And the worst catastrophes that can be avoided—if we act NOW!
Mainstream scientists and environmentalists now agree that human-driven climate change is happening and that today’s water shortages around the world are only going to get worse. Most of those same experts also know that the number one cause of BOTH is the raising of livestock. So why aren’t they talking more about the latter? Two reasons:
- Most of those experts believe that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy and therefore don’t even consider suggesting that we drastically cut—or even eliminate—our demand for animal-based foods.
- It would not be a popular stance. With the vast majority of people in the Western world eating meat & dairy at every meal (including our physicians and nutritional scientists), such a stance might be detrimental to their careers.
Hastening the process of getting mainstreamers onboard
The Problem. By far, the leading cause of global warming AND water scarcity is the raising of livestock. Yet the global production of meat & dairy calories continues to rise—even though it has leveled off in some countries. (See 12-2-13 link to Scientific American article below.)
The Opportunity. By influencing billions of people to replace most of their meat & dairy calories with plant-based calories, we still have time to avoid the worst consequences of global warming and water shortages. How can we cause those meat & dairy calories to drop sharply in the next few years?
The Good News. The mainstreamers are beginning to promote the replacement of meat calories with plant-based calories. The most prominent name is Bill Gates. From his “Future of Food” piece at GatesNotes.com (see link below), here is Bill’s Introduction:
Meat consumption worldwide has doubled in the last 20 years, and it is expected to double again by 2050. This is happening in large part because economies are growing and people can afford more meat. That’s all good news. But raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact. Put simply, there’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people. Yet we can’t ask everyone to become vegetarians. We need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources.
Over the past few years I’ve come across a few companies that are doing pioneering work on innovations that give a glimpse into possible solutions. To be sure, it’s still very early, but the work these companies are doing makes me optimistic. I wanted to share with you a look at their work on creating alternatives to meat and eggs that are just as healthful, are produced more sustainably, and taste great.
Read on to learn how their work can benefit everyone.
Later in the “Future of Food” piece (see link below), Bill asks popular author and food activist, Michael Pollan, a question:
Bill Gates: Why should people consider replacing meat in their diets?
Michael Pollan: Three principal motivators: health, because we know high consumption of red meat correlates with higher chances of certain cancers; and the environment, because we know that conventional meat production is one of the biggest drivers of climate change, as well as water and pollution; and ethics, since the animal factories that produce most of our meat and milk are brutal places where animals suffer needlessly.
Now all we need is URGENCY. I am thrilled to see mainstreamers like Gates and Pollan supporting the reduction of meat & dairy calories in our diets. But, without a HUGE global initiative promoting that dietary shift, it will take many decades before we see much results.
During those “many decades,” global warming tipping points will be passed, water shortages will increase dramatically and billions of people will suffer and/or die unnecessarily. So, how can we ratchet up the URGENCY on tackling the most crucial problems in the history of humankind? Two Things:
1. A well-funded MASSIVE global awareness campaign. In order to have an actual drop in meat & dairy calories produced worldwide in 2015, we must reach the world’s two billion most affluent people in 2014. We must take this world-changing message directly to the people—it would take far too long to go the conventional route—through governments, universities, environmental groups, and journalists. Why just 2B? Those are the people consuming most of the meat & dairy calories and, when they reduce meat consumption, the other 5B will follow.
2.Concurrent appeal to mainstream leaders. Also, during 2014, we will leverage the planned global awareness campaign to enlist the ACTIVE support of the top twenty most influential organizations in the world in each of the following nine categories: environmental, sustainability, scientific, food producers, medicine, government, faith-based, philanthropic and media. This is all about giving all interested parties a courtesy “heads up” regarding what’s about to happen. Hopefully, they will then find it in their best interests to URGENTLY begin sharing this message with those who support them.
Promoting the same global message: In order to avoid the worst effects of global warming and water shortages, we encourage EVERYONE to start trying to replace at least 75% of their meat & dairy calories with plant-based calories. ANY plant-based calories.
Why not tell everyone to shift to the healthiest possible calories? Those derived from whole, plant-based foods?
1. ANY plant-based calorie that replaces an animal-based calorie will do wonderful things for the environment; particularly global warming and our water supply.
2. We want to replace the maximum number of animal based calories (meat, dairy, eggs and fish) in the world—with plant-based calories. To do that, we must reach the maximum number of people. The more plant-based options we have, the more people there will be who start replacing those animal-based calories.
Expected Results. With enough support from the “mainstream leaders” mentioned above, the net effect of the above two concurrent initiatives could very well be a slight reduction in the global production of animal-based calories in 2015, a ten percent reduction in 2016 followed by a further twenty percent reduction in 2017.
Happy New Year 2018. If we’re able to achieve the above results in the next four years, the notion that we “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy will no longer be so ubiquitous. Secondly, as with the demise of smoking, the prevailing opinion may be that eating meat, dairy, eggs and fish is simply no longer cool.
And when that shift takes place, we’ll be well on our way to the near elimination of all animal-based foods long before 2040. Hopefully by then, we will have also started similar initiatives aimed at tackling our dual problems of overpopulation and over-consumpiton. While changing our food choices is the most powerful (and quickest) step we can take—for a truly sustainable future for our great grandchildren, we must also reduce our numbers AND our grossly unsustainable levels of consumption.
Short Video on Global Warming from Robert Goodland. The only way to begin curbing global warming quickly is to address the #1 cause—and that would be livestock. This video explains the simple big picture in less than three minutes.
Robert Goodland presents the cold hard facts of the certainty and URGENCY of global warming in this 17-minute video (Sept. 2013). Goodland was environmental advisor to the World Bank for 23 years.
Please see link below to Robert Goodland’s website on global warming.
Closing Comment re Health. I began my study of the consequences of our food choices in 2002—primarily driven by my curiosity about the optimal diet for humans. That curiosity has led to far more issues and opportunities than I ever imagined. Along the way, I discovered that the optimal diet for our health was whole, plant-based foods. I also discovered that most people don’t want to give up ALL of their meat, dairy, eggs and fish (MDEF). Not yet, anyway.
So, for your health and for slashing the cost of health care in the wealthiest nations—whole, plant-based foods is definitely the way to go. But for avoiding the worst effects of global warming and water scarcity, we humans (on a global basis) simply must consume far less animal-based foods. So by all means, load up on all the plant-based foods that you can. Even consuming nothing but potato chips and Diet Coke would be great for the environment. For your health? Not so much.
- The GatesNotes online piece. Bill Gates. The Future of Food.
- 9-26-13 blogpost by Robert Goodland. Greenwashing by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
- 7-19-12. Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, article in Rolling Stone by Bill McKibben
- 12-2-13 article in Scientific American. Study reveals global shift toward animal-based diet.
- My 12-3-13 blog. Three books every world leader must read NOW!!!
- Earlier 2013 blog. DIRE news re climate change CAN be a good thing…
- Earlier 2013 blog. James Cameron, Lester Brown on Global Warming and Water
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
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
Got a question? Let me hear from you at email@example.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
SHARE and rate this post below.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation