We Need to Turn Around & Step Forward

There exists an inflection point where the chart turns. It is the point, as a nation, when we face the abyss and turn away … and take a step forward; a step toward our personal well-being and the health of the earth. This is not a return to the past, but a step toward a different future.
— David Brower

Throughout history, we can identify moments that occur that can only be attributed to a paradigm shift in public opinion. They generally precede government policy. These moments are generally brief but are the harbinger of huge changes in culture and eventually policy.

We are in the midst of a monumental shift in the perception of nutrition and the global benefits that can come from this change. At the core of this shift; people want to live well.  They also want to leave better off for the next generation.

The current state of affairs for Americans is abysmal. We are sick. We lead the world in obesity rates.  Eighty percent of our chronic diseases – heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer – can be directly attributed to obesity. More than 35 percent of the adult population and nearly 17 percent of children qualify as obese (Federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and the Journal of the American Medical Association; January 17, 2012).

 We have spent billions of dollars on drugs, surgery and health care. Current estimates put U.S. healthcare spending at approximately 16 percent of Gross Domestic Production. That’s $2.4 trillion. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects that the health share of GDP will continue its historical upward trend, reaching 19.5 percent of GDP by 2017.

 We have created trillion-dollar industries supported solely by our sickness … and to what avail? What have we accomplished? We are getting nowhere closer to healing anything. In fact, the sicker we get, the bigger the institutions that thrive on our sickness become. It is a classic Catch-22 situation.

A recent META analysis and study of the Standard & Poor’s 500 found it is comprised of the 500 largest American companies and represents 75 percent of the U.S. equity market.

We identified the largest companies in the U.S. that have a majority of their revenue reliant on: Food/Beverages, Drugs, Health Care, Consumer and Insurance.

The problem for this market is that it is unsustainable. The obesity market is literally “eating” the hand that feeds it. You cannot profit indefinitely by killing off your customers. Meanwhile, we continue to assault our environment in a fashion that is accelerating beyond a point of no return.

We made an interesting observation while reading an essay written by Brian Treanor, from Loyola Marymount University. “Blame it on capitalism, the single pursuit of maximizing profit and unrestrained growth as first principles, pursues technology and development with short-term gains in mind and with little if any substantive concern for the long-term impact on the environment and human well-being.”

The nutrition movement and the transitional infrastructure movement are on similar paths and both share similar characteristics.

 

We cannot escape by forging on, resolutely and regardless, driven by the unmitigated inertia of our outworn habits, until we have forced ourselves over the brink in the ‘giant step for mankind’ nobody needs. When you have reached the edge of an abyss, the only progressive move you can make is to step backward …
— Martin Rees

The solution for a lot of the world’s problems may be to turn around and take forward step.”

— Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia Founder)

Mark Bittman recently commented in the New York Times: “Five years ago, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization published a report called, ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow," which maintained that 18 percent of greenhouse gases were attributable to the raising of animals for food. The number was startling. A couple of years later, however, it was suggested that the number was too small. Two environmental specialists for the World Bank, Robert Goodland (the bank’s former lead environmental adviser) and Jeff Anhang, claimed, in an article in ‘World Watch,’ that the number was more like 51 percent. It’s been suggested that the number is extreme, but the men stand by it, as Mr. Goodland wrote to me this week: "All that greenhouse gas isn’t emitted directly by animals." But according to the most widely used rules of counting greenhouse gases, indirect emissions should be counted when they are large and when something can be done to mitigate or reduce them.”

Good for you, good for the planet

The solution is to promote and embrace plant based food life styles into the mainstream consumer culture . This is the moment where two parallel causes can unite. By shifting into plant-based diets, we can step away from the abyss as identified by Martin Rees. By supplementing our perceived need for animal protein, we will dramatically reduce our carbon footprint. This is a scientific Truth. It takes a considerable amount of energy to raise animals for nutrition. The turn and step forward is our new approach toward your own well-being, a life that is well lived and nutritionally sound.

In one simple act, we can embrace two life-changing causes – one cause for you, one cause for everyone.

A few years ago, META Partner - Ian Welch's family surrounded him.  He looked around the room in amazement. His wife had lost 30 pounds in less than six months of starting a plant-based lifestyle. His brother-in-law and mother-in-law lost 50 pounds between them. Ian had lost 35 pounds in the same period. He observed that they were missing an entire person worth of fat at the table. They had a combined 115 pounds of excess weight. That’s 730,000 calories a year of unused energy. Apply that 20 percent weight loss across 300 million people… Imagine the reductions in energy needs and the impact this would have on our Planet.