In 2013, Paul Chatlin had a problem. A big problem! One of his arteries was 100% blocked and two others were 65% blocked. His heart was enlarged, its right side thickened and he couldn’t walk 10 steps without feeling excruciating chest pain. Fortunately for him, his cardiologist was mentored by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in medical school. He presented him with two treatment options:
1) Triple Bypass Surgery; or
2) Plant-Based Nutrition
Paul chose Plant-Based Nutrition and thus began his journey of recovery to robust health. Soon after he made this choice, Paul attended a plant-based cooking class hosted by the Esselstyns. It cost him $975. He tried to have Blue Cross/Blue Shield reimburse him for the class and was denied. He escalated his insurance claim all the way to Blue Cross/Blue Shield headquarters, pointing out the absurdity of them willing to cut a check for $125,000 for triple-bypass heart surgery, but not a $975 check for cooking classes. But Blue Cross/Blue Shield denied the claim and asked him to contact the legislature for any hope of future change in claim policies.
You see, Blue Cross/Blue Shield had no “code” for cooking classes!
This is the system we live in. It has no “code” for a cure, but plenty of “codes” for pills and procedures to make money off our diseases.
This is the same system that has no code for solving climate change, species extinctions, ocean dead zones, tropical deforestation or desertification, but plenty of codes for wildfire fighting and disaster reconstruction. The root cause of these environmental catastrophes is our unsustainable lifestyles, which were conceived when the earth’s bounty seemed virtually infinite compared to human demands on the earth. We now know that this is not true and that in fact, human impact on the earth’s biogeochemical cycles has been substantial ever since the agricultural revolution began.
For the first 12,000 years after the agricultural revolution began, humans deforested vast swathes of land for growing crops and for animal husbandry. This caused the Earth to warm and the climate to change even more than all our fossil fuel burning over the last 200 years. However, this earlier climate change turned out to be good for life as it prevented the earth from going back into another ice age 6000 years ago. It also kept the earth’s temperature remarkably constant for 10,000 years as if it was set on a thermostat. Then over the past 200 years, human activities have caused the earth’s temperature to increase by about 1 deg C, kicking the thermostat out of equilibrium and dangerously close to runaway increases through positive feedback loops. However, in the process, we developed all the scientific tools and technologies we need to understand and consciously fulfill our role as the “Thermostat Species” of the planet.
To solve climate change, we need to bring the earth’s temperature back to its safe zone without causing harm in other respects. There are only two things we can do, starting today, that fit this description:
1) Go Vegan; and
2) Burn less Fossil Fuels.
Please note that my emphasis is different from that in mainstream circles, where these two steps are usually framed as:
1) Eliminate Fossil Fuels; and
2) Eat less meat.
The latter framing leads to inaction, since in my experience, everyone already thinks they are eating less meat than someone else they know. Secondly, a total elimination of fossil fuels is almost impossible for people to achieve today. Therefore, this mainstream framing promotes apathy, which serves to maintain the current economic system based on consumption and growth. In contrast, millions of people have already gone Vegan and millions of people are already burning less fossil fuels by becoming more conscious of their consumption patterns. This changes our lifestyle to one of conscious simplicity, which is precisely what we need to become sustainable.
Vice President Al Gore once wrote that climate change is an outer manifestation of an inner crisis that is spiritual. In other words, climate change is a symptom of our disconnection with our true nature and purpose. In order to solve climate change, we, humans, need to assume our rightful place in the ecosystems of the world as the Thermostat species and reconnect with our true nature, which is pure compassion. And given the urgency of climate change, we need to make these changes in a hurry. The best way to achieve that is to get the religious/spiritual community mobilized and fully involved at the grassroots. We cannot depend on Al Gore, Bill McKibben and the mainstream establishment to promote Veganism and conscious simplicity.
They have no “code” for that.
Gore and McKibben are merely salesmen for the “triple bypass surgery” so that we may continue with our destructive lifestyles - until we die of stroke or cancer.