I'm a bit of a documentary nerd. I absolutely love documentaries - usually the ones about food, the climate, discovery, our societal impacts at home and around the world, and scientific research.
Most of my documentaries are watched on Netflix and through CBC. I also try to read and educate myself on these topics. Now, I am not a scientist, nor am I a doctor. I did not spend years learning research methods, and I always have to look up how to properly cite something.
What I do know, as a truth, is that we are part of a whole system.
The scientific method is amazing and has been used for incredible advances; however, the scientific method is reductionist and, as such, does not lend itself well to drawing definitive conclusions about the Whole.
When it comes to nutrition and the human body, the whole system is more complicated than we will ever fully understand (and I'm ok with that!). The scientific method will never give us irrefutable results about the whole system of the human body. It is a great tool and research needs to be as true as possible; however, the application to the human system may or may not be fully understood by the research.
The main question is: is this result doing more harm than good or more good than harm?
For example, a whole foods, plant-based diet (and when I say "diet" I mean a consistent way of eating for your whole life). To me, eating in this manner is reflected positively in science and has been studied enough to draw a reasonable conclusion that it does way more good than harm.
I am still furious about the documentary I recently watched on CBC by Dr. Giles Yeo. He was very clearly out to prove a point, not present a thoughtful dialogue about the topic of "clean eating".
WFPB/Vegetarian/Vegan eating suffers from internal division in addition to external questioning. Frankly, I've had enough of reductionist beliefs in this field!
The bottom line is this: while eating the current Western Diet, we are less healthy, more obese, and nutrient deficient. When we eat a diet that focuses on whole, plant-based foods, we are healthier, fitter, and receive an easy majority of our required nutrients.
When it comes to our impact on the Earth and climate, it's a very similar question: are we doing more harm or is the incremental step better than no step at all?
No, one thing caused the situation we are currently in. The Earth naturally goes through heating and cooling cycles; and, we have more people on the planet than ever before, we burn fossil fuels, we use plastic, we cut down the rain forests, we feed and eat livestock, and everything else!
Here's the thing, we are where we are. We don't know if we will be able to get ourselves out of it. We don't know what's going on with the whole system. What we do know is that the Earth is hotter than it's ever been before and the difference between then and now is us.
It's not about reversing climate change over night (although that is needed). It's not about turning everything off. It's not about ending life as we know it tomorrow.
It's about taking many steps in the right direction. It's about looking at the system as a whole. It's about understanding that we, and our actions (or lack of action) makes a difference now and in the future.
Nutrition, the climate, even daily habits, it's about the whole system.
Are you doing more or less harm through your actions?