The Green New Deal, Why Put Off Till Tomorrow...

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York

Taking away ‘airplane rights’, high-speed light rail powered by ‘unicorn tears’ and stripping citizens of our inalienable right to eat a cheeseburger. These are just some of the charges coming from President Trump and other Republican politicos that share his disdain for the Green New Deal being proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. 

This resolution attempts to tackle large scale environmental issues, such as an outdated, inefficient, fossil fuel based energy grid, that has been proven over the last few decades to be one of the major contributors to green house gas emissions. Although, the issue we all want to turn a blind-eye to is the fact that our food system, and in particular our reliance on large scale, mono-crop, mono-livestock, pesticide, herbicide reliant agriculture is the real champion of greenhouse emissions. That’s right, cows are one of the biggest suppliers of methane, but that’s just one part of the issue with the current agriculture system. 

Colonial Farming

If we take a step back in history, to colonial America, we see that the European farming methods were one tradition that did not make the trip across the Atlantic. Across Europe in the 19th century agriculture was still represented by small, family run farms, with a strong bartering system in place to accommodate unmet needs by the farm. 

As early European immigrants landed on the eastern coast of the United States it must have been mind-numbing to lay their eyes on the unending swaths of pines, oaks and maples that lay ahead of them. For the most part we tend to forget, or we were never actually aware, of just how much cross cutting of old growth forests took place in the colonies of early America to create ‘room’ for these ‘new farms’. This clearing of forests made it possible for an agricultural shift to take place where the land constraints that existed in Europe were traded for seemingly endless resources of timber, land and wildlife that became the earliest forms of American wealth. 

Maybe it’s time to return to this ideal of wealth.

Post American Revolution we begin to see the industrial engine begin to churn, and farming has never been the same. Where the plow was once truly horse powered, now farmer-less tractors navigating via GPS can do 1000 times the work of a colonial predecessor. As with anything in America we have transformed farming into a highly efficient, paradoxically productive but somewhat profit depleted vocation. While farmers plowed ahead maximizing efficiency and economies of scale, they…us, failed to take in to account the negative effects that were occurring throughout the environment.

The Green New Deal seems like a champion resolution that seeks to tackle some of the most complex and perilous issues humans currently face. What needs to be addressed is this resolution calls for net-zero emissions by 2050. That 2050 number should seem familiar. In the Paris Deal it was largely agreed upon, with U.S. government leading the charge, that 2050 was the year where each of the countries involved would have made a full transition from their reliance on fossil fuels.

As a collective whole, we need to pull our heads out of our proverbial asses. Most of the flack this deal is receiving is due to the proposed cost to taxpayers and the federal government. While the estimated cost lands somewhere between $32 trillion to $100 trillion depending on which side of the aisle you’re talking to. What’s ironic is that while our President declares a state of emergency seeking north of $5 billion for a wall, we shudder at the idea of spending substantial money in order to create appreciable, large-scale, global change. With that being said, why is that change being put off for 30 years?

If someone needed to lose weight, and they devised a plan where they would quit overeating and start exercising regularly 30 years from now, there’s a chance they might never make it to the glorious day where they fit back into their skinny jeans. Which makes the slogan of the Green New Deal, ‘we can build a better tomorrow today’, that much more ironic.

Exercise Tomorrow Meme

I realize that the issues of climate change and fossil-fuel reliance will require massive shifts in economies and infrastructure in order to make real change. But just as one of our most famous forefathers, and founder of the American Philosophical Society whose purpose was to share information on developments in agriculture, stated…

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” - Benjamin Franklin

Second Nature

Do you remember when you were oblivious to the separation between yourself and nature?

When you dug your toes in the mud, stalked frogs on the pond shore, hunted sparrows as if they were an exotic trophy, camped within ear shot of your back porch, climbed trees without thoughts of how to get down, built a fort in the woods to ward off imaginary raiders, stared at the nigh sky as dew collected on the grass at your back.

When did we rip our page out of the book of the natural world?

For a lucky few throughout various individuals and societies throughout the world they retain this ancient and deep connection throughout their lives either by circumstance or choice.

The term ‘second nature’ comes from the late 14th century when it was first used to explain something that was learned or taught. So what is ‘first nature’ then? Really there is only nature, not first nature. What we came from, what we are and where we are going is all under the guise of nature. We live in it and we are IT.

Separation between our own identifying characteristics that were put in place through ‘second nature’ are simply a delusion of perception. We are organic entities which interact with our largely organic environment. Our interactions with our environment are what tend to shift thoughts of our place in nature.

As we start to self-identify as an individual, as a human being that is something distinct and different than the rest of the life on the planet, we create a chasm of disillusion in the wake of these blinding revelations. At one time humans operated in the wilderness in the same respect as all other living things, but as evolution progressed, cognition develop and consciousness expanded our species became a driving force of the natural world.

Through improved intelligence, leveraging alliances and harnessing the power of technology, we have become by default the stewards of land, plant and wildlife whether we like it or not. Preservation of nature is no longer an option, conservation is the only route that exists, there is no choice to be made in a debate that is often used for fodder of politicizing issues that surround wilderness and its inhabitants.

So as ironic as it seems, nature now relies on human nature.

We are no longer a mutual participant in nature, we must now assume the role of protector, cultivator, restorer and appreciator.


Your health is killing the environment

Inflammation is defined as a condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection. This seems to be the perfect personification of what’s currently happening to the environment and landscape, forest fires (red, hot), coastal flooding (swollen) mass extinction (we may not feel the pain yet but it’s coming).

There’s a popular debate over whether preservation or conservation of the natural world is best approach to offset these negative changes and create a world that fosters human, animal and plant life into the next few decades.

Another common area of conjecture across the healthcare industry, is that physicians are actually ‘fixing’ people rather than guiding a patient on their path back to health.

These two topics seem to be utterly unconnected, but when we look below the surface we start to see that there are more than enough dots to connect in order to build the foundation for an idea I call health conservation.

——

When a doctor or therapist helps guide a patient out of pain or disease and to improved function, they are merely helping that person better adapt to their current environment.

“...taking the athlete outside of their comfort zone, making them more adaptable and ultimately changing their environment.”
— Gray Cook

Gray Cook is a physical therapist that has spoken at length about shifting a patient’s environment to allow for injury limitation and more appropriate adaptation toward a specified goal. This environment is usually thought of as the immediate daily inputs, i.e. food, positions, movements, furniture, rest, recovery, hydration, etc…

download.jpeg

Why are we not accounting for the ACTUAL environment.

Environment defined;

The natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity.

We tend to change our immediate surroundings and personal inputs, but just as our movement output is preceded by neurologic input, our personal environment is predominantly determined by THE environment at large.

The air we breathe, the water we drink, the natural light we are exposed to (or, the quality of food we eat…all of these things will determine exactly to what degree we are able to alter our personal environment.

181111083815-58-california-wildfires-1111-super-tease.jpg

What if I decide to focus on improving my hydration protocol, but my local water supply is barely potable?

What if I want to take up the ‘eat what you kill’ ideology, but when I hit the forest looking for a tasty little critter, the habitat has been so disturbed by urbanization and industrialization that none are to be found?

What if I want to start eating more fruits and vegetables, but my ability to obtain locally sourced fruits and vegetables has be disturbed due to cross-contamination with non-organic farms, or the crops were devastated by drought or wildfires?

What if I sign up for that marathon and begin training, but every time I step outside to run my Air Quality Index is in the purple or maroon?

It is human nature to focus on our immediate needs and environment first, then we are allowed the luxury of altruism. This follows the Maslowian hierarchy that helps us conceptualize or maybe just simply rationalize a ME first approach in life. Although humans did not start off with this personal drive for numero uno. For millennia Homo sapiens were a tribal hominid that not only preferred putting the needs of others first, it was actually crucial to survival of the species.

From taking down a woolly mammoth, to co-parenting the tribes children, a non-nuclear approach to life has long been key to our survival. As we have spread across every continent, rapidly developed technology and continued to consume our Earth’s resources at break-neck speeds, each individual within the organism known as the human race has somehow lost their way along with their health.

Have we have forgotten that we are not the only living thing here? Need we be reminded that we still reside on this rock hurtling around the sun with almost 400,000 species of plants and 8.7 million species of animals. We turn a blind eye to the fact that over the course of the last 50 years, a third of the species on this planet have become extinct. We also maintain blissful ignorance that we are currently operating at 150% capacity of what our planet can maintain in the next two decades (link to Forbes article).

105346.jpg

Are you asking yourself, WHAT IN THEE HELL does all this have to human health?

Well, good luck fostering better health when the organism you live upon and draw sustenance from is adapting in a way that is becoming more and more volatile for humans to reside upon and within.

I firmly believe that the answer to the ‘5 Why’s’ of fixing human health as well as the environmental crisis at hand lies in the simple concept of mutualistic symbiosis. Put in other words, your personal health is symbiotic with with the planet’s health and vice versa.

bird+zebra.jpg

Now there are three types of symbiotic relationships.

Mutualism - both organisms benefit, a good example of this is would be an oxpecker (it’s a bird ya’ filthy animal) and a zebra.

Commensalism - one organism is benefited while the other is neither harmed or helped, this would be the case of a remora and a great white shark.

Parasitic - one organism benefits while the other his harmed or killed, our current relationship with the planet.

A shift from a parasitic symbiosis to one of mutualism would echo the thought processes of a conservationist. The conservationist mindset is that we absolutely use the resources of the planet, therefore it is our responsibility to conserve as well as cultivate those resources. With this type of paradigm in place it becomes extremely difficult to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle when you have to grow your own food, support local farms, stop buying shit you don’t need, ,break your reliance on fossil fuels, aid in protecting local waterways and generally clean up after yourself.

The idea of conserving your health rather than taking a reactive approach to treating disease and injury is the exact same concept. The industry may label it differently; wellness, preventative, longevity medicine, etc… No matter what the descriptor is, the movement in healthcare to a more proactive mindset that is focused on maximizing health and vitality and reducing overall expenditures both fiscally and environmentally.

Any way you look at the issue, something needs to change. For those people who have either been decidedly bull-headed about the issue of climate change, the latest report from the Trump administration lays out a bleak future if a shift in our ways doesn’t happen lickety-split. Here is a link to the full 1,656 page assessment (Fourth National Climate Assessment).

The Great Law of the Iroquois urges people to look beyond the effect of their actions on today, instead ask how will this affect people seven generations from now. I leave you with the charge to live deliberately and intentionally, conserve your health and our environment; for yourself, for me and for many generations yet to come.

I stopped meditating and started 'Vaynerchuk-ing'

I stopped meditating and started 'Vaynerchuk-ing'

In my attempts to find my way, which I'm not saying I'm anywhere close to yet, I have read hundreds of books, devoted myself to tried and true practices and routines and learned from some of the best. There is a lot of talk about mindfulness, bio-hacking and human optimization within my field, but at the end of the day we all need to realize...