MC (m): Lisa Bloom is a prominent civil rights attorney and founder of The Bloom Firm based in Los Angeles. She's also an award-winning CNN and CBS TV news legal analyst, a lifelong vegetarian and a committed vegan. Miss Bloom has just recently finished her book, “How to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World,” a wakeup call to put aside modern life distractions and focus on meaningful issues like climate change. And we have a chance to share some of her thoughts and wisdom now. Thank you.
Ms. Lisa Bloom: Good afternoon to the World Preservation Foundation and DODs for having the wisdom and the courage to put on this convention today. It is just so important. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. A generation ago, a hearty band of activists dared to speak the truth about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Naysayers said to them, “This will never work. You cannot take on big tobacco. It's a multi-billion pound,” even back then, “global industry. It's a vital economic engine in many countries.” But these brave souls believed that speaking the truth about a toxic industry mattered, so they soldiered on. Today, smoking worldwide is significantly down. Many cities ban smoking in public places and the tobacco industry is a shadow if its former self; and people are living healthier lives as a result.
The time is now to take on another massive global industry that is destroying us. The large-scale breeding, confinement, slaughter, and consumption of animals is intensely cruel to billions of animals who experience constant fear, pain and suffering, often spending their entire, brief, hormone-stuffed, bloated lives in crates so small they can never turn around. Standing in their own feces day after day, their beaks or ears or tails hacked or burned without anesthesia, their young ripped away at birth, and in the case of hens, their male chicks ground to death, alive, as an industry-standard practice. Don't be fooled: even free-range eggs come from these conditions.
If you believe in karma (retribution), you might believe that the human health cost from the animal industry was nature's way of striking back at us for this cruelty. And, indeed, we've known for some time that meat and dairy products cause human obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer - all fatal diseases that have skyrocketed in the last half century, along with our meat and dairy consumption. But in the US, at least, a majority of our kids are overweight or obese. At this rate, it's estimated that one in three Americans will have diabetes in a generation, and everywhere that our Western diet takes hold, sadly, our Western diseases follow.
If you believe in karma (retribution), you might say that, “As we are still ignoring nature's message, nature appears to have upped the ante.” Because we now know, to a scientific certainty, that animal production, confinement, and slaughter is destroying our Earth. How is it possible that climate change is still considered a debatable issue, one in which reasonable minds may differ, when the greatest convergence of top scientific minds in human history, the IPCC, has convened four times and told us in the clearest possible terms that climate change is real, it is upon us and it is human caused, and it is shaping up to be the worst humanitarian and ecological disaster in human history?
To those who still doubt, I ask you: Is the Nobel Prize granted to the IPCC insufficient to you? How about the over 100 world governments who independently endorsed the IPCC's findings, including those with the most to lose like my government, the US, or Saudi Arabia or China? To my American neighbors, the majority of whom do not believe in climate change: Is it not enough for you that not only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton know that climate change is real, it is upon us, and it is human caused, but also Senator John McCain and former President George W Bush? Do you choose to disbelieve our own space agency, NASA, which posts photos, videos, charts and graphs, sounding the alarm about rising temperatures, melting ice caps and extreme weather caused daily by climate change? Not believing in climate change is no longer an option. One may as well not believe in gravity, not believe the Earth is round or not believe in science.
And we now know that the animal industry causes more greenhouse gas than any other, including the transportation sector. We know that the raising of cows and pigs and chickens requires large-scale deforestation, and that one third of the world's land mass has been bulldozed for pastures and factory farming. Without all the trees that once absorbed CO2, greenhouse gases are released back into the atmosphere, and what comes out of the animals themselves is toxic, from the 8 million tons of CO2 the animals exhale, to the nitrous dioxide and methane gas emitted from the animals' manure and from the animals themselves. Well, we've heard from the scientists.
I'm not a scientist, I'm a citizen, but as a lifelong vegetarian, I have quietly enjoyed the good health and enormous energy of my plant-based diet for three decades. But I can remain quiet no longer. Diet can no longer be a matter of private choice when the choice to buy meat and dairy products causes unspeakable cruelty to sentient beings, and when the choice is destroying our planet. Governments must stop subsidizing this toxic industry, and must instead subsidize organic plant-based farming, which consumes far less energy and feeds far more people. And we, as citizens, each and every one of us, must prod our leaders to act by boldly speaking the truth. Each of us must shout from the rooftops, we must post on Facebook, we must blog, tweet, we must tell our families and friends that we are reducing our meat and dairy consumption right now, and we must explain why, over and over again if necessary.
Look, I'm not predisposed to be an activist on this issue. My issues are civil rights, the education of third world girls, and animal cruelty. But preserving a livable planet must take precedence over everything else, so I talk about it. I even wrote a book about this issue, “Think, How to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World,” to wake us up to the importance of thinking deeply about what matters. I took on my own industry, the media, for our ridiculous focus on drunken celebrities and plastic surgery, to the exclusion of pressing matters like genocide, war, and climate change. And at every meal when people ask me, as they inevitably do, why I'm vegan, I explain the climate change connection, and give them a taste of my roasted butternut squash pizza or my black bean guacamole tacos.
And next time you meet up with your friends, do it at your local vegan restaurant. You might be surprised at how much everyone likes it.
Have you tried those vegan cupcakes? Because, my friends, not only is vegan food the healthiest gift you can give your body, not only does it allow you to look in animals' eyes with compassion and without shame, vegan food is freaking delicious. Because concern about climate change is not just for the scientists and the politicians - the planet belongs to all of us. I, for one, refuse to stand idly by as extreme weather is already plaguing us, as animals go extinct, as 100 million refugees are predicted for my children's generation. Be vegan, on meatless Mondays, be vegan tonight for dinner, be vegan tomorrow, just for one day, or for the month of November, or for the rest of your life. Be a stubborn advocate for our planet, and tell everyone while you're doing it, why you're doing it. Raise consciousness, send web links, bake vegan cupcakes, force mainstream environmental groups to grapple with this core issue.
We can do it if we speak the truth, and we live the courage of our convictions, just as the generations before us have done on other seemingly insurmountable issues. Join me in this cause at think.TV online, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and together we can form a movement to restore balance to our Earth. Thank you.
MC (m): Now, thanks very much. Picking up on just what's being said, whilst many changes can begin with the individual, the citizen and the power of the people, and it's great, government leadership to help facilitate positive change, which benefits the people of our world is of great importance. And our next speaker, Mr. Jens Holm, a Member of the Swedish Parliament and an active environmentalist, will address us on policy change at national and EU level and awareness campaigns on reduced meat consumption.
Jens Holm (m): Thank you very much. My name is Jens Holm. I'm a Swedish Member of Parliament, representing the Left Party in the Swedish Parliament. I used to be a member of the European Parliament. You've seen this curve before, by Al Gore and others, and this curve shows the emissions of carbon dioxide. It's pretty scary when you look at this curve, what happens after the industrialized revolution. This is also the curve for other greenhouse gases, such as methane and others. This curve is almost as bad - this is the increase in meat production in the world.
And Dr. Ester van der Voet, she spoke very eloquently and with a lot of details about this before, so I won't stay here too long. I think also it's important to have, this background, that who is the biggest responsible for all these emissions, for the problem with the climate change. Well, if you look historically, we can see that it's the industrialized countries, it's the rich countries that are responsible for almost 80% of the emissions of the greenhouse gases in the world.
If you compare a rich country, probably the richest country in the world, USA, with one of the poorest, Bangladesh, we can see that every citizen in the US emits about 100 times more than a citizen of Bangladesh. So the change must start here, in the Western, in the developed, in the rich world, because we have caused this problem. “A Way Forward” - this is what I would like to share with you. When I was a member of the European Parliament, I tried to get the European Union to adopt a reduction target for meat consumption, as well as we have reduction targets for emissions of CO2. I think it's important to also set up a goal. We would like to reduce meat consumption, and we would like to reach this goal by that year, etc. Unfortunately, I did not manage to do that, but what I managed to do was, at least, to get the European Parliament to acknowledge the importance of the livestock industry as a major contributor of huge emissions of greenhouse gases; and I think that is, at least, a start.
If you don't acknowledge that the livestock industry is a huge problem for the environment and for the climate, well, then you don't have a possibility to solve the problem. My second big issue in the European Parliament was to try to abolish the EU meat subsidies. And Mr. Jokkala spoke about this before, and he mentioned that the European Union subsidizes the meat industry, with direct subsidies - this is not indirect subsidies, which go through fodder, etc. - with about 3 billion euros a year. This is a huge amount of money. And imagine what we could do with this big amount of money if we put it where it could cause some positive effect for the world, production of vegetarian foods, etc. This is still a huge problem which needs to be resolved.
And I urge all politicians on a national and on an EU level, continue to put pressure on these subsidies, because they are extremely counter-productive. In the Swedish Parliament, my party, the Left Party, released a bill just a couple of weeks ago, which is called, “Reduction of Meat Consumption Bill.” And that consists of a few important factors. The first is that we set up a reduction target of meat consumption. We would like to reduce the Swedish consumption of meat, with at least 25%, by 2020.
This is a very, very modest reduction, I have to acknowledge, but there is a lot of negotiations behind this target. But it is, at least, a reduction target. And you should bear in mind that in Sweden and in the whole world, meat consumption is increasing. So for the first time ever, we could have a curve where it's decreasing. We need an action plan to reduce meat consumption. That action plan needs, of course, to include the phase out of the subsidies to the meat industry. It could also include taxing meat. Personally, I think this is probably the most effective tool, if we put a price on what pollutes. Well, we do that in a lot of other aspects, but we don't do it with meat.
In Sweden, we have huge taxes on cigarettes and alcohol for instance - that is because we want the people to consume less of alcohol and tobacco, and I think that's excellent. But why don't we do the same with meat? If we do that with meat, I think it's important to use the money we raise from this meat tax, in order to subsidize, cut the VAT, for instance, on vegetables. So normal households, they should not be punished by such a tax. Vegetarian Mondays. It's coming along as a big thing in Sweden, and I'm very glad to hear that you do that in some places in the US; and I think, it all started in Flanders, in northern Belgium. We want the Swedish government to support the local authorities to adopt one vegetarian day a week. That would mean that in all schools, in all public facilities, vegetarian food should be the first option. In case you really insist, well you should be able to have your beef, but vegetarian food should be the default option.
Green public procurement. And I know this is also part of the Labor Parliamentary Bill. In all modern societies, the state and the local authorities and the regional authorities use a lot of money to purchase, for instance, food. In the case of Sweden, I think we use about 50 billion euros a year to purchase services, and half of it is food. If we could set up a target that 20, 25% at least should be vegetarian food, that would be a very strong instrument to use. And I think it's very important to, well, start somewhere, and that would be to eat less, or eat no meat whatsoever. Sometimes people ask me, “Why do you, as a politician, tell me as an individual what I should eat?” Well, actually, I think, the most important thing that we politicians can do is not to moralize about the lifestyle of individuals. I think the most important thing that we can do is to design rational system on a national level.
And when I came to my hotel room yesterday, I saw this publication and I can see it has the boat, the Titanic, on the cover. You remember Titanic, this “unsinkable” boat that sunk in 1912, I think it was, in April. By midnight, Titanic ran very quickly across the Atlantic Sea, ran into a huge iceberg; 1500 people died, only 700 were rescued. And I asked myself, “Was Titanic, was this ship, led by rational thinking?” No, I don't think so, because they knew there were a lot of icebergs out there in the Atlantic Sea. They knew they were driving far too fast, in spite of the warnings of iceberg, and what they did was that they were locking the bottom floors, where the poor people were traveling.
So, actually, the people at the bottom of Titanic, they were unable to leave the boat and to try to get rescued. And I think this could be an illustration of climate change. I think we are about at midnight right now, and we can choose whether we just run, all of us here, in the different directions, and we try to solve this problem on our own. Or, if we want the politics, politics that is guided by rational thinking and guided by collective action, for a common goal - and that common goal should be to solve the climate crisis. And then, I think, well, to reduce meat consumption, that's one of the, really, cornerstones of such a strategy. Thank you very much.
MC(m): Jens has been a member of the European Parliament and also in Sweden. And now we have a Member of Parliament in the UK, Kerry McCarthy. She is the Shadow Minister for the Treasury and she is going to speak about the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Put your hands together please.
Kerry McCarthy (f): I've been vegetarian since 1981 and vegan since 1992, and I was first elected to Parliament in 2005. I was lucky in that the area I represent... I'm from a Bristol constituency, and Bristol is quite a vegan friendly place. It has a Bristol vegan fair each year, which is the largest vegan fair in Europe. So, in terms of my own constituents, there were as many people who thought it was great that I was vegan as people who would've objected to it. But the world of Westminster, you know, wasn't perhaps quite ready for me to be launched upon them. So it took me a few years before I actually started raising the issue in Parliament, and in the end, after a few years of waiting for someone else to do it, I had a Westminster Hall debate on the impact of livestock, of the environmental impact of the livestock sector.
I think I said in my opening remarks that I didn't think I was the person to do that, because people would think that I was coming at it from this sort of ethical vegan perspective rather than coming at it from the hard facts. But by the time I'd got up and did this debate, you'd had the UN report, “Livestock's Long Shadow,” which was an excellent piece of work, you'd had people like Raj Patel and his book “Stuffed and Starved” which was… Yes, lots of very hard empirical evidence that the livestock sector was having a major environmental impact. So in the debate, I raised all the issues that will have been mentioned today, will have been flagged up, you know, the fact that it takes eight kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef, the amount of water consumption that is used in the livestock sector, deforestation, greenhouse gasses, methane, and all those issues.
I felt like, when I did my debate in Parliament, which I think was about 2006, or 2007, I felt like I'd waited a long time to do it, because having been vegan for so long I was aware of organizations like Vegfam that had been campaigning away on the green aspects of veganism for a long time. But now it feels like I was sort of, in some ways, quite ahead of the curve. And now, it's just beginning to reach public attention. I spent two years as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary State for International Development, Douglas Alexander. And I do think that whole agenda... I mean, Jens has been talking about how we can campaign on this in Europe. It seems like there is a constant review of the common agricultural policy, but it really is up on the table over the next year or so, so we've got an ideal opportunity then, but we shouldn't neglect what's happening in the developing world.
And I've actually find it quite disturbing when I've gone to countries like say, Bangladesh. I remember going to a little village, and there are these free-range chickens running around, and then we went down the road in our car and I saw battery cages for the farmers. And they said, you know, “Look how far we've come. We've gone from just having a few little chickens and now we've gone all modern and we copying you and we've got all these hens in cages.” And I think, how we can sort of campaign on those issues and make sure that, you know, while we're trying to fight the battle for adopting a more environmentally friendly diet in this country and across Europe, we need to be trying to take that argument to the developing world too.
And issues like deforestation is absolutely massive. There are obviously issues to do with climate change and lack of water supply. And we've got to do it without damaging food security there. But I do think that the way forward is not to be trying to promote a Western-style consumption, Western-style livestock sector on those countries, and to try to make sure that as we bring our consumption down, as we move towards a more sustainable way of living, that we help them come to that level as well. Okay. Thanks.
MC (m): Thank you. So, earlier on today we heard about the rise and transfer of animal-borne diseases in factory farms to humans. Our next speaker, Tracy Worcester, will address other aspects of factory farms. Tracy Worcester is the Marchioness of Worcester, a filmmaker and an active environmental campaigner. She works very closely with the Soil Association and is patron of the International Society for Ecology and Culture.
Tracy Worcester(F): Hi. Now, my film, “Pig Business,” is about the corporate takeover of agriculture, and I use the pig industry as a microcosm and that's because people care deeply about animals and they don't want to see the cruelty. So it's my way into their hearts and minds so that I can show viewers how, in the name of so-called “free trade,” our politicians are giving direct and indirect subsidies to facilitate transnational companies to comb the globe for good investment climates. Now, by good investment climates for agribusiness, I mean cheap currencies, low wages, compliant governments with favorable tax incentives, lax environment and animal welfare standards, and poor standards at work.
For the world's largest pig company setting up in Poland was the best investment climate from which to dominate the EU markets. So the pig industry copied the chicken industry and crammed pigs into tiny sheds. Now, in most European countries, the mother pig is in a cage her entire life and she can't even turn around. The fattening pigs are raised on concrete slats so that the feces can drop through for convenience. Now, to prevent their frustration from boredom, they bite each other's tails. So to prevent this, the factory farm operators cut off their tails, but it's done automatically. Now, this practice is illegal in the EU, but it's ignored by 80% of the farmers who are forced to break the law to keep up with the big giants in this cutthroat economy. Now the biodegrading feces in these large sheds, in vast lagoons and spread on fields, emit a toxic cocktail that affects the health of the workers and those living downstream.
Scientific reports say that these gases cause serious respiratory and neurological illnesses. In March this year, a Missouri court awarded $825,000 each to people sickened by a nearby pig factory farm. The untreated waste finds itself into the water table and pollutes the drinking water. It then goes on to pollute the rivers and the sea where it causes nutrient overload and massive fish kills. Now, in these cramped conditions the animals are also extremely sick, not the least because the baby pigs are weaned from their mothers at three weeks old when their immune system is not strong. They, therefore, have to be given antibiotics to keep them alive. Now, the bacteria mutate to become resistant to the antibiotics, thus creating superbugs. Now These are released into the natural environment and to the neighboring people.
The most terrifying monster bugs are E. coli, salmonella, campylobacter, and the pig strain of MRSA. In the Netherlands 40% of the pigs and 50% of the farmers carry this pig strain of MRSA, and 30% of the MRSA in their hospitals is the pig strain. Now, our “free trade” laws stop us from saying, “No, we don't want to import pork from countries that have the pig strain of MRSA.” And worse than this too, actually, is that this cheap pork coming into our countries has actually ensured that our farms have to get bigger, shoving more pigs into these farms and therefore necessitating even more antibiotics. So we will be breeding our own pig strain of MRSA.
So, to feed the pigs - we have already heard this - soya is imported from South America, thus depriving local people of land to feed themselves - depleting their water, denuding their forests, increasing CO2 emissions, and polluting the environment with pesticides. The land grab to grow soya to feed pigs has exacerbated the migration of landless people into city slums. Now destitute, they serve as perfect investment climates for big business to soak up cheap labor. So, pursuing continuous economic growth on a finite planet fuels volatility in food markets with rising prices and food shortages. Unless regions become more self sufficient in food, we will see more food riots, more famine.
Now, the UK is a very small, very overpopulated island so our politicians should take food out of the global free trade treaties, encourage regional production for regional consumption by protecting our farmers in a volatile economy. We need to support our grass roots of informed consumers who keep their money in their locality by supporting local farmers, by buying fresh produce from local small-scale shops and farmer's markets. They cover the extra costs by reducing meat consumption and moving to an organic-based plant diet. Now, my film is actually on YouTube, but you can also pick one up. So, please take it to your work, show it to your friends, and spread the message. Thank you.
MC(m): Thank you. Our final speaker in this session is Dr. Joel Fuhrman. For those of us who were here earlier, he gave a lovely and informative keynote speech. For those who weren't, he is on the Board of Directors of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and Director of Research for the Nutritional Research Project based at the National Health Association in the US.
Joel Fuhrman(m): Thank you. I just would like to give you a feel for the impact that nutritional excellence can have on lessening healthcare costs and reducing morbidity and mortality, and putting together an opportunity for people to have better health than was ever before available in human history. We have an opportunity here. We're at a precipice: we can go down the road we are heading, and the road we are heading is increased obesity, increased diabetes, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of autoimmune conditions.
And it's predicted that the diabetic epidemic is going to double in the next 25 years, and breast cancer is going to affect more women at younger and younger ages if the present dietary practice is continued. So that's kind of scary. The word “healthy life expectancy” means the quality of your life, not just how long you're going to live but whether you have a life, that's whether you are fit, youthful, and can enjoy your life to the fullest. And healthcare spending has been shown not to enable people to have a better healthy life expectancy.
In other words, we don't get a better life expectancy because we have better access to medical care. In fact, in proportion to the money spent on medical care, the healthy life expectancy goes down. In other words, if we look at various countries around the world and see how much money they expend per person, per capita, on healthcare, we find that the more money spent on drugs, on medical care and doctors, the worse the healthy life expectancy score - means the poorer quality of life people have in their later years. In America, they spend double the amount of money on healthcare and, of course, they have the worst healthy life expectancy score of any of 27 modern industrialized countries. UK falls in the middle somewhere of course, but they also have a relatively poor healthy life expectancy score. The numbers spent on medical care doesn't correlate very well.
But within the United States we can find that if we target areas within the US where the most money is available, and the most money is spent on drugs, physicians, and medical care access, the healthy life expectancy score goes down in direct proportion. In other words, we're over-medicating ourselves. We're getting too much medical procedures, and in doing so, we're hurting ourselves. The answer, of course, is to target people that are the largest utilizers of healthcare costs and let them know they don't have to be sick, they don't have to suffer, and they don't have to die prematurely.
They can reverse their disease and they can be well. We're finding out that about 90% of the healthcare dollar is spent on 10% of the sickest people who have chronically generative illnesses - these diseases of nutritional extravagance and nutritional ignorance. So, of course, people with three risk characteristics, high cholesterol, overweight, and high blood pressure. By the way, those account for more than a half of all elderly people have those characteristics, over the age of 65. And in those people, healthcare costs are more than three times the average cost per person. So, of course healthcare costs are increasing, and the amount of people that are becoming overweight and becoming diabetic are increasing as well.
Expenditures on prescription drugs alone grew 40% from 2005 to 2010 - 40% just within a 5-year period. And about 50% of the population in the UK are overweight. In America, by my standards, it's about 90% of the population is presently overweight. You can account for the people who are not overweight by the amount of people who smoke cigarettes, who have autoimmune conditions, digestive disorders, or alcoholics or depressed, or have acute cancers. If we plot the amount of calories from unrefined plant foods consumed in any population, we can find that the diseases of nutritional ignorance - heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancers - go down in direct proportion; that the amount of vegetation and vegetable consumption goes up, a direct inverse correlation.
And I did those statistics on almost every country in the world and showed a direct correlation. However, you can't make those statistical arguments today, because now we've exported the fast food industry, the processed food industry, the junk food industry, and the meat and dairy industry all over the world, today. And there's literally almost no areas in the world today that are anywhere near eating a diet where 90% of food comes from natural plant foods. So, in any case, right now we can take nutritional science and these advances and apply it to people.
And as a physician, myself and my physician colleagues, we work very hard to take care of sick people. And over the last 25 years, finding people that have these diseases, including allergies and asthmas and headaches and digestive disorders and autoimmune diseases like Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, and we find that when we use nutritional excellence and we use the micronutrient and phytochemical revolution, the recent advances in nutritional science, to give people superior nutrition or optimal nutrition, they can make dramatic recoveries and reversals of diseases that are more powerful than drugs.
So, compelling data from nutritional studies, population studies, interventional studies and epidemiologic studies show that heart disease and diabetes, and even cancer, are not the inevitable consequence of aging. They are not predominately genetics. Nutritional and environmental factors overwhelm genetics, and we have the power now to target people and to teach them the way they can have great health never before achievable.
So a nutritarian food pyramid, my nutritarian food pyramid, targets the food with the most powerful therapeutic effects to reverse disease and puts it at the base of the pyramid; and that means vegetables. The phytochemical revolution means that vegetables, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, nuts, and seeds and whole grains, when supplying 90% of the caloric intake, can wipe out most chronic diseases affecting our whole world today. So the nutritarian pyramid… The word “nutritarian” focuses on the food with the highest micronutrient density. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. And animal products and processed foods do not contain antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, like vitamin E, like folate, like bioflavonoids, the carotenoids, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin…
Like folate, lutein makes green vegetables green, carotene makes them orange, lycopene makes them red. We can check a person's blood level for lutein and it gives us a good indication of how much green vegetables they're eating. And there's no other factors in the blood that determines the risk of longevity and freedom from disease as from a level of lutein in the blood stream from how much green vegetables they eat. Green vegetables are… these are superfoods. Natural plant foods are the super foods that arm our body, a miraculous self-healing, right? self-protecting, disease-fighting body. It arms it with the fuel it needs to protect itself.
The human stomach only holds about a liter of food. When you are eating plant foods - like beans and mushrooms and berries and nuts and carrots and vegetables - made in delicious ways, you can't fit that many calories in at one time. You can only fit about 400 calories in. It's impossible to become overweight eating natural plant foods. The only way you could have become obese, like half our population is today… right, Fifty percent of the population in UK is overweight now. The obese means more than a third higher than average weight. In other words, more than one-and-a-half times normal body weight, you're obese. In America, about 35% of our population is obese already. You wouldn't have an obesity epidemic if people didn't have access to so much processed foods and animal products.
Vegetables can't make a person obese. You can't fit that many calories into your stomach. You have to concentrate those calories with sugar, with oil, with animal products to fit thousands of calories in one meal. So if you lived on a desert island somewhere, right, and you had to eat natural foods that were from the ground, or from nature, there couldn't be overweight people. When you eat a diet that's rich in micronutrients, when we focus on eating a healthy diet, rich in natural plant foods, you naturally lose weight and you don't desire as much food because the micronutrients send signals neurologically up to the brain, reducing your appetite or desire to overeat. So I'm claiming here that micronutrient deficits fuel overeating behaviors.
It makes people consume more calories. It makes them desire more calories. There are no antioxidants and phytochemicals in animals products, and none in processed foods. So, that's 90% of our intake of calories in the modern world, is foods that do not contain sufficient micronutrient load. When you don't reach micronutrient adequacy, we feel sick, confused, and weak when we are not constantly putting excess calories in our mouth. And when people try to stop eating these dangerous disease-causing junk foods, they feel ill as well, and they're forced to constantly eat food all the time, and overeat, just to keep their energy level up because they can't feel well, because they are not adequately nourished with micronutrients.
The secret to the obesity epidemic, to the disease epidemic, is to eat a diet rich in micronutrients. This study done on a high micronutrient diet show the average person lost 53 pounds and nobody gained the weight back. They didn't yo-yo their weight. They lost the weight and they kept it off, because it was a knowledge-based program. They did it for their health, not just for their weight. Now with that, we've studied diabetics, and all the diabetic patients put on the high-nutrient diet were able to come off diabetic medications within six months. They became non-diabetic.
Could you imagine if we applied this to the modern world, what it would do to the healthcare costs? When these people that eat turn to a healthy diet, they don't just feel better, their moods lift, they feel better emotionally, they look younger, their skin looks better, they age slower and they have a happier life.
Nutrition, of course, is the secret to… That's where the medical care of the future needs to go. It's the fountain of youth. When you follow a plant-based diet, rich in micronutrients with vegetables and beans and mushrooms and onions, which all have particular and specific ingredients, which target the cells' repair mechanisms to increase DNA repair from broken cross-links that could lead to cancer, these foods have healing properties to protect the body against the diseases that ravage modern society. The World Health Organization conference concluded that households should select predominantly plant-based diets, rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses, beans, legumes and minimally processed starchy staple foods. We have the answer, now we have to apply it.
MC (m): Thank you. MC (m): Right, We have a small period of time for questions and it's a great panel that we've got here, so if you'd like to ask a question, perhaps you could raise your hand.
Miles Newman (m): Question to Lisa, really: You alluded to influencing your colleagues in the media. Given their very short attention span, do you have any sort of real thoughts about how you can do that and how you can sustain the discussion of these sorts of things within the media?
Lisa Bloom (f): Yes, the media in the States and here, to some extent, is consumer-driven. So they say, “We need to have endless coverage of a star,” because that's what people want. Right? That's what we're told, and when I go to news directors and say, “Why are we not talking about climate change?” I'm told, “That is not what the consumer wants.”
And so the reason why I wrote my book “Think” is to change the consumer preferences, that each of us when we buy a tabloid magazine instead of a real newspaper, we're contributing to the problem. Each time we turn on a stupid reality show instead of a serious news program, we are contributing to the problem. So it's not enough for us to simply say, “Well, it's the media's fault,” when the media is essentially giving the consumers what we want, and we have to focus on what is meaningful. We have to teach our children to focus on what's meaningful and patronize the outlets that give us the stories.
They are out there. In the United States, it's the New York Times, National Public radio, BBC America. Here, of course, you have some very good news outlets, those are the ones you should be patronizing.
Geoff Beacon (m): I attended a peak oil group in Parliament the other day. One of the talks was from a biological professor that does some GM work. Very interested in making maize better and things like that. But the issue is: Can you really grow much more by intense horticulture, you might call it, rather than by farming, even if it's organic farming?
Tracy Worcester (f): As far as I'm concerned, if you see a film called “The Power of Community,” it's about Cuba, and how they were deprived of petroleum, and therefore petroleum-based fertilizer. And basically, they're growing food in the hinterland of their cities and their food is a very, very high quality; and a lot of people have jobs. And it's not very expensive. But what it's about is having labor back on the land. Because very often, they have companion farming so that you have plants that the insects don't like, so the insects don't go near the main lot of plants. You don't need pesticides, you don't need fertilizer, because they use the manure from the oxen, so it is a completely cyclical process, and that's what we need to look at.
MC (m): Thank you very much.
CAPTIONProf. Jefferson Cardia SimõesDirector, Brazilian National Institute for Cryospheric SciencesJefferson Simoes(m): It's clear that, nowadays, the greatest part of the deforestation, biomass burning in South America comes from the expansion of the cash crops and cattle farming. The important thing, I think, is that we must examine into values, the scale of values that we have about our experiencing this planet.
If you don't change that, if you don't think in different ways about consumption, of producing energy, firstly, we are not going to control this kind of global pollution. Second, it's becoming day by day more socially unfair, where a small part of the population consumes too much and the greater part doesn't consume it and, at the same time, suffers the consequence of global climatic change.