After learning about the cargo that this ultra-modern, wind-powered sailing ship pictured below was carrying, I immediately thought of a Trojan Horse analogy. For most casual readers, the image of this beautiful, highly efficient, commercial sailing ship will probably conjure up thoughts of how "green" we are now starting to live.
But, if you dig a little deeper, you will discover that this beautiful vessel operates in the service of the two dirtiest industries on the planet -- automotive and energy.
According to a CNN
article, Sweden's OceanBird
, pictured here, is the world's largest sailing vessel and is expected to make her maiden voyage in 2024. She is a 650-foot, 35,000 ton vessel, with five sails reaching higher than the length of a football field. Her massive sails can even be lowered in order to pass under certain bridges.
Although OceanBird is far more environmentally-friendly than other ships in her line of work, it's the line of work that is the problem -- transporting new automobiles across the ocean.
Would you believe that they can pack 7,000 automobiles on this single ship? For the average-size family car, we're talking about a line of cars -- parked bumper-to-bumper -- stretching over 21 miles.
It's hard to get 7,000 cars in one photo, but if you could, it would look something like -- times seven
As stated in the article, new ships like this one are part of efforts by shipping companies who are trying to comply with new regulations by the UN's Maritime Organization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2050. I prefer to call a spade a spade and refer to this situation as an example of trying to clean up a filthy industry by what amounts to:
Putting Lipstick on a Pig
While she might look a little bit better, at the end of the day, you still have a pig on your hands. Why not just get rid of the pig? In this case the pig is the automotive industry.
In Outcry, we talk about the urgent need to totally reinvent the way we live on this planet -- a way that is capable of reducing the world's total automobile, truck and bus industry by over 80%.
While we're talking about putting lipstick on a pig, let's talk about the money-motivated healthcare industry in the USA. As with the automotive industry, why don't we just try to completely eliminate the need for some of the least effective and most expensive parts of it?
Let's talk about Heart Disease
Check out this statistic on the World Health Organization website: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.
Almost 18 million a year! How does that compare to deaths from Covid-19 this year? As of 10-21-20, according to daily figures that are reported by virtually every news organization in the world -- the worldwide total number of deaths from Covid-19 in 2020 now stands at just under 1.334 million.
So even if we have a surge in deaths and end this year with two million deaths from Covid-19 this year, it will just be a tiny fraction of the nearly 18 million deaths driven by heart disease each year.
While it is a tragedy that so many people have already died from Covid-19, it is a far greater tragedy that millions of people around the world are dying from a disease that has been proven preventable and/or reversible in most cases.
Preventable and reversible?
Yes, and that bit of news has been public knowledge for a long time. Dr. Dean Ornish
wrote this on the front cover of our "Healthy Eating, Healthy World" book in 2011:
What's good for you is also good for the planet. Heart disease and diabetes are completely preventable and even reversible for most people today by changing diet and lifestyle. This book shows you how.
That book is pictured below alongside the 4Leaf Guide
that I co-authored with Dr. Kerry Graff in 2015. As for heart disease specifically, you should check out the magnificent work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
of the Cleveland Clinic.
Both of the above books can guide almost anyone to a life of vibrant health -- free of chronic disease and blessed with a trim body, lots of energy and a chance to stop participating in one of the nastiest, most wasteful and harmful industries in the world -- the animal-based food industry and the related healthcare industry that profits from people getting sick and needing insanely expensive procedures.
But the more significant benefit of eating plants instead of animals -- is our future as a species -- as alluded to in the "Protein Myth" in the above slide. This is my conclusion after studying this topic since 2002:
If we cannot take the "animal out of the equation" when it comes to feeding ourselves, we will never learn to live in harmony with nature - thereby placing the future of our civilization (and our species) in serious jeopardy.
Just before finishing this SOS Memo, I ran across another piece in The NY Times that was totally devoted to how we can make the animal-based food industry better for the environment. It's just another example of trying to make our bad habits less bad.
Why not do ourselves and our biosphere a great favor and just swap out those bad habits for a way of life that promotes health, hope and harmony on planet Earth?
The Bottom Line. This SOS Memo has covered three of the grossly unsustainable elements of our modern lives -- our energy system, our transportation system -- and our widespread consumption of animal-based foods.
We cover many more of those unsustainable elements in Outcry, where we also take a look at the many wonderful things that are possible when we step back and re-design our entire way of life on planet Earth.
The beauty of life in the Great Big Northern (GBN), that we describe in Outcry, is that it is an envisioned way of life where only green lifestyle options exist -- making it very easy for everyone to follow nature's guidelines that are essential to our own survival.