And her ability to sustain human life indefinitely
Let’s face it, the planet is going to be just fine no matter what we humans do. That’s because Mother Earth has been around for about 4 billion years and has survived a number of mass extinctions of various creatures who have resided here. But what about us humans? How much longer can we survive without some serious changes?
We know that the way we’re currently eating in the United States and the rest of the western world is simply unsustainable for very much longer. As a matter of fact, if everyone in the world started eating the same way that we’re eating now, we’d need almost three planet Earths to feed us all—and we’ve only got one.
1. Let’s begin with the land. As we explained in Chapter 6 of our book, there are only 8 billion arable acres of land on the planet. If all seven billion humans ate the typical western diet, we’d need over 21 billion arable acres. So, we’re about 13 billion acres short and, to make matters worse, due to our irresponsible farming methods, the world loses an area of arable land the size of South Carolina every year.
2. Then there’s our finite water supply. We’ve had the exact same amount of water on planet Earth for billions of years, and until just recently, it looked like we’d never run out. Well we’re running out now and it’s causing some serious problems. The main reason we’re running out is driven by what we’re eating. On a per calorie basis, the rich western diet requires between 10 and 20 times more water than a diet of whole, plant-based foods.
3. Biodiversity, much scarier than we know. We know that millions of species of creatures have lived on this planet and that over a million named species are alive today. We also know that we humans are the only species that has not lived in harmony with nature. And it’s that reckless human lifestyle that’s driving that surging loss of species. Scientists estimate that the rate for loss of species is now running at some 1,000 times the natural rate.
4. Climate change is for real. And it’s primarily being driven by the food choices of humans. In the 2006 U.N. Report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, the international scientists argued that livestock is by far the single biggest human-driven cause of greenhouse gases. Many think that we’ve already passed the tipping point, and that many of our major cities will be underwater by before the beginning of the 22nd century.
The Bottom Line. All of the above spell big trouble for the human race if we don’t start making some rapid, well-planned changes in the way we feed ourselves.
Like I said, we don’t need to worry about saving the planet. But we do need to think about doing our part to preserve her ability to sustain human life. And, by far, the single most powerful move that we can make is the widespread adoption of a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Our great-great grandchildren will be very glad that we did—and in the short term, we’ll all get to enjoy vibrant health, a trimmer body and a much less likelihood of spending our final years in the old nursing home.
When people talk about sustainable living, they usually thinking of the dictionary definition of sustainable: conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources. But we’re also talking about a bigger picture regarding the sustainability topic—the longterm ability of our planet to sustain human life.
Want to read more about this fascinating topic? For your convenience, I have provided links to six of my earlier blogs on this topic.
- Healthy Eating Does A Planet Good!
- Are “sustainability schools” ignoring the plant-based solution?
- Forget “saving the planet.” Think great grandchildren.
- Drought, famine and the sustainability of the human race
- “Dust Bowl” debate. Experts are missing the main point
- Overfishing — Something to think about on Earth Day
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
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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.
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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