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The Most Important Choice to Save the World

 

It  is clear now, more than ever that we are at an environmental threshold the likes we have never seen.

Prominent scientists have come out saying that we are now, unquestionably, in an epochal Mass Extinction. One of the species least likely to survive it? Humanity.

Current measures for sustainable energy are inspiring but just aren’t cutting it. By current projections it will cost many trillions of dollars and take two decades to switch off fossil fuels.

And fossil fuel use isn’t even the worst cause of environmental degradation right now.

Many people try to be ‘environmentally conscious’ through short showers, composting, recycling and carpooling. While helpful these practices a just a drop in the bucket of our culture’s real daily consumption problem.

Fortunately, with a growing population approaching 8 billion, we have achieved a moment of a perfect necessary opportunity.

In order to be a true environmentalist, without hypocrisy under the population and environmental pressures we are presented with right now there is only one choice:

The single most important decision we can make in regards to saving the world is to stop or at least significantly reduce eating animal products.

Scroll down further for facts on why this is true.

Seriously, every political battle, social justice reform and sustainable cause pales in comparison to this one massive necessity.

It isn’t a moral issue. It is the pure scientific fact of maintaining life on this planet.

There is no greater way a person can reduce their personal impact than stopping eating meat. Unlike the sustainable energy reforms which will cost trillions of dollars and take decades to implement this costs nothing and can be implemented today.

I live one of the healthiest lifestyles possible. I have incredible amounts of energy and wake up invigorated and revitalized every day. I climb mountains, perform acrobatics, slackline and adventure race. I also eat next to no animal products ever. They are completely unnecessary for the greatest health imaginable.

So a diet that makes people healthier and happier is also the single most important choice we can make to save the world?

Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Here are the facts:

  1. 18% of all Greenhouse gases come from Animal Agriculture. All transportation combined equals 13%.
  2. Live stock and byproducts of livestock account for 51% of CO2 emissions on the planet
  3. Methane and NO2 are hundreds of times more destructive than CO2 and livestock produce the highest sources of these as well
  4. While fracking uses 70-140 Billion gallons of water a year, livestock agriculture uses a staggering 34-76 Trillion gallons annually!
  5. An average Californian is responsible for the consumption of 1500 gallons of water a day.
  6. One pound of beef consumes 2500 gallons of water in its production.
  7. A person who does not eat animal products produces 50% less CO2, uses 1/11 of the oil. 1/13 of the water and 1/18 of the land of a consumer of animal products
  8. The list goes on. (see links below for more info!)

So taking short showers, fixing that leaky faucet and similar measures are trivial in comparison to stoping eating meat.

Regardless of what else you do in the world, with a population of 7.3 billion and rising there is no sustainable way for everyone to eat meat except on very rare occasions.

Like I said, it is no longer a moral issue. It is not about ethics. It is pure, unadulterated science. The number one cause of rainforest destruction, global warming, species loss, and everything that is killing this planet right now is animal agriculture.

In some ways this is good news. All you have to do, in order to make the greatest impact, is to stop eating meat and dairy. It costs nothing, it will save you money, and make you healthier to boot.

Good thing there is a plethora of information out there about the incredible and complete vegan diet. If you do not believe you can THRIVE on this diet than you are not doing your research. Here are some of my favorite examples of people who push the threshold every day without the use of animal products.

Peter Ragnar is older than most of our great grandparents and yet, somehow younger than us at the same time! He is a true inspiration.

Peter Ragnar http://www.longevitysage.com/

David Wolfe is out there discovering the healthiest foods and picking them apart to figure out what makes them tick.

David Wolfe davidwolfe.com

No Meat Athlete: This is a great resource to find info on people who perform superhuman feats without meat.

Here is a link to an article with advice from fruitarian Ultrarunner Michael Arnstein on nomeatathlete.com

Do the research. I used to respect people’s meat eating habits. Just because I know I do not need meat does not mean everyone needs to change their diets too… except, actually they do. Literally, time is running out.

 

Infographic from the Great documentary on this subject: Cowspiracy. *All numbered facts above compiled from peer reviewed articles by Cowspiracy as well*

Cowspiracy-Infographic

 

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Community Responsibility (Response to Waking Life Scandal)

By now it is national news that Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens, owners of Waking Life Coffee have done some pretty fucked up things. For those who do not know the backstory you can learn everything you need to know here.

Naturally, Asheville residents are outraged. Apologies are not being accepted outright. This thriving Asheville business is destroyed overnight, and the prospects for a new location dismantled as well. All of this is well and good.

The response thus far has been apt; these men need their lives to crumble around them. National media has picked up this one. The severity should be complete.

And yet, who will be there ready to pick them back up?

We live in a society that is ready to tear anyone to shreds who displays social illness such as the misogynistic vomit of these two. However, as furiously as we can tear these two apart, we have lost the threads of compassion that allow us to eventually build them back up again.

We have lost our faith that people can change, grow and learn. This misogynistic illness is a part of a much bigger social illness in our society.

Yes these men have lost their trust. They have lost their career.

Do we just extricate them from Asheville? Do we as a community dump these two men on some other community elsewhere in the country? Or are we better than that?

In a world where so much of humanity is confronted with so much atrocity, it is each community’s responsibility to not only hold its members responsible for their actions, but to give them a chance to prove themselves, to change. Some of the biggest assholes can become some of the most invaluable and supportive leaders if shown enough compassion.

To those who are ready to tear them apart and throw them to the curb I have some news to break to you:

We are all in this together.

While these gentlemen need to have the world torn out from under them in a big and powerful way they also need to be lifted back up.

I see the outrage. I see the disgust. But I see very little of the balance necessary to be a healthy, strong and balanced community. I see an opportunity.

If we simply extricate these men and wipe our hands clean of them then we have done ourselves a disservice. We have lost an opportunity to function, holistically as a community. We have become the angry mob and have given our essential humanity over to blind rage to the loss of our true power.

My question is this. How do we rise up as a community to show that we are truly strong? We don’t need to be saints to understand that compassion is the ultimate path to a healthy vibrant world. If we do not balance rage with compassion then we are no better than the rest.

I believe in you Asheville, not only to take a stand against such disgusting behavior but to show the world that we can support each other at the same time.

 

 

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One Million Atrocities, Billions of Acts of Magic

Everyday we are bombarded with news from around the world. Many of our biggest news providers thrive off of violence and  fear. Many of those who reject the mass media view still rail against the injustices in our world. It can seem that no matter where you turn something to fear or fight is presented.

However in a world of a million atrocities there are simultaneously billions of acts of magic.

Billions of daily acts of kindness, of service. Billions of smiles and Billions of people living life the best they can.

So in a world that is overwhelmingly good why do we tend to focus on the things that aren’t?

For one, we know that it can be better. We can live more sustainably, more peacefully. We can live in a world that no longer allows the exploitation of peoples by a power hungry minority.

However, if we dwell on the atrocity, the injustice of all of this then we have missed the mark in a big way. We have lost an opportunity to be the most effective and integral human beings we can possibly be. In a world of a billion acts of magic, we have given our power over to the very things we wish to change. This is explicable through Neuroscience.

Our brains have synapses that grow (synaptogenesis) die (synaptic pruning) and are otherwise malleable (synaptic plasticity). Whatever we put our minds on we literally strengthen in our brain through the firing of synapses. If you believe the world a place of atrocities, you will see them everywhere. Every article you read, every interaction you have will somehow reinforce this opinion and hardwire the synapses that feed those thoughts and emotions. Likewise if you see a billion miracles everyday, every interaction you have and everything you read will likewise reinforce that as well.

The only problem is that a majority of those creating news and consuming it fall into the first camp. They create media and consume media that further hardwires their synapses in a way that makes plasticity difficult.

Want to know how malleable your brain is? Try looking at your body. How flexible are you? The brain, like any muscle, is directly connected to the body. If your body is stiff and chronically painful, chances are your mind is as well.

However, this is always, ALWAYS subject to change.

It is a simple science. We literally can fake it until we make it. In fact, that is one of the most important things you can do. If you are plagued by a reality (and trust me it will be real in every way for you!) that contains mistrust, fear, anger at the state of the world, etc. you MUST begin to change your story. Stories, after all, are all we have. We may justify some stories as truth and dismiss others, but in the end we have stories we tell ourselves about the way the world works, and these hardwire into brain a very specific experience of the world around us.

For example, there is the growing crisis in the environment. There are big corporations who continue to exploit resources and seem to have too much power for their own good. By changing our focus we are not ignoring the reality of this. We are changing our relationship to it.

Rather than dwelling on the atrocity I move immediately, without hesitation, to my own actions. What am I doing to change this pattern in my own life? Is this an issue that I am going to put energy into changing? If so, railing against a powerful force such as this in anger is ineffective and absurd. How often have you seen angry and radical opposition work? If instead I come from a place of invigoration and clarity, I have a leverage the angry and suppressed do not. A malleable, healthy brain and body is the best vehicle for innovation. It is the best vehicle for creative problem solving and leadership. It is the greatest strategy and provides the most leverage for exacting any amount of change on any system.

Really let that sink in.

No matter what system you want to change, a malleable, healthy and happy mind and body will provide you the greatest leverage.

So where does the justification for anger at injustice go? It goes down the tubes. It is a poor strategy, wears down the mind, stresses out the body, making the person relatively ineffectual in comparison to the healthy alternative.

So I engage environmental crisis with enthusiasm and vigor. I draw people together to raise money for local environmental causes. I help to inspire others to greatness, to put their vital life energy into tangible projects that make a difference. We write grants, write letters to politicians, and help our local political body to move in directions that feel good. We move towards healthier, happier, better. We exude it, we cannot help but attract it to us. In the same way where the environmental crisis could inspire pain, anger, helplessness, and other emotions that chip away at our minds and body, we engage it with a proactive spirit that inspires us and inspires others. We become agents of effectual change.

I will focus on the billions of beautiful things happening on this planet. For every atrocity that exists there are numerous beautiful things happening as we speak to transform it. The world is evolving and amazing things are happening every day.

Do not get left in the dust.

My Creative Integration practice, as outlined in my forthcoming book ‘Unleash Your Creative Genius’ is designed to help you take back your power, and become a more effective agent of change and innovation in whatever field you desire. After all, this is not just a natural birthright, it is a responsibility. A responsibility to ourselves and our planet.

Anger at atrocity is not bad, it is just a first step. In the world of leveraging change it is adolescent. It must grow to invigorated enthusiasm before it can truly begin to make a difference.