Bite-Size Blog #25 -- J. Morris Hicks

Clarifying the importance of total consumption vs. per-capita

    J. Morris Hicks
In response to BSB #23 that I published on Aug. 8, Dr. Boyd Myers asks: Should not these data be related per capita?

Dear Dr. Myers, Thank you for your question. Actually, I intended for the data to focus on the grand TOTAL of human consumption of meat and fossil fuel energy. That's because, I wanted to clearly show that TOTAL amount is steadily increasing and is wreaking havoc on our ecosystem.

Mother Nature doesn't care how much meat or energy we're consuming per person; she just knows that our total level of consumption (of meat and fossil fuels) is grossly unsustainable for much longer. Our total consumption of meat, is not making "Mama" happy. And you know what they say down south, where I come from:

If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! 

As a sustainability activist, I am now much more concerned about "Mother Nature's" health than I am the physical health of humans. Improving her health means that we must figure out a way to rapidly lower the "total" human level of consumption. One way to do that would be to rapidly lower the size of our population, except that in the 21st century, that option is not on the table. That leaves our total consumption--which must be reduced.

As for per capita consumption, I did extrapolate some FAO meat consumption numbers (broken out by country) a few years ago. Here's what I learned: 

For every American or European who is moving in the direction of a plant-based diet, there are ten people in the developing world moving in the other direction--now including meat and dairy in their diets for the very first time.

The Bottom Line. We have a serious problem on our planet--resulting from a plethora of wasteful and unsustainable human activities. But there is only one major area of unsustainable human activity that is possible to greatly reduce (or even eliminate) fairly quickly. And that is our steadily increasing habit of eating meat, dairy, eggs and fish (MDEF).

That's right, with the right level of leadership and global cooperation, we could totally eliminate the world's total consumption of MDEF in less than ten years. Compare that to the estimated hundred years that it will probably take to eliminate our consumption of fossil fuels.

One more thing, Dr. Myers, I listened to your recent podcast with Dr. Jami Dulaney recently and found it very well done and informing. I appeared in Podcast # 51 in October of 2015. 

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J. Morris (Jim) Hicks   4leafprogram.com    917-399-9700

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