Below are sources and references for information presented in the film, as well as other related and supplemental information, generally organized in the same order as the sections of the film.
You can also click on the following links to jump to a specific section below:
Please note that the information in the film is based on what was available at the time of production. Some figures have and will change over time, and new studies are always being published. For example, when filming began in 2017, the human population was 7.5 billion. However, when the film was released in 2020, the population had risen to 7.8 billion people and is continuing to increase.
We will periodically update and add more sources to this page as new information and studies become available.
THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION
“BIOLOGISTS HAVE CLASSIFIED OUR TIME AS THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION IN EARTH'S HISTORY.”
G Ceballos, PR Ehrlich, AD Barnosky, et al. “Accelerated Modern Human–Induced Species Losses: Entering the Sixth Mass Extinction.” Science Advances. 2015 Jun: Vol. 1, no. 5, e1400253: "[E]stimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.”
G Ceballos, PR Ehrlich and PH Raven. "Vertebrates on the Brink as Indicators of Biological Annihilation and the Sixth Mass Extinction." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jun. 1, 2020: "The ongoing sixth mass extinction may be the most serious environmental threat to the persistence of civilization, because it is irreversible. Thousands of populations of critically endangered vertebrate animal species have been lost in a century, indicating that the sixth mass extinction is human caused and accelerating. The acceleration of the extinction crisis is certain because of the still fast growth in human numbers and consumption rates.”
"OVER ONE-HALF OF ALL WILD ANIMALS ON OUR PLANET HAVE DISAPPEARED
IN JUST THE LAST FORTY YEARS.”
REA Almond, M Grooten and R Almond. "Living Planet Report 2020 - Bending the curve of biodiversity loss." WWF International (formerly World Wildlife Fund). 2020: "The evidence is unequivocal – nature is being changed and destroyed by us at a rate unprecedented in history. The 2020 global Living Planet Index shows an average 68% fall in populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish between 1970 and 2016.”
M Grooten and R Almond. "Living Planet Report - 2018: Aiming Higher." WWF International (formerly World Wildlife Fund). 2018: "This report’s Living Planet Index also outlines how much nature we are losing. It shows an overall decline of 60% in species population sizes between 1970 and 2014, while current rates of species extinctions are 100 to 1,000 times higher than the background rate (the extinction before human pressure became a prominent factor). Other indicators measuring different changes in biodiversity all paint the same picture – that of dramatic, continued loss.”
"POLLINATORS HELP TO PRODUCE 75% OF OUR DIFFERENT CROP SPECIES.”
"Why Bees Matter. The Importance of Bees and Other Pollinators for Food and Agriculture. United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization. May 2018: "Three out of four crops across the globe producing fruits or seeds for human use as food depend, at least in part, on pollinators.”
"THE BIGGEST CAUSE OF EXTINCTIONS IS HABITAT DESTRUCTION.”
NS Sodhi, BW Brook and CJA Bradshaw. "The Princeton Guide to Ecology, Chapter V.1: Causes and Consequences of Species Extinctions." Princeton University Press. Jan 2009: "Habitat loss remains the main driver of extinctions[.]”
"HABITAT LOSS IS THE NUMBER ONE DRIVER OF BIODIVERSITY LOSS"
I Hanski. "Habitat Loss, the Dynamics of Biodiversity, and a Perspective on Conservation." Ambio. 40(3): 248–255. May 2011: "Habitat loss has been, and still is, the greatest threat to biodiversity[.]”
"THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR IS BY FAR THE SINGLE LARGEST USER OF LAND ON THE PLANET,
AND IT IS THE MAJOR DRIVER OF DEFORESTATION"
H Steinfeld, P Gerber, et al. "Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options." United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization. Nov. 2006: "The livestock sector is by far the largest anthropogenic user of land [and] may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation[.]”
"LIVESTOCK SYSTEMS OCCUPY A STAGGERING 45% OF THE GLOBAL SURFACE AREA"
P Thornton, M Herrero and P Ericksen. "Livestock and Climate Change." Int'l Livestock Research Institute. Nov. 2011: "Livestock systems occupy 45% of the global surface area[.]”
"IF WE ALL WENT VEGAN, GLOBAL FARMLANDS COULD BE REDUCED BY MORE THAN 75%, AN AREA OF LAND EQUIVALENT TO THE UNITED STATES, CHINA, EUROPEAN UNION AND AUSTRALIA COMBINED"
(shown in the closing sequence at the end of the film)
J Poore and T. Nemecek. "Reducing Food’s Environmental Impacts Through Producers and Consumers." Journal Science. Jun. 2018; 360 (6392) 987-992: "[D]ietary change can deliver environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers. Moving from current diets to a diet that excludes animal products…has transformative potential, reducing food’s land use by 3.1 …billion hectares (a 76% reduction)[.]”
D Carrington. "Avoiding Meat and Dairy is ‘Single Biggest Way’ to Reduce Your Impact on Earth." The Guardian. May 31, 2018: Reporting the findings of the study cited immediately above, "[W]ithout meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world.”
"A THIRD OF ALL THE CARBON DIOXIDE (OR CO2) THAT WE'RE RELEASING INTO THE ATMOSPHERE
GETS ABSORBED BY THE OCEAN WHERE IT TURNS INTO CARBONIC ACID"
"Understanding the Science of Ocean and Coastal Acidification." United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.gov) (website last visited Jun. 16, 2020). "[A]bout one third of the carbon dioxide gas in Earth’s atmosphere dissolves in the oceans.... Once carbon dioxide dissolves in water, carbon dioxide molecules react with water molecules to form carbonic acid[.]”
"WE'VE PUT HUGE AMOUNTS OF CO2 INTO THE ATMOSPHERE IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME"
CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Our World In Data (using 2019 data from the Global Carbon Project & Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)) (website last visited Jun. 16, 2020): "Global emissions increased from 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 1900 to over 36 billion tonnes 115 years later.”
"THE OCEAN'S AVERAGE pH ALREADY DROPPED FROM 8.2 TO 8.1 SINCE PRE-INDUSTRIAL TIMES,
AND SCIENTISTS ESTIMATE THAT IT WILL DROP FURTHER BY THE END OF THE CENTURY
TO AN AVERAGE pH OF 7.8"
J Chu. "Ocean Acidification May Cause Dramatic Changes to Phytoplankton." MIT News. Jul. 20, 2015: "Since pre-industrial times, the pH of the oceans has dropped from an average of 8.2 to 8.1 today. Projections of climate change estimate that by the year 2100, this number will drop further, to around 7.8 — significantly lower than any levels seen in open ocean marine communities today[.]”
"OCEAN ACIDIFICATION IS ALREADY OUTSIDE THE BOUNDS OF NATURAL VARIABILITY"
E Grossman. "Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived." Yale Environment 360. Nov. 21, 2011: "The acidification of the world’s oceans from an excess of CO2 has already begun, as evidenced recently by the widespread mortality of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists say this is just a harbinger of things to come if greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar.”
"OCEAN PHYTOPLANKTON ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE-HALF OF THE WORLD'S OXYGEN PRODUCTION"
J Roach. "Source of Half Earth's Oxygen Gets Little Credit." National Geographic News. Jun. 7, 2004: "Half of the world's oxygen is produced via phytoplankton photosynthesis. The other half is produced via photosynthesis on land by trees, shrubs, grasses, and other plants.”
"THE FURTHER CHANGES IN PHYTOPLANKTON THAT ARE PROJECTED IF OCEAN ACIDIFICATION
AND WARMING CONTINUE ARE COMPLETELY UNPRECEDENTED"
J Roach. "Failing Phytoplankton, Failing Oxygen: Global Warming Disaster Could Suffocate Life on Planet Earth." Science Daily. Dec. 1, 2015: "A study led by Sergei Petrovskii, Professor in Applied Mathematics from the University of Leicester's Department of Mathematics, has shown that an increase in the water temperature of the world's oceans of around six degrees Celsius -- which some scientists predict could occur as soon as 2100 -- could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.”
Y Sekerci and S Petrovskii. "Mathematical Modelling of Plankton–Oxygen Dynamics Under the Climate Change." Bull Math Biol. 77, 2325–2353 (2015): "If, in the course of time, the oxygen production rate becomes too low or too high, the system’s dynamics changes abruptly, resulting in the oxygen depletion and plankton extinction.”
"WITH A BUSINESS-AS-USUAL SCENARIO, BY 2050
THERE WILL BE MORE PLASTIC IN THE OCEAN THAN FISH"
"The New Plastics Economy, Rethinking the Future of Plastics." World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company. Jan. 2016. "In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”
"IT'S A MAN-MADE SUBSTANCE FIRST CREATED IN 1907.
BUT NOW, BARELY A CENTURY LATER, IT'S LITERALLY EVERYWHERE"
L Knight. "A brief history of plastics, natural and synthetic." BBC News. May 17, 2014: "[T]he big breakthrough - arguably the birth of the modern plastics era - came in 1907, with the invention of Bakelite by the Belgian-born American Leo Baekeland.”
SA Mason. "Plastics, Plastics Everywhere." American Scientist. Sept. - Oct. 2019: "These more recent studies show us something very basic: that age-old adage that what goes around, comes around. The plastic we use ultimately comes back to us in the food we eat and the water we drink.”
"World Plastic Production 1950 - 2015." PlasticsEurope Market Research Group (PEMRG) / Consultic Marketing & Industrieberatung GmbH. "Plastics production ramped up from 1.5 Mio. t in 1950 to ~322 Mio. t.”
World Plastics Production 1950 - 2015
"MOST PLASTIC IS NEVER RECYCLED EITHER;
IN FACT, A LOT OF IT CAN'T BE RECYCLED, EVEN IF WE WANTED TO"
L Parker. "A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled." National Geographic. Jul. 19, 2017: "The United States ranks behind Europe (30 percent) and China (25 percent) in recycling, the study found. Recycling in the U.S. has remained at nine percent since 2012.”
R Davis and C Joyce. "The Plastic Tide, Plastics: What's Recyclable, What Becomes Trash — And Why." NPR. Aug. 21, 2019: "One reason so much plastic packaging ends up in incinerators, landfills and oceans is that it isn’t designed to be recycled... Recycling alone can’t solve the waste conundrum, but many believe it’s a vital piece of an overall strategy, which also includes reducing packaging and replacing disposables with reusable materials.”
"MORE THAN 8 MILLION METRIC TONS OF PLASTIC FIND THEIR WAY TO THE OCEAN EVERY YEAR
...THE EQUIVALENT OF DUMPING 1,440 GARBAGE TRUCKS
OF PLASTIC INTO THE SEA EVERY SINGLE DAY"
J Pennington. "Every Minute, One Garbage Truck of Plastic is Dumped into our Oceans. This Has to Stop." World Economic Forum. Oct. 2016: "Scientists estimate that about 8 million tons of plastic debris such as food packaging and plastic bottles are being washed into the oceans each year – and the cumulative quantity of waste will result in a tenfold increase in the total amount of plastic in the sea by 2020.”
"IN SOME PLACES, LIKE THE NORTH PACIFIC GYRE,
THEY FOUND THERE WAS SIX TIMES MORE PLASTIC THAN PLANKTON"
C Panti, et al. "Occurrence, Relative Abundance and Spatial Distribution of Microplastics and Zooplankton
NW of Sardinia in the Pelagos Sanctuary Protected Area, Mediterranean Sea." Environ Chemistry. Jan. 2015: "A higher ratio [of microplastics/zooplankton encounters] could have a negative effect on the health of biota, as demonstrated for organisms living in the North Pacific Gyre where the mass of plastics was found to be approximately six times greater than that of plankton.”
"IF YOU'RE EATING SEAFOOD, YOU'RE PROBABLY ALSO EATING QUITE A BIT OF PLASTIC TOO...
A RECENT STUDY...ESTIMATED IT COULD BE AROUND 11,000 TINY PIECES OF PLASTIC
PER PERSON PER YEAR"
L Van Cauwenberghe and CR Janssen. "Microplastics in Bivalves Cultured for Human Consumption." Environ Pollut. Oct. 2014; 193:65-70: "The annual dietary exposure of European consumers can be up to 11,000 microplastics[.]”
"WE DON'T KNOW HOW EATING ALL THIS PLASTIC WILL AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH
[BUT WE'VE] SEEN THAT THE NANOPLASTICS, WHICH ARE THE VERY SMALL PLASTIC PARTICLES,
CAN ACTUALLY CROSS CELL MEMBRANES IN SOME FISH...
AND CAN ACCUMULATE IN ORGANS LIKE THE BRAIN, TESTICLES AND LIVER,
AND CAUSE PROBLEMS WITH THE REPRODUCTION, IMMUNE SYSTEM AND BEHAVIOR "
L Van Cauwenberghe and CR Janssen. "Microplastics in Bivalves Cultured for Human Consumption." Environ Pollut. Oct. 2014; 193:65-70: "The presence of marine microplastics in seafood could pose a threat to food safety, however, due to the complexity of estimating microplastic toxicity, estimations of the potential risks for human health posed by microplastics in food stuffs is not (yet) possible.”
AA Koelmans, E Besseling and WJ Shim. "Nanoplastics in the Aquatic Environment. Critical Review." Marine Anthropogenic Litter. 2015: "As for membrane passage, [a study] used molecular simulations to assess the effect of nano-sized polystyrene on the properties of model biological membranes and concluded that the NPs [nanoplastics] could permeate easily into lipid membranes, which may affect cellular functions.... [A]dults accumulated the NPs [nanoplastics] mainly in the gills and intestine yet also in the brain, testis, liver and blood.... [N]anoplastics might interfere with the chemical communication among species, which would cause subtle behavioural disturbances in finding a mate or food, or in the avoidance of predators such as fish.”
"DISCARDED FISHING NETS AND GEAR ALSO LITTER THE OCEANS
TRAPPING COUNTLESS MARINE ANIMALS"
"How 'Ghost Fishing' is Devastating our Marine Environments." Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Feb. 2018: "At least 640 000 tonnes of fishing gear is thought to be lost or abandoned in the oceans every year. FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimate that one tenth of all waste in the oceans is made up of this “ghost gear”. Killing fish and other species, such as whales, dolphins, seals and turtles (some of which are endangered), is one of the many devastating impacts of ghost gear.”
"MOST FISHING PRIOR TO 1950 WAS COASTAL....THAT CHANGED
AFTER WORLD WAR II BECAUSE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES [THAT]
MADE IT FEASIBLE TO FISH WAY OFFSHORE IN FISH POPULATIONS
THAT HAD NEVER BEEN FISHED BEFORE"
"LARGER AND LARGER FRACTION OF THOSE FISH POPULATIONS IS BEING DEPLETED,
AND RIGHT NOW ABOUT 80% OR MORE ARE FULLY FISHED (MEANING THEIR FISHED TO CAPACITY)
OR THEY'RE OVERFISHED AND BEING DEPLETED"
"SCIENTISTS FROM DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY PROJECTED THAT, BY THE YEAR 2048,
ALL FISHERIES WOULD BE PRACTICALLY EMPTY - IN OTHER WORDS,
IF WE CONTINUE BUSINESS AS USUAL, THEY'RE WARNING WE COULD HAVE VIRTUALLY
FISHLESS OCEANS IN JUST A FEW SHORT DECADES"
B Worm, et al. "Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services." Science. Nov. 3, 2006; 314(5800): 787-90: "Our data highlight the societal consequences of an ongoing erosion of [ocean ecosystem] diversity that appears to be accelerating on a global scale…. This trend is of serious concern because it projects the global collapse of all taxa currently fished by the mid–21st century (based on the extrapolation of regression…in the year 2048).”
"ALTHOUGH FARMED FISH, OR AQUACULTURE, IS SOMETIMES TOUTED AS AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO COMMERCIAL FISHING, IN REALITY IT HAS ITS OWN SET OF VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS
AND CAN STILL BE DETRIMENTAL TO BOTH WILD FISH AND ECOSYSTEMS"
RL Naylor, et al. "Effect of Aquaculture on World Fish Supplies." Nature. Jun. 29, 2000; 1017-24. doi: 10.1038/35016500: "Besides this direct impact on wild fish stocks, some aquaculture as currently practiced degrades the marine environment and diminishes the ecological life support services it provides to fish, marine mammals, and seabirds, as well as humans. These impacts include
Destruction of hundreds of thousands of hectares of mangrove forests and coastal wetlands for construction of aquaculture facilities
Use of wild-caught rather than hatchery-reared finfish or shellfish fry to stock captive operations, a practice that often leads to a high rate of discarded bycatch of other species
Heavy fishing pressure on small ocean fish such as anchovies for use as fish meal, which can deplete food for wild fish such as cod, as well as seals and seabirds
Transport of fish diseases into new waters and escapes of non-native fish that may hybridize or compete with native wild fish”
FC Cabello. "Heavy Use of Prophylactic Antibiotics in Aquaculture: A Growing Problem for Human and Animal Health and for the Environment." Environ Microbiology. May 26, 2006: "In the aquaculture of fish, especially that of salmon and trout, nearly all manipulations undergone by the fish as they are being raised are stressors.... Because these manipulations decrease the effectiveness of the fishes’s immune system to clear up bacterial colonization and infection..., it has become common to increase the use of prophylactic antibiotics. Moreover, hygienic shortcomings in fish raising methods, including increased fish population densities, crowding of farming sites in coastal waters, lack of sanitary barriers and failure to isolate fish farming units with infected animals..., have increased the possibility of rapid spread of infections.”
"WILD SALMON POPULATIONS HAVE BEEN SEVERELY AFFECTED BY LICE SPREAD FROM FISH FARMS"
AA Rosenberg. "Aquaculture: The Price of Lice." Nature. Jan. 2008. 451(7174):23-4: "Wild salmon stocks in Canadian coastal waters are being severely affected by parasites from fish farms. So intense are these infestations that some populations of salmon are at risk of extinction.”
"Parasites Pose Problems Worldwide for Salmon Industry, Prices Surge." Associated Press. Sept.18, 2017: "Farmers worldwide consider sea lice the biggest threat to their industry and say the persistent problem is making the fish more expensive to consumers.”
"MANY FARMED FISH ARE ALSO CARNIVOROUS, MEANING THEY NEED TO BE FED WILD CAUGHT FISH"
RL Naylor, et al. "Effect of Aquaculture on World Fish Supplies." Nature. Jun. 29, 2000; 1017-24. doi: 10.1038/35016500: "Many people look to this growth in aquaculture to relieve pressure on ocean fish stocks, most of which are now fished at or beyond capacity, and to allow wild populations to recover. Production of farmed fish and shellfish does increase world fish supplies. Yet by using increasing amounts of wildcaught fish to feed farmed shrimp and salmon, and even to fortify the feed of herbivorous fish such as carp, some sectors of the aquaculture industry are actually increasing the pressure on ocean fish populations.”
"OUR SPECIES, MODERN HUMANS, HAS BEEN AROUND FOR ABOUT 200,000 YEARS,
AND IT TOOK US ALL THAT TIME TO REACH A POPULATION OF ONE BILLION,
WHICH WE FINALLY DID RELATIVELY RECENTLY IN THE EARLY 1800s"
S Stringer. "The Origin and Evolution of Homo sapiens." Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. Jul. 5, 2016; 371(1698): 20150237. "The date of origin of H. sapiens in this model has also changed in the face of new discoveries and dating work and is now often placed at about 200 ka, with the generally accepted first appearance of ‘anatomically modern humans’ (that is to say fossils that predominantly share the skeletal morphology of extant humans)[.]”
"World Population to Hit Milestone With Birth of 7 Billionth Person." PBS News Hour. Oct. 27, 2011. "It took all of human history up to 1804 for the world's population to reach 1 billion."
"BUT TODAY, [IN] ONLY ABOUT 200 YEARS..., WE'VE MULTIPLIED SEVEN TIMES OVER;
WE'RE NOW MORE THAN 7.5 BILLION HUMANS AND
ON-TRACK TO HIT CLOSE TO 10 BILLION BY THE YEAR 2050"
"World Population Growth: World Population From 10,000 BC to Today." Our World in Data (using data from History Database of the Global Environment (HYDE) and the United Nations) (website last visited Jun. 20, 2020): "What is striking about this chart is of course that almost all of this growth happened just very recently. Historical demographers estimate that around the year 1800 the world population was only around 1 billion people. This implies that on average the population grew very slowly over this long time from 10,000 BCE to 1700 (by 0.04% annually). After 1800 this changed fundamentally: The world population was around 1 billion in the year 1800 and increased 7-fold since then.”
"World Population Projected to Reach 9.8 Billion in 2050, and 11.2 Billion in 2100." United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Jun. 21, 2017: "[After the first billion in 1804,] the next billion came only 100 years later, in 1927. And after that, the rate of growth accelerated, 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion 1974, 5 billion 1987, 6 billion 1999, and now 7 billion. We're adding a billion population every 12 years."
"World Population to Hit Milestone With Birth of 7 Billionth Person." PBS News Hour. Oct. 27, 2011: "The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new United Nations report being launched today."
"EVERY YEAR WE'RE ADDING ABOUT 80 MILLION EXTRA PEOPLE TO THE PLANET,
AND THAT IS THE ABOUT THE POPULATION OF GERMANY"
"World Population to Hit Milestone With Birth of 7 Billionth Person." PBS News Hour. Oct. 27, 2011: "With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline."
"Population, total - Germany." The World Bank (website last visited Jul. 1, 2020): "Country - Germany; Most Recent Year - 2019; Most Recent Value - 83,132,799"
"AT THE PACE WE'RE CURRENTLY GROWING OUR POPULATION, WE NEED TO BE BUILDING 63,000 NEW CLASSROOMS EVERY SINGLE WEEK...IF WANT EVERY CHILD TO HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION"
"World Population Prospects - Data Booklet." United Nations. 2017 Revision: "Today, [global population] is growing by 1.10 per cent per year, yielding an additional 83 million people annually."
Calculation: Assuming an average classroom size of 25 children, using the global average global population growth of 1.5 million per week (83 million annual growth divided by 52 weeks), more than 63,000 additional class rooms are needed every week (i.e., 1,500,000 weekly average growth, divided by 25 average classroom size, equals 63,846 new classrooms needed).
"THE IMPACT OF HUMAN BEINGS ON THE PLANET DOUBLES EVERY SEVENTEEN YEARS;
THAT IS, IF YOU TAKE THE RATE OF POPULATION GROWTH AND ADD TO IT THE RATE OF
ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND PUT THOSE TWO THINGS TOGETHER,
WE MAKE TWICE THE IMPACT ON THE PLANET EVERY SEVENTEEN YEARS"
"World Population Prospects - Data Booklet." United Nations. 2017 Revision: "Today, [global population] is growing by 1.10 per cent per year[.]"
"GDP Growth (annual %)." The World Bank (website last visited Jun. 22, 2020): "World Bank national accounts data, and OECD National Accounts data files" reports 2017 annual global GDP growth at 3.197%.
Calculation: With a 4.297% annual increase in total impact on the planet (i.e., 1.10% rate of population growth plus 3.197% rate of economic growth), the total impact more than doubles every seventeen years (reaching 204.47% total increase).
"TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE WE HAVE TODAY, THE CURRENT ESTIMATE IS
YOU WOULD NEED ONE AND HALF EARTHS TO DO IT;
TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE WE HAVE TODAY AT THE STYLE OF THE AVERAGE AMERICAN,
YOU OWULD NEED FOUR OR FIVE MORE EARTHS"
C McDonald "How Many Earths Do We Need?" BBC News. Jun. 16, 2015: "[A]ccording to the Global Footprint Network, the world's population is currently using not one, but one-and-a-half Earths [and we would need] four Earths...if everyone consumed like an American[.]"
"PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD, SUPPORTING...FAMILY PLANNING SO THAT ALL WOMEN HAVE THE MEANS TO DETERMINE THE NUMBER AND SPACING OF THEIR CHILDREN, ENCOURAGING SMALL FAMILY NORMS, SUPPORTING ADOPTION EFFORTS, INCREASING EDUCATION, ERADICATING POVERTY, AND ABOLISHING HORRID PRACTICES LIKE CHILD MARRIAGES; THESE HUMAN RIGHTS EFFORTS ARE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT IN THEIR OWN RIGHT,
BUT THEY ALSO HAPPEN TO BE SOME OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE
TO HELP SLOW OUR POPULATION GROWTH RATE"
"Population Facts." United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Dec. 2017: "Policy measures to reduce fertility include: raising the minimum legal age at marriage; providing access to reproductive health care, including low cost, safe and effective contraception; integrating family planning and safe motherhood programmes into primary health care systems; and improving female education and employment opportunities."
"Health and Education." Project Drawdown. (website last visited Jun. 20, 2020): "Education lays a foundation for vibrant lives for girls and women, their families, and their communities. It also is one of the most powerful levers available for avoiding emissions by curbing population growth. Women with more years of education have fewer and healthier children, and actively manage their reproductive health.... Honoring the dignity of women and children through family planning is not about governments forcing the birth rate down (or up, through natalist policies). Nor is it about those in rich countries, where emissions are highest, telling people elsewhere to stop having children. When family planning focuses on healthcare provision and meeting women’s expressed needs, empowerment, equality, and well-being are the result; the benefits to the planet are side effects."
L Mazur "Women’s rights are key to slowing population growth." Grist. Oct. 3, 2011: "Nations can raise women’s status by educating girls, by enforcing laws that prohibit child marriage, and by improving women’s access to credit, land, training, and jobs. Where women enjoy these fundamental rights, smaller (and healthier) families become the norm."
J Podesta and TE Wirth. "Women’s Rights Issues are Climate Change Issues." The Washington Post. Jan. 23, 2018: "When we talk about stepping up to address climate change across the world, we rarely think of it in terms of women's rights. But if environmental activists really want to reduce emissions, raise living standards and build a more sustainable future, they cannot overlook the importance of reproductive rights and health.... Too many women in too many places, including the United States, still have unmet demands for access to family-planning resources. Estimates indicate that more than 200 million women want to prevent or delay pregnancy but aren't using effective contraception. Access to reproductive health services can ensure women have more autonomy over their lives and bodies and ultimately help move the world toward greater gender parity."
P Dérer. "The First Population Policies Implemented in Africa: The Case of Tunisia." The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) - Stanford University. Jul. 29, 2019: "As a result of its population policies, including the focused [family planning] program, Tunisia’s contraceptive prevalence grew from 12% to 60% in 23 years, and is the second highest on the continent today (after Morocco). The country’s unmet need for contraception is the lowest in Africa, 10.5% in 2015. The total fertility rate fell from 7.2 children/women at the time of independence to replacement level in the 2000’s.... Indirectly, the improved status of women and the expansion of women’s and men’s education likely contributed substantially to the decline in birth rates."
"EVERY CHILD A COUPLE HAS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES THE PARENTS' CARBON LEGACY"
(shown in the closing sequence at the end of the film)
PA Murtaugha and MG Schlaxb. "Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals." Global Environ Change. Dec. 31, 2008: "The summed emissions of a person’s descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him, may far exceed the lifetime emissions produced by the original parent. Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions."
S Wynes and KA Nicholas. "The Climate Mitigation Gap: Education and Government Recommendations Miss the Most Effective Individual Actions." Environ Research Letters. Jul. 12, 2017: "We have identified four recommended actions which we believe to be especially effective in reducing an individual's greenhouse gas emissions: having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel, and eating a plant-based diet. [Having 'one fewer child' was found to have the biggest impact, for which the authors] relied on a study which quantified future emissions of descendants based on historical rates, based on heredity [see study cited immediately above]. In this approach, half of a child's emissions are assigned to each parent, as well as one quarter of that child's offspring (the grandchildren) and so forth."
"THE IMAGE WE USED...IS FROM A REAL LIFE CRATER IN SIBERIA,
THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN FORMED BY A RECENT METHANE POCKET EXPLOSION
IN AN AREA THAT USED TO BE COVERED BY FROZEN PERMAFROST"
K Moskvitch. "Mysterious Siberian crater attributed to methane." Nature. Jul 31, 2014: "A mystery crater spotted in the frozen Yamal peninsula in Siberia earlier this month was probably caused by methane released as permafrost thawed, researchers in Russia say."
S Yuen "Mysterious Craters Blowing Out of Russia Could Mean Trouble for the Whole Planet." CNBC. Jul 30, 2017: "In northern Siberia, rising temperatures are causing mysterious giant craters — and even more dire consequences could be in store, say climate scientists.The Russian province’s long-frozen ground, called permafrost, is thawing, triggering massive changes to the region’s landscape and ecology."
"THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF METHANE TRAPPED IN FROZEN PARTS OF OUR PLANET IS TRULY ENORMOUS;
THERE'S SEVERAL TIMES MORE METHANE TRAPPED BY ICE THAN THERE IS
IN THE ENTIRE ATMOSPHERE"
KM Walter Anthony. "Geologic Methane Seeps Along Boundaries of Arctic Permafrost Thaw and Melting Glaciers" Nature Geoscience. May 20, 2012: "With a carbon store of over 1,200 Pg [petagram], the Arctic geologic methane reservoir is large when compared with the global atmospheric methane pool of around 5 Pg. As such, the Earth’s climate is sensitive to the escape of even a small fraction of this methane."
"[METHANE IS] AN EXTREMELY POWERFUL GREENHOUSE GAS;
IT'S AT LEAST 20 TIMES MORE POWERFUL THAN CARBON DIOXIDE IN TRAPPING HEAT FROM THE SUN"
"Overview of Greenhouse Gases—Methane Emissions." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (website last visited Jun. 20, 2020): "Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH4 [methane] is 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period."
G Vaidyanathan. "How Bad of a Greenhouse Gas Is Methane?" Scientific American. Dec. 22, 2015: "At issue is the global warming potential (GWP), a number that allows experts to compare methane with its better-known cousin, carbon dioxide. While CO2 persists in the atmosphere for centuries, or even millennia, methane warms the planet on steroids for a decade or two before decaying to CO2. In those short decades [rather than over a 100-year period as noted in the source cited immediately above], methane warms the planet by 86 times as much as CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."
"IF THIS ENORMOUS STORE OF FROZEN METHANE, OR A BIG PART OF IT, IS RELEASED INTO OUR ATMOSPHERE, IT COULD AMPLIFY THE DEGREE AND SPEED OF CLIMATE CHANGE"
"Warming Arctic Permafrost Releasing Large Amounts of Potent Greenhouse Gas" Science Daily / Source: Harvard University. Apr. 15, 2019: "Human-induced climate change is warming [permafrost], melting the ice, and loosening the soil. This may sound like any benign Spring thaw, but the floundering permafrost can cause severe damage: Forests are falling; roads are collapsing; and, in an ironic twist, the warmer soil is releasing even more greenhouse gases, which could exacerbate the effects of climate change."
E Gray. "Unexpected Future Boost of Methane Possible from Arctic Permafrost" NASA. Aug. 20, 2018: "The Arctic landscape stores one of the largest natural reservoirs of organic carbon in the world in its frozen soils. But once thawed, soil microbes in the permafrost can turn that carbon into the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane, which then enter into the atmosphere and contribute to climate warming."
C Welch "Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all." National Geographic. Sept. 2019: "Arctic permafrost isn’t thawing gradually, as scientists once predicted. Geologically speaking, it’s thawing almost overnight. As soils like the ones at Duvanny Yar soften and slump, they’re releasing vestiges of ancient life—and masses of carbon—that have been locked in frozen dirt for millennia. Entering the atmosphere as methane or carbon dioxide, the carbon promises to accelerate climate change, even as humans struggle to curb our fossil fuel emissions."
"IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, WE HAVE RAPIDLY INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF [GREENHOUSE GASES] IN OUR ATMOSPHERE ...THE AMOUNT CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE USED TO BE AROUND 280 PARTS PER MILLION (PPM) FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, UNTIL WE HAD THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, AND THEN IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, LESS THAN 300 YEARS, WE INCREASED THE CONCENTRATION TO OVER 400 PARTS PER MILLION TODAY"
N Jones. "How The World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters." Yale Environment 360. Jan. 26, 2017: "[For] the last 800,000 years, ...ice cores show that CO2 concentrations stayed tight between 180 and 290 ppm, hovering at around 280 ppm for some 10,000 years before the industrial revolution hit.... But as humans kept digging up carbon out of the ground and burning it for fuel, CO2 levels sped faster and faster toward that target. In May 2013, at the time of the usual annual maximum of CO2, the air briefly tipped over the 400 ppm mark for the first time in several million years. In 2014, it stayed above 400 ppm for the whole month of April. By 2015, the annual average was above 400 ppm. And in September 2016, the usual annual low skimmed above 400 ppm for the first time, keeping air concentrations above that symbolic red line all year."
"ACCORDING TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ANIMAL AGRICULTURE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
MORE HUMAN-CAUSED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THAN THE
ENTIRE GLOBAL TRANSPORTATION SECTOR COMBINED"
H Steinfeld, P Gerber, et al. "Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options." United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization. Nov. 2006: "[Livestock] currently amounts to about 18 percent of the global warming effect – an even larger contribution than the transportation sector worldwide. Livestock contribute about 9 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions, but 37 percent of methane and 65 percent of nitrous oxide."
"THE LIVESTOCK SECTOR IS ALSO THE MAJOR DRIVER OF DEFORESTATION IN THE WORLD;
AND TREES ARE AN IMPORTANT CARBON DIOXIDE SINK,
MEANING THEY ABSORB AND SEQUESTER IT OUT OF OUR ATMOSPHERE"
H Steinfeld, P Gerber, et al. "Livestock’s Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options." United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization. Nov. 2006: "Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation.... Expansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America where the greatest amount of deforestation is occurring – 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder."
C Welch. "To curb climate change, we have to suck carbon from the sky. But how?" National Geographic. Jan. 17, 2019: "Replanting trees, on the other hand, could reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases even more. Simply restoring forests already chopped down in Brazil could draw about 1.5 billion metric tons of CO2 out of the air."
"IN ADDITION TO CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES, A MASS GLOBAL SHIFT AWAY FROM ANIMALS FOODS IS URGENTLY IS NEEDED AND WOULD HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AND ALMOST IMMEDIATE IMPACT IN ADDRESSING OUR CLIMATE CRISIS"
"Benefits of Renewable Energy Use." Union of Concerned Scientists. Pub. Jul. 14, 2008, updated Dec. 20, 2017: "[M]ost renewable energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions. Even when including “life cycle” emissions of clean energy (ie, the emissions from each stage of a technology’s life—manufacturing, installation, operation, decommissioning), the global warming emissions associated with renewable energy are minimal."
M Springmann, et al. "Analysis and Valuation of the Health and Climate Change Cobenefits of Dietary Change." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Apr. 12, 2016; 113 (15) 4146-4151: "Transitioning toward more plant-based diets that are in line with standard dietary guidelines could reduce global mortality by 6–10% and food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29–70% compared with a reference scenario in 2050."
M Springmann (lead Oxford University scientist in study cited immediately above). "Going Vegetarian Would Cut Global Food Emissions 'By Two Thirds and Save Millions of Lives." Independent. Dec. 31, 2016: "To seriously fight climate change, more plant-based diets will be needed. Our analysis shows if the world went vegetarian that cut in food-related emissions would rise to 63%. And if everyone turned vegan? A huge 70%."
"IF WE'RE AT THE HIGH OR EVEN MEDIUM [POPULATION] PROJECTION,
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10.5 BILLION PEOPLE BY 2050,
WE WILL CLEARLY FACE A FOOD CRISIS"
"Food shortages could be most critical world issue by mid-century." Texas A&M AgriLife Communications - Science Daily. Apr. 17, 2014. Quoting Dr. Fred Davies, senior science advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development's bureau of food security: "[R]esource limitations will constrain global food systems.... The increases currently projected for crop production from biotechnology, genetics, agronomics and horticulture will not be sufficient to meet food demand..... For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water and energy.... Food issues could become as politically destabilizing by 2050 as energy issues are today.”
"WITH OUR CURRENT POPULATION GROWTH AND THE CURRENT TRENDS OF A
GROWING MIDDLE CLASS WHO ARE CONSUMING MORE ANIMAL FOODS,
WE'LL NEED TO DOUBLE OUR CROP PRODUCTION BY THE YEAR 2050"
"Food Production Must Double by 2050 to Meet Demand from World’s Growing Population, Innovative Strategies Needed to Combat Hunger, Experts Tell Second Committee." United Nations, Sixty-fourth General Assembly, Second Committee, Panel Discussion. Oct. 9, 2009. "Food production must double by 2050 to meet the demand of the world’s growing population[.]”
"FEEDING THE HUMAN POPULATION WITH ANIMAL FOODS IS TREMENDOUSLY INEFFICIENT;
ANIMAL FOODS REQUIRE A LOT MORE LAND, A LOT MORE WATER, A LOT MORE ENERGY,
AS COMPARED TO PRODUCING PLANT FOODS"
"Sustainable Diets: What You Need to Know in 12 Charts." World Resource Institute. Website last visited Jun. 20, 2020: "Beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils. Chicken and pork are more resource-efficient than beef, but still require three times more land and emit three times more greenhouse gas emissions than beans."
A Shepon, et al. "The Opportunity Cost of Animal Based Diets Exceeds All Food Losses." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Apr. 10, 2018: "[A]lthough the characteristic conventional retail-to-consumer food losses are ≈30% for plant and animal products, the opportunity food losses of beef, pork, dairy, poultry, and eggs are 96%, 90%, 75%, 50%, and 40%, respectively. This arises because plant-based replacement diets can produce 20-fold and twofold more nutritionally similar food per cropland than beef and eggs, the most and least resource-intensive animal categories, respectively.... Concurrently replacing all animal-based items in the US diet with plant-based alternatives will add enough food to feed, in full, 350 million additional people, well above the expected benefits of eliminating all supply chain food waste. These results highlight the importance of dietary shifts to improving food availability and security."
J Poore and T. Nemecek. "Reducing Food’s Environmental Impacts Through Producers and Consumers." Journal Science. Jun. 2018; 360 (6392) 987-992: "[T]he impacts of animal products can markedly exceed those of vegetable substitutes..., to such a degree that meat, aquaculture, eggs, and dairy use ~83% of the world’s farmland and contribute 56 to 58% of food’s different emissions, despite providing only 37% of our protein and 18% of our calories.... We find that the impacts of the lowest-impact animal products exceed average impacts of substitute vegetable proteins across GHG emissions, eutrophication, acidification (excluding nuts), and frequently land use."
AY Hoekstra. "The Hidden Water Resource Use Behind Meat and Dairy." Twente Water Centre, University of Twente. Apr. 2012: "When we assume that the average daily portion of animal products is a reasonable mix of beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, we can estimate that 1 kcal of animal product requires roughly 2.5 L of water on average. Products of vegetable origin, on the other hand, require roughly 0.5 L of water/kcal, this time assuming a reasonable mix of cereals, pulses, roots, fruits, and vegetables."
"GLOBALLY ABOUT 36% OF PLANT-BASED CROP PRODUCTION GOES TO FEED ANIMALS, BUT ONLY ABOUT 4% OF THAT IS ACTUALLY RETURNED TO OUR FOOD SYSTEM IN MEAT THAT WE EAT;
IN OTHER WORDS, THERE'S THIS HUGE CONVERSION INEFFICIENCY — WE'RE LOSING ABOUT 90% OF THE CALORIES AS WE GO FROM GRAINS TO MEAT"
ES Cassidy, PC West, JS Gerber and JA Foley. "Redefining Agricultural Yields: From Tonnes to People Nourished per Hectare." IOP Science. Aug. 2013. "Currently, 36% of the calories produced by the world's crops are being used for animal feed...of which 89% is lost, such that only 4% of crop-produced calories are available to humans in the form of animal products.”
"YOU HAVE TO FEED ABOUT 30 CALORIES TO A COW TO GET ONE CALORIE OF EDIBLE MEAT OUT"
As shown in the illustration below, the U.S. invests 719 Pcal feeding cows in order to produce 21 Pcal of beef, resulting in a 3% overall conversion efficiency (or about 34 calories invested in feed for each calorie of beef produced).
"OF ALL THE CALORIES WE INVEST IN RAISING ANIMALS FOR FOOD, WE ONLY RECOVER A FRACTION,
ON AVERAGE ABOUT 12% IN THE FORM OF MEAT, DAIRY AND OTHER ANIMAL PRODUCTS"
ES Cassidy, PC West, JS Gerber and JA Foley. "Redefining Agricultural Yields: From Tonnes to People Nourished per Hectare." IOP Science. Aug. 2013. "Currently,… only 12% of [animal feed crop] calories ultimately contribute to the human diet (as meat and other animal products).”
"WE CAN DRAMATICALLY INCREASE THE AVAILABILITY OF FOOD IN THE WORLD
BY FEEDING OURSELVES WITH THE PLANTS DIRECTLY"
ES Cassidy, PC West, JS Gerber and JA Foley. "Redefining Agricultural Yields: From Tonnes to People Nourished per Hectare." IOP Science. Aug. 2013. "[G]iven the current mix of crop uses, growing food exclusively for direct human consumption could, in principle, increase available food calories by as much as 70%, which could feed an additional 4 billion people (more than the projected 2–3 billion people arriving through population growth).”
A Shepon, et al. "The Opportunity Cost of Animal Based Diets Exceeds All Food Losses." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Apr. 10, 2018: "Concurrently replacing all animal-based items in the US diet with plant-based alternatives will add enough food to feed, in full, 350 million additional people, well above the expected benefits of eliminating all supply chain food waste. These results highlight the importance of dietary shifts to improving food availability and security."
"THE LARGEST ORGANIZATION OF FOOD AND NUTRITION PROFESSIONALS IN THE U.S.,
THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS, HAS LONG HELD THEIR OFFICIAL POSITION THAT BALANCED VEGAN DIETS ARE HEALTHY, NUTRITIONALLY ADEQUATE, AND APPROPRIATE FOR INDIVIDUALS DURING ALL STAGES OF LIFE, INCLUDING PREGNANCY, LACTATION, INFANCY,
OLDER ADULTHOOD AND FOR ATHLETES"
V Melina, WJ Craig and S Levin; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association). "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets." J Am Diet Assoc. Dec. 2016: "It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity.”
"KAISER PERMANENTE, ONE OF THE LARGEST HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS IN THE COUNTY, IS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO MAKE PLANT-BASED DIETS FOR THEIR PATIENTS AND EMPLOYEES"
PJ Tuso, MH Ismail, BP Ha and C Bartolotto. "Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets." Perm J. Spring 2013; 17(2): 61-66: "Further research is needed to find ways to make plant-based diets the new normal for our patients and employees).”
"RECENT CHAIR OF HARVARD'S DEPARTMENT OF NUTRITION, DR. WALTER WILLETT,
RECOMMENDS YOU 'PICK THE BEST PROTEIN PACKAGES BY EMPHASIZING
PLANT SOURCES OF PROTEIN RATHER THAN ANIMAL SOURCES'"
PJ Skerrett and WC Willett. "Essentials of healthy eating: a guide." J Midwifery Womens Health. Nov. - Dec. 2010; 55(6): 492-501: "Pick the best protein packages by emphasizing plant sources of protein rather than animal sources.”
"DR. KIM WILLIAMS, RECENT PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY, VIGOROUSLY RECOMMENDS A PLANT-BASED VEGAN DIET TO BOTH HIS PATIENTS AND PHYSICIANS OVER ALL OTHER DIETS FOR OPTIMUM NUTRITION AND HEALTH"
Rush University Medical Center. "News: Top Cardiologist Preaches Vegan Diet – Kim Williams, MD, to Speak at Veggie Fest." Jul. 18, 2016: "The head of the Division of Cardiology at Rush University Medical Center and immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology, [Dr. Kim] Williams follows a vegan diet.”
A O'Conner. "Advice From a Vegan Cardiologist." New York Times. Aug. 6, 2014: "Dr. Kim A. Williams, the president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, often sees patients who are overweight and struggling with hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. One of the things he advises them to do is to change their diets. Specifically, he tells them to go vegan.”
"THE RECENT OLYMPICS THAT HAPPENED IN RIO, THE ONLY U.S. MALE ATHLETE
WHO QUALIFIED FOR WEIGHTLIFTING FROM THE U.S. WAS VEGAN"
K Kennedy. "The Only American Male Weightlifter to Compete at the Rio Olympics is Vegan." Quartz. Aug. 15, 2016: "A typical weightlifter’s diet is full of animal protein–steaks, chicken, burgers. But being a meat-eater isn’t a prerequisite for becoming a world-class weightlifter. Kendrick Farris, who was the only American to compete in men’s weightlifting at the 2016 Olympics...also happens to be vegan.”
C Jacobson. "Team USA's Only Male Weightlifter Doesn't Care About Your Stereotypes." The Post Game. Aug. 10, 2016: "Farris was the lone American male weightlifter to qualify for the 2016 Games, but that's far from the only thing to make him unique. In a sport dominated by "meathead" stereotypes, Farris bucks the trend altogether: He has a completely vegan diet.”
"SCOTT JUREK, THE [ULTRA-MARATHON] RUNNER WHO BROKE THE RECORD
FOR THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL, IS VEGAN"
K Fox. "Scott Jurek Celebrates a New Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Speed Record." Runners World. Jul. 13, 2015: "Over the past decade, Jurek has amassed one of the greatest ultramarathoning resumes in history. Among his accomplishments: seven consecutive Western States Endurance Runs, two Badwater Ultramarathons, the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance run, and a runner-up finish in the Leadville Trail 100. Despite the cadre of victories, this one stands out.”
L Darby. "The Real-Life Diet of the Vegan Who Can Run Hundreds of Miles, No Problem." GQ Magazine. Oct. 13, 2016: "[F]or almost two decades now, Jurek has been a vegan.... Jurek credits his diet for not only the length of his career—he's 41 now—but also his recovery time and lack of injuries. [Jurek] ran the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in a record-setting 46 days, eight hours and seven minutes. He’s also won the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, the “world’s toughest foot race,” twice; the 153-mile long Spartathlon in Greece three consecutive times; and has taken first place in just about all the ultrarunning world’s most high-profile races.”
"WE GET ALL THE PROTEIN WE NEED FROM PLANTS;
IN FACT, PLANTS CAN ACTUALLY PROVIDE US WITH EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF PROTEIN"
V R Young and PL Pellett. "Plant Proteins in Relation to Human Protein and Amino Acid Nutrition." Am J Clin Nutr. May 1994; 59(5 Suppl): 1203S-1212S: "[C]onsumers do not need to be at all concerned about amino acid imbalances when the dietary amino acid supply is from the plant-food proteins that make up our usual diets. Mixtures of plant proteins can be fully adequate for meeting human requirements. From the standpoint of the composition of a healthful diet, they serve as a desirable vehicle for carrying nitrogen and indispensable amino acids to meet both our needs and wants.”
NS Rizzo, et al. "Nutrient Profiles of Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Dietary Patterns." J Acad Nutr Diet. Dec. 2013; 113(12): 1610–1619: Finding that all dietary groups, including vegetarians and vegans, get on average more protein than they need every day.
From "figure 1" in cited study.
"THE FORMATION OF CHOLESTEROL PLAQUES INSIDE OUR
VESSELS IS UBIQUITOUS ON A WESTERN DIET,
AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH
...AND THESE CHOLESTEROL PLAQUES START FORMING VERY EARLY IN OUR LIVES,
EVEN THOUGH THE ACTUAL HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES
USUALLY DON'T START HAPPENING UNTIL WE HIT MIDDLE AGE"
CA McMahan, et. al. "Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth Risk Scores Are Associated With Early and Advanced Atherosclerosis." Pediatrics . Oct. 2006; 118(4):1447-55: "Atherosclerosis begins to progress from the teen age years in association with risk scores, and progression proceeds dramatically in the third and fourth decades of life.”
JP Strong, et. al. "Prevalence and Extent of Atherosclerosis in Adolescents and Young Adults: Implications for Prevention From the Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth Study." JAMA. Feb 24, 1999: "Atherosclerosis begins in youth. Fatty streaks and clinically significant raised lesions increase rapidly in prevalence and extent during the 15- to 34-year age span. Primary prevention of atherosclerosis, as contrasted with primary prevention of clinically manifest atherosclerotic disease, must begin in childhood or adolescence.”
"Heart Disease Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Last visited June 20, 2020: "Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women... One person dies every 37 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.”
"Top 10 Causes of Death." World Health Organization (WHO) website. Last visited June 20, 2020: "Ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, accounting for a combined 15.2 million deaths in 2016. These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years.”
"AUTOPSIES OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS WHO DIED IN COMBAT IN THE KOREAN WAR,
WITH AN AVERAGE AGE OF 22..., FOUND THAT 77% OF THE SOLDIERS
ALREADY HAD PLAQUES OF CHOLESTEROL IN THEIR ARTERIES"
WF Enos, et. al. "Coronary Disease Among United States Soldiers Killed in Action in Korea." JAMA. 1953; 152(12):1090-1093: "In 77.3% of the hearts, some gross evidence of coronary arteriosclerosis was found. The disease process varied from "fibrous" thickening to large atheromatous plaques causing complete occlusion of one or more of the major vessels[.]”
"WHEN YOU LOOK AT RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS...,
THE ONLY PATTERN OF EATING THAT'S BEEN SHOWN TO REVERSE HEART DISEASE, FOR EXAMPLE,
IS A PLANT-BASED DIET, ONE THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANIMAL PRODUCTS"
D. Ornish and K Williams, et. al. "Data Support that Diet Can Reverse Heart Disease." MedPage Today. Sep. 8, 2017: "In our randomized, controlled trials, we found a 40% average reduction in LDL (i.e., comparable to statins) in patients who were asked to consume a whole foods plant-based diet.... Randomized controlled trials conducted at the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and UCSF documented that patients with moderate to severe coronary heart disease who made these lifestyle changes showed statistically significant and clinically significant reversal of their coronary heart disease and its ischemic manifestations in all measures of coronary anatomy and physiology."
CB Esselstyn. "Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic Through Plant-Based Nutrition." Preventative Cardiology. Autumn 2001; 4(4):171-177: "[A] 44-year-old physician [with a] myocardial infarction [adopted a plant-based diet]. Over the next 32 months, without cholesterol-lowering drugs, he maintained a mean total cholesterol of 89 mg/dL and an LDL of 38 mg/dL. The repeat angiogram 32 months after his infarction showed that the disease was completely reversed."
Figure 1 from the case study:
Coronary angiograms of the distal left anteriordescending artery before (left) and after (right) 32 months of a plant-based diet without cholesterol-lowering medication, showing profound improvement.
"THERE IS ALSO A LOT OF COMPELLING DATA IN THE PUBLISHED LITERATURE THAT POINTS TO
PLANT-BASED DIETS BEING HELPFUL IN THE PREVENTION OF CANCER"
V Melina, WJ Craig and S Levin; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association). "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets." J Am Diet Assoc. Dec. 2016: "Results from the Adventist Health Study-2 revealed that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower overall cancer risk.... Furthermore, a vegan diet appeared to confer a greater protection against overall cancer incidence than any other dietary pattern.... Recently, vegan diets were reported to confer about a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer.... A meta-analysis of seven studies reported vegetarians having an 18% lower overall cancer incidence than nonvegetarians.”
E Giovannucci. "Dietary Influences of 1,25(OH)2 Vitamin D in Relation to Prostate Cancer: A Hypothesis." Endocr Rev. Feb. 1, 2009; 30(1): 51–74: "Diets high in dairy products and meats are related to higher risk of prostate cancer incidence or mortality in most ecologic, case-control, and prospective studies.”
NE Allen, et. al. "Macronutrient Intake and Risk of Urothelial Cell Carcinoma in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition." Int J Cancer. Feb. 1, 2013; 132(3): 635-44: "[A] 3% increase in the consumption of energy intake from animal protein was associated with a 15% higher risk [of bladder cancer] and a 2% increase in energy from plant protein intake was associated with a 23% lower risk[.]”
"BLOOD FROM THOSE EATING A PLANT-BASED DIET INHIBITED CANCER CELL GROWTH BY 70%,
BUT THE BLOOD OF THOSE EATING A REGULAR WESTERN DIET ONLY INHIBITED CANCER CELL GROWTH BY A MERE 9% — SO, THE BLOOD OF THOSE FOLLOWING A PLANT-BASED DIET WAS ALMOST 8 TIMES MORE POWERFUL AT INHIBITING THE GROWTH OF CANCER CELLS"
D Ornish, G Weidner, WR Fair, et.al. "Intensive Lifestyle Changes May Affect the Progression of Prostate Cancer." J Urol. Sep. 2005; 174(3):1065-9: "The growth of LNCaP prostate cancer cells...was inhibited almost 8 times more by serum from the [vegan] experimental than from the [standard diet] control group (70% vs 9%...).”
"ONE OF THE MECHANISMS BY WHICH ANIMAL PROTEIN IS THOUGHT TO INCREASE CANCER RISK
IS SOMETHING CALLED IGF-1 [INSULIN-LIKE GROWTH FACTOR-1]"
TJ Key. "Diet, Insulin-Like Growth factor-1 and Cancer Risk." Proc Nutr Soc. May 3, 2011: "Recent research in prospective studies with biobanks of stored blood samples has shown that the serum concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is positively associated with the risk for both breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. It is also known that circulating IGF-1 concentrations can change in response to nutritional changes including energy and protein restriction, and some studies suggest that, even within well-nourished western populations, men and women with relatively high intakes of protein from dairy products have higher blood levels of IGF-1.”
"ANIMAL FOODS INCREASE OUR LEVELS OF IGF-1"
NE Allen, et. al. "The Associations of Diet With Serum Insulin-Like Growth Factor I and Its Main Binding Proteins in 292 Women Meat-Eaters, Vegetarians, and Vegans." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Nov. 2002; 11(11):1441-8: "[IGF-1] is a polypeptide hormone that stimulates cell proliferation and inhibits cell death. The mean serum IGF-I concentration was 13% lower in 92 vegan women compared with 99 meat-eaters and 101 vegetarians.... These data suggest that a plant-based diet is associated with lower circulating levels of total IGF-I.”
NE Allen, et. al. "Hormones and Diet: Low Insulin-Like Growth factor-I but Normal Bioavailable Androgens in Vegan Men." Br J Cancer. Jul. 2000; 83(1):95-7: "Mean serum insulin-like growth factor-I was 9% lower in 233 vegan men than in 226 meat-eaters and 237 vegetarians.... [And] men who subsequently developed prostate cancer had 8% higher serum IGF-I concentrations than men who remained healthy, suggesting that the 9% difference we observed is large enough to significantly alter prostate cancer risk.”
"THERE IS ALSO A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOME CANCERS AND THE
PROBLEMATIC HORMONAL CONTENT THAT IS FOUND IN MEAT AND IN DAIRY"
H Handa, et. al. "Estrogen Concentrations in Beef and Human Hormone-Dependent Cancers." Ann Oncol. Sep. 2009; 20(9): 1610-1611: "The recent increase of hormone-dependent cancers roughly parallels the increasing consumption of beef in Japan. During the past quarter century, hormone-dependent cancers have risen fivefold: 4 times in breast and ovarian cancer, 8 times in endometrial cancer, and 10 times in prostate cancer. Meanwhile, popularization of the Western diet has resulted in a fivefold multiplication of beef consumption in Japan.”
D Ganmaa and A Sato. "The Possible Role of Female Sex Hormones in Milk From Pregnant Cows in the Development of Breast, Ovarian and Corpus Uteri Cancers." Med Hypotheses. 2005; 65(6):1028-37: "We are particularly concerned about cows’ milk, which contains a considerable quantity of estrogens. [M]odern dairy cows are usually pregnant and continue to lactate during the latter half of pregnancy, when the concentration of estrogens in blood, and hence in milk, increases.”
"EVEN PEDIATRICIANS HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT SEXUAL MATURATION OF PREPUBERTAL CHILDREN COULD BE AFFECTED BY THE ORDINARY INTAKE OF COW MILK"
K Maruyama. "Exposure to Exogenous Estrogen Through Intake of Commercial Milk Produced From Pregnant Cows." Pediatr Int. Feb. 2010; 52(1):33-8: "Sexual maturation of prepubertal children could be affected by the ordinary intake of cow milk.”
"THIS STUDY EXAMINED THE RATE OF FEMALE HORMONE RELATED CANCERS IN 40 COUNTRIES AND FOUND THAT 'MILK PLUS CHEESE MAKE THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO THE INCIDENCE OF
OVARIAN CANCER' AND THAT 'MILK PLUS CHEESE MAKE THE
MOST SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE INCIDENCE OF UTERINE CANCER'"
D Ganmaa and A Sato. "The Possible Role of Female Sex Hormones in Milk From Pregnant Cows in the Development of Breast, Ovarian and Corpus Uteri Cancers." Med Hypotheses. 2005; 65(6):1028-37: "[M]ilk plus cheese make the greatest contribution to the incidence of ovarian cancer [and ] milk plus cheese make the most significant contribution to the incidence of corpus uteri cancer.”
"DAIRY IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE MOST CONSISTENT DIETARY PREDICTORS
FOR PROSTATE CANCER THAT EXISTS IN THE PUBLISHED LITERATURE"
"THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLANT-BASED SOURCES OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
WITHOUT HAVING TO DEAL WITH UNHEALTHY ASPECTS OF FISH"
V Melina, WJ Craig and S Levin; Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association). "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets." J Am Diet Assoc. Dec. 2016: "The most concentrated plant sources of n-3 fatty acids are seeds (flax, chia, camelina, canola, and hemp), walnuts, and their oils.”
L Van Cauwenberghe and CR Janssen. "Microplastics in Bivalves Cultured for Human Consumption." Environ Pollut. Oct. 2014; 193:65-70: "The annual dietary exposure of European consumers can be up to 11,000 microplastics[.]”
"Global Mercury Hotspots: New Evidence Reveals Mercury Contamination Regularly Exceeds Health Advisory Levels in Humans and Fish Worldwide." Biodiversity Research Institute and IPEN. Jan. 9, 2013: "A high percentage (84%) of the fish sampled from around the world contained mercury concentrations that exceed fish consumption guidelines based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) reference dose for mercury exposure in humans.”