When it comes to fighting world hunger, global warming, etc.?
Let’s take world hunger. Julian Cribb wrote a great book called The Coming Famine. Lester Brown wrote World on the Edge. Both authors are brilliant men and both books are masterpieces. They are both very well written and contain a great deal of information. Yet neither of the authors focus clearly on the number one cause (and obvious solution) of the problem. Why is that?
They both probably know that you can feed well over ten times as many plant-eaters on the same amount of land that is required to feed one meat-eater. Just think of the implications. With an aggressive shift toward plant-based eating—by 2050, we’d be able to feed the world’s nine or ten billion humans on less than half the land that we’re currently using to feed seven billion.
So why aren’t they talking about this obvious solution? One of my readers, Linda Dale, posted a comment recently that inspired this blog. First, her comment, then my response.
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.
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 missing the most powerful solution to all of them.
I have concluded that they don’t even 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 spreading the word about 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.”
Enjoy this 5-minute video of Mr. Brown and just imagine how many people he could reach if he started promoting the “blinding flash of the obvious” plant-based solution.
My message is not new. The world-saving message that I am broadcasting every single day is not something new. And I’m not the only one that believes this message is the most important message in the history of the human race. The United Nations and Albert Einstein agree.
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 Programme’s (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management. (See link to my post on this topic)
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.”
During the past year, I have spoken at 20 or 30 mainstream venues. By mainstream, I mean that these audiences had no predisposition to favoring a plant-based diet. Based on their questions, it is painfully obvious that 95% of them still think that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy.
And until we dispel that myth, we’ll never get the world’s greatest thinkers on board—with regards to the “obvious” solution to many of the world’s greatest problems. How could any of our problems be more important than having enough food and water?
- Earlier blog. Forget “saving the planet.” Think great grandchildren.
- We must learn to work on the “right solution.” Doing “things right” or doing the “right thing.” Which is better?
- Earlier blog (with info on Lester Brown) “Thinking different” & changing the world
- Earlier blog. Drought, famine and the sustainability of the human race
- Earlier blog. “Dust Bowl” debate. Experts are missing the main point.
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 email@example.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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
SHARE and rate this post below.
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
In The Coming Famine a major part of the concluding argument (Ch12, pp189-192) is devoted to the argument that we should greatly increase the proportion of vegetables in the world diet, as vegetables are both far more sustainable and healthier to eat. It is unfair and inaccurate of Hicks to claim that I have overlooked this. Yes, vegetables are a central part of the solution to global food security – but only one part. Other things need to happen too, such as securing sufficient soil, water, nutrients, energy and doing the necessary R&D. Also, if you are going to persuade people to eat more vegetables you are going to have to find an effective way of re-educating >8 billion city dwellers by 2050. Railing alone won’t do it.
– Julian Cribb
Thanks for great education material — I link and quote on the “New Atkins” book review thread started by Dr. Campbell. Here is today’s post:
About 10 people vote against my posts all the time so that the posts are shown as not helpful. Note that the naysayers are in the “disgusting and stupid” category preponderantly. Campbell’s review, since March 2010, has over 2,500 comments!
I find in general that most people have no knowledge of correct nutrition whatsoever. At work yesterday (I’m an RN) in the lounge, one of the nurses was eating a bag of Snap peas – great – but she said to another person that there was ‘nothing in them, just fibre, you know’ – if I had known her, I would have spoken up about all the benefits of plants, but since I didn’t even know her name, I didn’t think it was appropriate. I am guessing that by ‘nothing’ she meant protein (which is also incorrect). I do believe people think they will die without animal products.
Hello, for a long time now I have truly enjoyed your e-mails, and I am so thankful for what you do to try to educate people. I have been a vegetarian since 1988, a vegan for many years on and off and now 95% vegan. I am 77 years old, bike 15 miles along the Pacific coast here in Manhattan Beach 5 times a week and am really in good shape.I admire you if you really eat as you say- basically the same for lunch and dinner and oatmeal for breakfast.Be that as it may and please keep sending all the good stuff you find. Thank you!! Inga
I get the protein question a lot when someone finds out I eat a plant-based diet. It’s ironic because if I ask them do they know how much protein they get or how much they even need, they don’t have a clue. I also ask are they aware animal protein causes many of the diseases we see today including heart disease, diabetes, and most likely many cancers. I ask if they are aware they can get more than adequate amounts of protein PLUS all the nutrients their body needs from plants. I ask if they aware how much suffering they’ve caused by choosing to consume animal products (I’ve actually gotten “I don’t care how the animal gets to my plate” responses). Generally, the next thing they say is something along the lines that they could never give up meat. They love it! Right there, they missed the connection, oblivious of what I just said. They would rather enjoy their meat now and suffer the cancer and heart disease later. It doesn’t matter if they need it or not. They want it and they love it and they don’t care about the price we are ALL paying for it. It’s similar to cigarettes. We ALL know what it causes and the damage it does, not only to ourselves but to the people around us; our own children and grandchildren and spouses. Yet people start up and continue the nasty, deadly habit daily. However, because we have all been educated over the years on the health implications of cigarette smoking, it has (slowly) declined. People are choosing to put them down or not start to begin with because they are choosing to be healthy. I’m with Linda on this. The more it’s drilled into people’s heads what eating animal products is doing to their bodies and minds the better chance we have at making the necessary shift to a plant-based diet. We can then discuss how much easier and better it is to get protein from plants. Humans are very selfish beings. They have to see what’s in it for them before they’ll even consider making the change. They have to be gaining something in exchange for what they perceive as something they are losing.
Hi Lisa. In a subsequent reply to Jim, I, too, made the cigarette analogy. The graphically illustrated consequences of smoking were hammered home with public service messages, news reports, etc., and millions of people have quit smoking. Smokers were perceived (and presented in movies and TV) as “cool” not that long ago. Smokers are now perceived (in most places) as disgusting and probably even stupid. The tobaco lobbies were once VERY powerful, and this change happened in spite of them. So maybe there is hope that we can actually overcome the powerful livestock lobbies. Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later.