion. If all of those 7 billion people today ate the way we eat in the United States, we would need two planet Earths to feed us all. And we only have one.
So what about this plant-based diet-style? Is it a “legitimate” diet that deserves our attention?
When it comes to those 123 “sustainability schools, I am not suggesting that they begin telling people what they should be eating, but rather that they present the environmental and sustainability facts about all legitimate diet styles. The students deserve to have this information so that they can make their own individual dietary choices.
Since the students in this curriculum are obviously interested in sustainability, many of them may very well choose a whole foods, plant-based diet once they realize what’s at stake. Not only will they be rewarded with vibrant health and a trim body, but they’ll also know that they’re taking the single most powerful step possible to promote a healthy planet.
Legitimate diet-style? Just in case you’re questioning the legitimacy of the plant-based diet; check out the following endorsements, often hidden in obscurity by the powerful lobbies of the meat and dairy industries.
United Nations. “A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change,” according to a UN report, June 2, 2010. “As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable,” says the report from United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.
ADA (American Dietetic Association) “Vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle….They are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates.” From an ADA 2009 position paper.
Albert Einstein. “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
So what about the prominent nutrition schools? Even though there are few, if any, schools of nutrition that offer a “for-credit” course in plant-based nutrition, that speaks more to the integrity of the school than the legitimacy of the diet.
The diet works for human health and the health of the planet—and it could be the students’ collective interest in the latter that moves our next generation in the direction of an Earth-friendly plant-based diet.
Sustainability and Inevitability. Our typical western diet is simply unsustainable for three primary reasons—water, land and fossil fuel energy. Meanwhile, we’re losing a South Carolina sized chunk of arable land each year while the human population increases by almost 200,000 every day.
Since it is inevitable that we’ll be forced to relinquish the horribly wasteful and harmful western diet eventually, why not teach the young people how to begin that process now in a thoughtful and orderly manner? The lives of our future great-grandchildren are depending on it.
“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry
The Bottom Line. These lifesaving and world-saving truths are not being taught in our schools of nutrition because of money, power, ego and control. As Dr. T. Colin Campbell explained in The China Study:
The entire system—government, science, medicine, industry and media—promotes profits over health, technology over food and confusion over clarity. Most, but not all, of the confusion about nutrition is created in legal, fully disclosed ways and is disseminated by unsuspecting, well-intentioned people, whether they are researchers, politicians or journalists.
The most damaging aspect of the system is not sensational, nor is it likely to create much of a stir upon its discovery. It is a silent enemy that few people see and understand.
President Bill Clinton sees it, understands it and made the choice to take charge of his health after reading The China Study. Why can’t we make this powerful information available to everyone? Why not teach everyone these simple truths—for the long-term sustainability of the human race?
- List of 123 sustainability schools in the USA. www.sustainabilityschools.com
- An earlier blog. Why are the “world’s greatest thinkers” missing the boat?
- An earlier blog. Forget “saving the planet.” Think great grandchildren.
- An earlier blog. Drought, famine and the sustainability of the human race
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The ”big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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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