Written by Brad Dixon
Every problem has possibility. I believe we are on the cusp of a regenesis. A change in the way we see the world and a total reordering in how we exist in harmony with it.
The changing of the climate is feedback from an ecosystem that is failing. If we continue to ignore the many warning lights (climate change is only one, COVID-19 is another) then future generations will struggle to survive let alone thrive. The climate is supposed to change. We can’t fight it – we have to change with it. We need to view our earth as something to feed and nourish so we can be fed and be nourished – it’s not something to keep extracting from without giving back. Our lives are intrinsically connected with our natural world. The health, vitality, and bio-activity of our soil is directly linked to the health of our plants and animals we consume. Therefore, the health and nutrient density of the food we consume (and what our food consumes) has a direct link to our own health and vitality. We must come to an understanding that creating food systems that are nutrient sparse, and more and more divorced from healthy soil is underpinning the destruction of our planet and the creation of disease in us.
In the past, humans would eat thousands of types of food making use of the wide array of natural environments where food grew and lived. For example hundreds of years ago the Tsimane culture in Bolivia consumed a “rain forest diet” gathering and hunting a large diversity of food from the river, the forest, or fields and gardens carved out of the forest; now the average is around 10 types of plant and around 2 types of animal, and these are highly manufactured losing the nutrient value along the process. We have minimal diversity which creates maximal disease states in our food and health system. We are sick with rising levels of lifestyle diseases and anxiety. Our bodies crave nutrient dense food while we feed on highly processed food with too much chemical additives, poor quality fat, and refined sugar. Engineered in just the right way to light up the pleasure centres in the brain creating food addiction to the very poor quality food that is killing us softly. In the past, sugar and fat was hard to come by – when we found berries or managed to hunt an animal, we would gorge on the fruit and animal before anyone else could get it or it spoiled. That ingrained circuitry is still hard wired within us to this day and food engineers working for large “food” corporations exploit those prehistoric pleasure receptors.
One of the greatest actions our society can take to heal the planet and ourselves is changing our relationship with the food we consume. One of the greatest self health, revolutionary acts to short circuit the control big food corporations have over health and wellness is to plant a garden, cultivate the soil, and eat mostly organically grown plants without the use of synthetic fertiliser. Spend your money on organisations that grow food with a regenerative, organic method. If you choose to eat an animal, then eat one that is raised with regenerative principles without the use of antibiotics, hormones, and the need for feed that is not healthy for the animal or the planet. The World Health Organisation and many other countries nutrition guidelines are promoting sourcing your protein from plant sources first and are removing dairy from the recommended plate altogether. Food system guidelines are beginning to recognise the link between planetary sustainability and human health (EAT Lancet report 2019 – A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits). We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this life-saving connection.
If you choose to eat animals as part of your diet, ensure they are raised in caring conditions, and that they are not fed prophylactic antibiotics to keep them from dying while accelerating unnatural, dis-compassionate growth. 80% of the world’s antibiotic use is fed to livestock (60% of antibiotics in NZ). Our earth’s food system is completely out of balance – out of the mammal biomass on the planet, 96% is humans and our livestock, whereas only 4% is wild animals. Humans make up 0.01% of ALL life on earth yet we have destroyed 83% of wild mammals and 50% of plants*. With our current system we have an overbearing disproportionately catastrophic impact. The world’s farmed poultry make up 70% of ALL birds, and 60% of ALL mammals on earth are livestock (mostly cattle and pigs). Our food system is literally destroying life on earth due to our taste for animals. We cannot wait for industry and large animal agriculture corporations to change as there is too much profit at stake to pivot. If you want to literally save the world and improve your health, change what you put on your plate. Don’t get caught up in the reductionist diet wars online. Look to improve the nutrient density of the foods you eat with more seasonal, fresh, plant-based food. Don’t get caught up in dietary labels. It’s not about Low carb High fat – it’s low crap carb, and good quality fat, and more fibre. Look a little deeper. How is your food produced? Support regenerative agriculture. This is the way to save our soil biodiversity- increasing soil retention of carbon, water, and nutrients. Healthy soil is the platform for planet and human wellness. It provides healthy nutrient rich food, increases drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere, and is even more drought and flood resistant!
The power to change our planet is directly linked to what you put on your plate. What are you choosing to spend your money on to feed your family? Please look to choose more nutritious plants produced from healthy soil. Eat far less animals so we can restore order to the chaos we have created. Now is the time to totally change our relationship with our natural world to save it and us along with it.
*13% of everything is bacteria, 82% plants, EVERYTHING else – from insects to fungi, fish to animals is 5% (The Biomass distribution on Earth PNAS (Proceeedings of the National Academy of Sciences) June 19, 2018 115 (25) 6506-6511.