Like worn out cars—some SYSTEMS are beyond repair.
The system that I am talking about is the one that distributes information about what we should be eating. We need to know the absolute truth about this most vital topic—for our health, for our planet and for the longterm sustainability of humanity.
Our current system is failing us miserably. So what is that system? That’s the first part of the problem; it’s vast, complex and very difficult to define and even more difficult to change—even if that change would save lives, nurture our fragile environment and ensure our longterm survival.
In Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s latest book, WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, he did a thorough job of describing what seemed to me at first like an incredibly hopeless situation. But it planted the initial seed for the ideas expressed in this and a few of my earlier blogs. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
Why do I say seemingly hopeless? Because history would suggest that, if we don’t have a radical intervention, the needed change will come far too slowly—and probably too late. But there is hope; read on…
Our global system of scientists, dietitians, nutritionists, medical doctors, government agencies, food companies, pharmaceuticals, health insurance, hospitals and media—have all unknowingly worked together to create a highly destructive overall system. Our current system is destructive for our health and destructive for our planet. Dr. Richard Oppenlander sums up the problem as follows in Chapter 10 of his excellent book, Comfortably Unaware:
With health professionals continuing to advocate the consumption of meat and dairy products, true wellness for us and for our planet will be impossible to achieve. This brings light to the fact that we have a system of suppressed information and a misplaced trust in individuals and institutions that provide inaccurate and misleading information.
All this needs to change in order for progress to occur. The mismanagement of information or outright ignorance of reality regarding our food choices and the toll that it takes on our environment is the reason why we are at the point we are today. Click here to purchase Comfortably Unaware on Amazon.
Back to the old cars and broken systems. I have concluded that our current system is far beyond repair—no matter how much time we have available to fix it. There’s simply too much money, too much ignorance, and too much love for the typical western diet with meat and dairy three meals a day. Even if our system could be gradually repaired, I don’t think we have enough time. Dr. Stephen Emmott of Oxford and Microsoft in the UK agrees.
Given the urgent problems we face today with food shortages, global warming, species extinction and many other social and environmental disasters looming in the near future, my conclusion is that we must begin working with unprecedented urgency to get back on the right track. I’m talking about changes that happen in months—not years, decades or centuries. As we know from Stephen Emmott and Lester Brown, we’re going to run out of time to make the necessary changes well before the end of this century.
It’s time for a totally new system (car). When I first started driving in Mississippi in 1960 at the age of 15, my ultimate dream car was the 57 Chevy. If I could’ve picked any car, new or old, it would’ve been that car. It had it all—style, performance and reliability. Here’s what my dream car might look like today—56 years later.
Obviously this former beauty is beyond repair.
Oh, you could spend a fortune and a few years to get her restored and running again—but if you were even remotely concerned about safety, efficiency, comfort and reliability; there is not a single part or piece of technology that you would want to use in the design of your brand new dream car. Rather, you would use the latest and greatest information, materials, and technologies to produce one that exceeded your wildest dreams. Something like this:
To do that for FOOD, we must start with a clean slate. We can’t try to modify or improve what we have today. We simply cannot wait for hundreds of thousands of scientists, doctors, politicians and corporate executives to un-learn all that they have been taught so that they can open their minds to the blinding flash of the obvious that “we’re eating the wrong food.” All of those people have a strong financial incentive to maintain the status quo and that’s simply not going to work for the future of my great grandchildren.
So what must we do? We must assemble the right combination of leaders, thinkers, teachers, communicators and philanthropists to start disseminating the truth about food within months, not years or decades. With the requisite amount of credibility, name recognition, power and funding—we can began changing food choices around the world very quickly.
I described one idea for getting this done in an earlier blog:
S.O.S. (Saving Our Species) — An urgently needed PLAN
The SOS Global Initiative is all about influencing the greatest number of people to move rapidly in the direction of a whole foods, plant-based diet. We propose to do that with a massive global effort aimed at educating, motivating and legislating. The expected budget for this never-ending effort will be in the billions, if not trillions. With the vast amount of opposition that we will face in the beginning, we’ll need billions just for legal fees.
But with the right plan and the right leaders, the money will be there. As the guys on Shark Tank always say, “we’re not investing in just an idea—no matter how great it might be. We need to see a well thought-out PLAN and a CEO that can make it happen. And we’d prefer that the “planned” initiative has already begun.”
For your convenience, here are a few of my blogs in chronological order that let up to the thinking in the one above, posted on 8-22-13.
- Are humans the “infestation” of planet Earth? (posted on 7-8-13)
- “You’re Screwed” or “We’re F_ _ _ _ D?” Take your pick. (posted on 7-14-13)
- James Cameron—on “Walking the Walk” (posted on 7-24-13)
- “Infestation” IS the best word—if it gets your attention (posted on 8-9-13)
- Saving civilization is not a spectator sport! (posted 8-13-13)
- S.O.S. (Saving Our Species) — An urgently needed PLAN (posted 8-22-13)
- A recent blog about leadership. Bill Clinton connects “sustainability” and food choices. (posted 8-23-13)
- A recent blog about new thinking. The TERRIFYING repercussions of our DEMAND for meat (posted 8-25-13)
Handy 5-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.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf 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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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation
Here’s a wrinkle on your too-far-gone-to-fix 57 Chevy analogy.
Though your example has deteriorated beyond economic repair, there are 57 Chevys that are immaculate. They are fully operational today BECAUSE THEY WERE MAINTAINED and even improved.
The same goes for our food system. Instead of being maintained and improved it has been wasted by special interests through grotesque distortions of the political process. If the politics of food is fixed then market force efficiencies will fix the system over time.
Dan Liese, We’ve run out of time to be “nice” and to take “baby steps.” It may make you uncomfortable to hear others speak forcefully about this issue, but that is what is required. The silent wheel does not “get the grease.”
If you haven’t already, watch Dr. Oppenlander’s video, which Jim kindly provided in yesterday’s blog post.
Dan – bottom line is that we have created a mess. Radical change will not occur until many (billions) understand and affect change. There is no sense in treading lightly; our children and grandchildren are at stake. On a positive note, 4LEAF FOR LIFE!
Great post, Jim! 5+Stars.
I re-posted today’s blog here, with some emphasizing:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
While I have your ear, again, your 4-minute video would be better without the background (almost foreground) music.
I enjoy reading your blog posts but i must say (As a Friend) that you are much to negative!!! You tell your readers there is no chance and we are past saving etc etc. What i believe you are doing is stopping many people in their tracks for believing something can be done. So what do they do they just keep doing the same old same old…..
May i suggest switching to a much more positive outlook and how each one can make a difference and also much less about JH what who or what you have done. As they so no cares about you until you show how much you care about them. My comments because i believe your concern is in the right place.
So good friend Dan, are you the one that scored this blog a one star? Just know that I am doing all that I possibly can to solve the most serious issue that has ever faced the human species. Unfortunately, just advising everyone to do the best they can is not going to solve the problem. As Dr. Emmott says, we must have seriously radical change and we must have that change quickly. Unlike me and Dr. Campbell, he sees no possible solution. He thinks we’re doomed but he used a harsher term for it.
We, on the other hand, see a plant-based pathway out of the mess that we humans have created. But that pathway will not yield a victory unless billions of people understand exactly what’s at stake. And we won’t get there by “pussy footing” around with the clarity and the reality of the truth. I hope this helps.
For giving me a one-star rating for a realistic PLAN for saving our civilization, you have to buy lunch for me soon at your yacht club. Best, Jim
PS: “Hoping” for a miracle while sleepwalking off a cliff is not a solution.
I see where you are going with this but all i am saying as a friend is that i feel you are “to much in your face” sort of guy and being rather negative in many of the blogs. I truly believe what you are saying is true i just think more bees are attracted with honey. (:
More positive comments in your blog on how each person contributing helps solve the worlds problem and staying away from negativity.
I guess to different ways of looking at getting the message out there.