June 5, 2013. World Environment Day. Who knew?

No mention in the paper that brings us “all the news that’s fit to print.”

NY Times LogoGuess the New York Times didn’t think that the U.N.’s World Environment Day was newsworthy. Ditto for CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and the rest of our mainstream media. The BIG news on CBS This Morning was the all-important, world-changing story about performance enhancing drugs in baseball.

A Google search yielded a story published by the United Nations, the sponsor of the event. And, if hadn’t been for this picture in our local New London Day in southeastern Connecticut, I still wouldn’t know about it.

An Indian man and a goat walk through a canal polluted with plastic bags and other garbage Tuesday in Mumbai, India. World Environment Day is celebrated June 5 every year by the United Nations to stimulate global awareness on environmental issues.

An Indian man and a goat walk through a canal polluted with plastic bags and other garbage Tuesday in Mumbai, India. World Environment Day is celebrated June 5 every year by the United Nations to stimulate global awareness on environmental issues.

After noticing this photo, I immediately checked the “World” section of the New York Times on my iPhone and was surprised to see that there was no mention of World Environment Day. But there was one article that caught my attention, Diabetes Is the Price Vietnam Pays for Progress.

It reminded me of an SNL joke last year about the most significant “product” made in the USA—DIABETES. (Link to my blog provided below—with video). The Times article about Vietnam began:

HO CHI MINH CITY — He survived the deprivation of the Vietnamese countryside and decades of war, but Pham Van Dang, 70, lay dazed in his hospital bed, the stump of his freshly amputated leg sewn up like the seams of a leather bag. Mr. Dang and many younger patients in the diabetes ward here at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital are casualties of rising affluence, his doctor says.

“I see more and more patients with diabetes,” said Dr. Tran Quang Khanh, who is chief of the endocrinology department, whose ward receives 20 new patients a day. The precise reasons for a spike in diabetes cases are hard to pin down — people are living longer, for one — but doctors in Vietnam say the prime culprits are “Westernization and urbanization.”

“Now we have KFC and many fast-food restaurants,” Dr. Khanh said.

A great cause that no one seems to know about

A great cause that no one seems to know about

World Environment Day? Obviously this noble effort by the United Nations is not getting the job done. Our many environmental issues are primarily driven by the way we have chosen to feed ourselves in the developed world.

We now have 7 billion people on our planet and more people are choosing our extremely wasteful and harmful typical western diet every day.

As a result, more people in Asia are getting diabetes, we’re squandering our precious natural resources and world hunger is becoming a bigger problem every year. It’s all connected to the fact that we are no longer living in harmony with nature and the rest of our planet. And the single biggest problem is the way we eat—because that determines how the world is used.

It takes two football fields to feed one person the typical western diet. By comparison, fourteen people can thrive on the same amount of land—by eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. If everyone tried to eat the typical western diet of meat & dairy three meals a day, we’d need two planet Earths to feed us all.

World Environment Day in the news? I did find one “picture story” in The Indian Express. Here is one of the photos that caught my eye. Poverty, world hunger, sustainability, and poor health—all captured in one photo.

Women search for recyclable items among heaps of rubbish at a municipal waste dumping site on World Environment Day in Dimapur, Nagaland.

Women search for recyclable items among heaps of rubbish at a municipal waste dumping site on World Environment Day in Dimapur, Nagaland.

Saving the planet? During the past year, I concluded that we really should not be worrying about saving the planet. Mother Earth has been providing life for four billion years and she has seen many species extinctions. Mother Earth is going to be just fine; what’s at stake is our future as a species. Consider this:

If the 4 billion years of life on Earth was just 365 days—the human population has grown from one billion to seven billion in the last two seconds of the last hour of the last day of that year. And in the last half second (50 years), we humans have inflicted more damage to the harmony of nature than all generations of humans combined for the past 200,000 years.

The Bottom Line. Once-a-year Earth Days and World Environment Days are not getting the job done. We need for the world’s most powerful leaders to work constantly on the host of sustainability issues that we face. Addressing the way we eat is the single most important issue that they must tackle. The folks at the United Nations know what needs to be done—but apparently few are listening. From their website:

 “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.

Diabetes in Vietnam

Diabetes in Vietnam

Finally, Dr. Campbell said it best in his new book, WHOLE, “No less than our future as a species hangs in the balance.”

The diabetes in Vietnam is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is a great example of the pain, suffering, cost and damage that those of us from the wealthier countries are spreading around the world. The Times article continues:

Diabetes rates are surging in many countries, but it is a particularly poignant paradox that, after so many years of war in Vietnam, peace is now partly marred by the afflictions of rising prosperity: clogged hearts, obesity and diabetes. Official statistics in Vietnam show a vertiginous increase in Type 2 diabetes overall, the form of the disease that is linked to diet and lifestyle and in the West has reached epidemic levels, especially among the obese.

Dr. Khue said diabetes was once the preserve of the very wealthy. But as people have moved from rice paddies into factories and offices, her patients today are from all walks of life. “It’s not the disease of the very rich anymore,” she said. “Now poor and rich — everyone — can get diabetes.”

For your convenience, here are the related links for today’s blog.

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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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—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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6 Responses to June 5, 2013. World Environment Day. Who knew?

  1. KUDOS TO LEO! Excellent article worthy of the widest possible distribution. INFORM THYSELF. and share the science.

  2. Nathan says:

    Your post is excellent, and the pound a day of sugar study blew me away. What a vivid image!
    I went to go look up the paper for myself and I found this one from 1973: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/26/6/600.long
    Absolutely mind boggling. Well over 1 pound of pure sugar ( 2400 calories!) per day or 10 weeks (even including 15% of total calories from casein) and the result was improved glucose tolerance compared to the control diet. The control diet was admittedly poor: 17% protein and a whopping 43% fat, so I think this is hardly an endorsement of sugar. Yet the diabetes industry continues to demonize soft drinks, and glorify “lean meats” that are 50% fat by calorie, and “heart healthy” oils that are 100% fat.
    I don’t think we need the soft drinks, but its seems obvious from this kind of study that they are a symptom of a poor dietary lifestyle, and not a major causative factor of diabetes.

    • Leo S. says:

      Soft drinks and sugar-laden and other artficially-flavored items should be restricted or eliminated altogether. It is hoped that others can see that fat is the problem as you pointed out. It is hoped others don’t read the article and feel it is now okay to consume large amounts of sugar. Thanks for the link to another article on the subject.

  3. Leo —

    I Googled to find the source — found the 1999 paper by Dr. Hans Diehl!!!! — Founder of
    Complete Health Improvement Program | CHIP Health – NOT FOR …


    The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) is a simple 30-day world-class lifestyle education program where you can discover how to take charge of …
    [C used to stand for “Coronary”. K. ]

    Diabetes: Vegi-Info 1/2000


    Reversing Diabetes with Fork and Knife

    From: Dr. Hans Diehl, 23. July 1999 at the Congress of the European Vegetarian Union in Switzerland.

    Good morning
    At one time, the diagnosis of diabetes was like a death sentence. It meant trouble, difficulties and many diseases. But the times have changed. Today diabetes can be disarmed and diabetes can be reversed. High blood sugar levels can be reduced and people are in most cases no longer dependent on insulin injections and pills. It is a new day for the treatment of diabetes.
    Read the full presentation.

    I posted more of it here:


    • Leo S. says:

      Here is a website that discusses Type 1 Diabetics and their improvement when changing their diets. It has been stated that Type 1 Diabetics will need insulin for the rest of their lives. Some have been able to reduce the amount of insulin needed or have started secreting insulin again.

  4. Leo S. says:

    One Pound of Sugar Daily for 13 Weeks–No Diabetes
    The true culprit in the development of diabetes is the enormous high-fat content of the Western diet. Of all the calories that we eat, 40% comes from fat. In a natural diet it is more like 5 to 15%. So we probably eat 3 times more fat. We can take medical students and we give them a high fat diet and within one week we can produce 50% diabetics. One week on a high fat diet. It has been done in 1927. It was done again in 1964. It has been done over and over again. If I wanted to do this with my medical students in diabetes, all I have to do is to tell them: eat all the fat, eat all the grease that you want for one week and I will have excellent chance to have 70% who will test diabetics in one week. And then I will give them one pound of sugar every day for one week, for 2 weeks for 10 weeks, but very little fat, and I cannot produce one diabetic in 11 weeks. So, we have to rethink. We have known this for many many years. I can go into all the science, but I want to continue with my presentation here.
    This is Dr. James Anderson. He did the very same experiment as we have done. He took medical students. He gave them one pound of sugar a day; no fat – no diabetes in 11-12-13 weeks. He gave them one pound of sugar, no diabetes. He gave them a high fat diet, and his medical students all wanted to commit to the experiment because they were all given free fatty foods. They would go to McDonald’s as often as they wanted to. And they all wanted to participate in the experiment. In one week the experiment was over – because 70% were tested as diabetics.
    This is from the large Adventist Health study. This study that followed 30,000 people. Those who are vegetarians have the least amount of diabetes, those who are meat eaters have 400% more diabetes, which supports the idea since meat is very high in fat that fat is related here. In the world we can see in the next 20-30 years a dramatic increase in diabetes as the world embraces a more Western lifestyle. In 1933, Dr. Rabinowitch in Montreal documented the reversal of diabetes. How? He put the people on a very simple vegetarian, very low fat diet. In 1955, Dr. Inder Singh tried to duplicate the results and used an 11% fat diet natural foods, vegetarian diet. He had 80 diabetics on insulin. Fifty of these diabetics were off insulin in six weeks. We have some other results. In the same road, in the English medical journal Lancet, on a very low fat diet, the insulin that the body usually produces begins to become active again and they will cure most diabetics within weeks.

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