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Episode 189
The Doctor's Farmacy

Regeneration: They Key To Healing Humans And The Planet

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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Most people are overwhelmed when it comes to the thought of climate change, which is preventing us from taking action. An estimated 92% of people are disengaged from the topic and feel they don’t know what to do. But today, I want to share some good news with you that will leave you feeling hopeful instead of hopeless in terms of saving our planet. 

Just like we use Functional Medicine to get to the root cause of disease in our bodies, we can come up with an actionable, results-oriented plan when we look at the root cause of our climate crisis. On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was thrilled to sit down with Paul Hawken to talk about his framework for healing the planet in a way that dramatically changes the outlook of our world for future generations. 

Paul and I dive into the complex topic of climate change by looking at what it means to move from a destructive, extractive relationship with the planet to one that is instead regenerative. The flooding, burning, and other extreme weather events we see are devastating, but they have served one purpose—they’ve taken climate change from a concept to an experience, hopefully making it apparent to more people how imperative it is to take action right now. 

You might be surprised to learn that climate scientists actually have some good news to share about the potential for us to reverse climate change. By restoring critical areas of our environment to drawdown 9% more carbon, we can offset all the excess carbon in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. Bump that up to 14% drawdown, and we would handle future carbon emissions between now and 2050 and set the global stage for continued improvements. But it won’t happen on its own; we have to take action. Paul and I discuss how to encourage people to do that and how many of the solutions would create meaningful jobs and other economic benefits. 

The food system is the single biggest cause of global warming, soil loss, chemical poisoning, and destruction of rainforests and oceans. A regenerative food system would reverse these assaults on our environment and climate while reversing the chronic disease epidemic in the process and providing additional benefits to the economy. We talk about some examples of that paradigm shift that are already providing us with encouraging data. 

By 2030, we could create engagement, action, and noticeable results to avoid the worst of global warming. I hope you’ll tune in to learn how.

This episode is brought to you by ButcherBox, BiOptimizers, and Paleovalley.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Here are more of the details from our interview (audio):

  1. Reframing the climate crisis from a focus on the problem to a focus on solutions and regeneration
    (8:00)
  2. The current reality, speed, and impact of the climate crisis
    (14:29)
  3. Solutions to cut energy emissions by 50% by 2028
    (22:23)
  4. What you can do in your own life to support the regeneration of our climate
    (31:30)
  5. The role that governments and corporations are playing to promote solutions to the climate crisis at scale across the world
    (40:07)
  6. Transforming our food and agricultural systems for regeneration of the climate
    (50:00)
  7. Regeneration of human society and natural environments
    (1:00:32)
  8. The economics of regeneration and regenerative practices
    (1:03:57)
  9. Why the climate problem is not a science problem but a human problem
    (1:19:09)
  10. Ending the climate crisis in one generation
    (1:27:17)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken starts ecological businesses, writes about nature and commerce, and consults with heads of state and CEOs on climatic, economic, and ecological regeneration. He has appeared on numerous media including the Today Show, Talk of the Nation, Bill Maher, CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose, and others, and his work has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, Forbes, and Business Week. He has written eight books, including five national and New York Times bestsellers: Growing a Business, The Next Economy, The Ecology of Commerce, Blessed Unrest, and Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

He is the founder of Project Drawdown, which worked with over two hundred scholars, students, scientists, researchers, and activists to map, measure, and model the one hundred most substantive solutions that can cumulatively reverse global warming. He is the founder of Regeneration.org, and his latest work, Regeneration, Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, was just released.

 

Show Notes

  1. Get a copy of Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation here
  2. Learn more about Regeneration
  3. Learn more about Regeneration on Facebook
  4. Learn more about Regeneration on Instagram
  5. Learn more about Regeneration on LinkedIn

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Paul Hawken:
The body’s always giving us feedback, but the feedback goes right back to the food system, right back to agriculture, right back to soil, right back to this profound misunderstanding of our relationship as a species to the living world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman and that’s pharmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And if you’re worried about the state of the world, about the state of our health, about climate, about inequity, well, this podcast is probably going to be one of the most important ones you’re going to listen to in the Doctor’s Farmacy, because it’s going to address all of these with a concept that I think is hopeful in a world that feels hopeless. And that is regeneration. And our guest today is my friend and an icon in the world of activism, climate change movement, and just thinking differently about how to solve our problems, Paul Hawken. He’s an environmentalist, an entrepreneur, an author. He’s dedicated his life to environmental sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. He’s one of the environmental movement’s leading voices and a pioneering architect of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He focused on so many things throughout his career. He’s written about all of these issues, he’s consulted with heads of state and CEOs in economic development, industrial ecology, environmental policy. And one of the most important things I think he’s done is create something called Project Drawdown. He’s the founder of Project Drawdown. It’s a nonprofit dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed. And this organization maps and models the scaling of a hundred real technical, social, and ecological solutions to global warming.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s just an extraordinary guy. And the book you should definitely get is Drawdown, the Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, because no one else had ever proposed a plan. And today we’re going to talk about his new book, Regeneration, Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, and it will be released September 21, and I think this is going to be one of the most pivotal books of our time, because it looks at the global problems we have from healthcare to climate to the environment, the economy, to social inequities, and it links them all together with a continuous narrative that talks about how do we regenerate? How do we heal? How do we bring life back? And that is why I’m so excited to welcome Paul on the Doctor’s Farmacy. Hi Paul.

Paul Hawken:
Hey Mark. Thanks so much. I mean, I listen to a lot of your podcasts and I think, man, he does the best bios of any podcast. It was like if my mother was alive, I’d say, “Listen to this, Mom.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Listen to that. Well, Paul, I took a look at Regeneration and it’s just a gorgeous book. It’s so deep and easy to read, but practical and smart, and what really struck me about it was that I’ve read a lot of books on climate and an uninhabitable earth, We Are the Weather and all these books, and there’s a little bit of depression I get after reading those books because they’re naming the problem and they’re outlining the crises we’re facing that are of a massive scale that we haven’t really faced as a human species in our time and maybe ever.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And your book is quite different. It’s a hopeful book. It talks about solutions and yes it names the problems, but it also talks about what we can do in real ways to actually transform our world from one that’s pretty hopeless to one that’s hopeful. From one that’s instructive and extractive to one that’s regenerative. So I just really applaud this book, Paul, and I’m so grateful you wrote it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Tell us why you feel like this framework of regeneration is the right framework to think about solving our problems with, because a lot of people are talking about climate mitigation and combating climate change and fighting global warming, and it just seems like a negative framework. Yours is a very positive, hopeful framework.

Paul Hawken:
Yeah, you nailed it actually. I mean, how many people wake up in the morning say I can’t wait to go out and mitigate? Or I can’t wait to have a net zero world, whatever that means. I know what it means, of course, but again, it’s sort of a nothing burger if there ever was one in terms of language and combating and fighting and tackling, all these verbs that we use basically disempower us. They make us feel like, well, I hope they do it, or the war metaphors, the sports metaphors, and they are negative.

Paul Hawken:
And the problem, the way I look at it is the science is extraordinary, climate scientists are extraordinary, climate communication by scientists has been sort of inept in the sense that it has emphasized the nature of the problem, the speed at which or the rate at which the problem is progressing and growing and enlarging, predictions that are apocalyptic or nearly there. And all of that really numbs people out. And my way of thinking about it, Mark, is like got the science, love it. Thank you. Great, great science. Now, what are we going to do?

Paul Hawken:
Because basically obsessing about it, first of all, does nothing. Actually it does something, it takes you out of the game and it ruins your life or you then do what most people do, which is to block it out. You just block it out. And so there’s an interesting number is that we’re facing, as you said, the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced, civilization has ever faced, maybe ever will face, I don’t know, in the future. And 98% of the world is disengaged, more than 98% don’t do anything at all. And even of the 40%, 50% in developed countries or other countries, so-called developed countries that are aware of it and understand the anthropogenic influence on climate and the cause and feel empathy and sympathy don’t do anything. They think that watching a documentary on Netflix about it is doing something. I mean, they don’t-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s hard to know what to do.

Paul Hawken:
Well, they feel empathy. Oh yeah, this is terrible. Why? But they don’t actually do anything. And so the question is why? Really and so that’s the question I answered. And I realized that the word, whether it’s sustainability or whether frankly drawdown or whether it’s net zero or whether… these words are not motivating words and regeneration is something that is innate to human beings [crosstalk 00:07:19]. We already do it. We do it every day. Our 30 trillion cells are regenerating every nanosecond or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Paul Hawken:
Whether it’s our babies, our children, our pets, our garden, our friendships, in so many ways every day we embody and express regeneration, which is that we nurture life. And the way I define regeneration is putting life at the center of every act and decision, that’s what regeneration is.

Paul Hawken:
And what I wanted to do is to take away maybe this sort of polarizing way people see climate, which is I hope governments get their act together, the corporations do it. And at the same time you’re being told what you can do, eat less meat or use cold water in the washing machine or ride a bike and all these things. And unless you have an IQ less than room temperature you know that this is insufficient to the task at hand to correct. I mean they’re good things to do and you want to do them, but what we’ve done is-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s necessary, but not sufficient.

Paul Hawken:
Yeah. We’ve individuated the person and the person feels actually even more pessimistic in a way because they know it’s not sufficient. And so regeneration is about, I mean, this sounds like a cliche, but bringing us together, reconnecting all the broken strands in the society and we’ve broken our relationships between each other, humans to humans, humans to nature, and we’ve completely fragmented and broken the connections between nature itself. And so regeneration is a celebration of what we have as an innate impulse to be alive.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So true. And we’ve seen with COVID what’s happened as humans have sequestered inside, the world came back to life and nature reclaimed itself. Oceans cleaned themselves, rivers cleaned themselves, wildlife populations returned. I mean, just such a short time.

Paul Hawken:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Maybe it’s us. Maybe it’s us.

Paul Hawken:
Maybe. Well, one way to look at it is nature never makes a mistake.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Paul Hawken:
We do. Yeah, it’s us. So it makes it very clear. So, okay nature. Even extreme weather and the way things are getting more profound, that’s not a mistake. Climate change is sort of… stopping climate change is kind of again a misnomer in the sense that climate changes every nanosecond, it’s going to change all the time. It’s part of our complex physical biochemistry, biochemical system that produces our life and food and water and all these wonderful things and so forth. So we don’t want to stop climate change, what we want to do is address the cause of climate volatility and disruption and [inaudible 00:10:21] which is what’s happening when you get warming and so forth. That’s what we want to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s really striking. And I want to get into the solutions and the regeneration and the ideas, but I think it’s important to paint a picture a little bit of where we are. And as we’re recording this, we’ve just been hearing in the news about once in a thousand year floods in Europe and floods in China and temperatures of 114 degrees in Oregon for God’s sake. Oregon’s cold all the time. It’s like… This is mind boggling.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So can you just paint a little bit of a picture for everybody about the state of affairs? It seems to be getting worse at a rapid rate and faster than we all sort of imagined. How is this affecting us? And how fast is this really going and what’s happening?

Paul Hawken:
Yeah. It’s a very, very good question. I think it’s important to state that climate scientists are agog as well. In other words, it’s not like, oh yeah. I mean, they’re like, of course, this is what we told you. What climate science has done very well, and it goes back 30 years, is predict the rate of temperature increase. That is the rate of warming. It’s just spot on really given business as usual and increasing amounts of greenhouse gas emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and the way we use or abuse our land. That was pretty well known.

Paul Hawken:
I think what scientists are surprised about, and I think most of the world is too, at the impact of that warming. I think that’s where there was a disconnect going back five, 10, 15, 20 years. I don’t think any climate scientists thought that we would be seeing the impacts we’re seeing now or seeing them as soon as they are occurring. And this goes back to your expertise as a doctor. I mean the climate, the atmosphere, the earth is a complex adaptive system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Paul Hawken:
And it’s not linear and therefore, when you get change it can be almost [inaudible 00:12:37]. It can be highly discontinuous from what it was a day, a week, a year before. And so we don’t know where we’re going. I call it terra nova, which is we’re going to the new earth. And the interesting thing about, and I would say this, and that is that what we are seeing, however, if there’s a plus to the extreme weather, the temperature, the flooding, the burning, it is that climate and global warming are changing from a concept to an experience.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Paul Hawken:
And so I believe that the climate movement, however you want to define that, I just mean that climate action really, is going to become the biggest movement in human history because of the weather. So the question is when and how and what are we going to do? How do we organize ourselves around that? There’s no question to me that it will be now that also portends social breakdown. My biggest concern really is people feeling, experiencing it in such a way that it just upends their lives. And we’ve seen that already with migration. migration is going to increase. Nobody wants to leave their home. So a migrant isn’t somebody who says, “Hey, I’m out of here.” They leave their home because they can’t get food, they can’t get work or their home is gone or whatever.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The UN estimates that within a decade or two, we’re going to see up to 200 million climate refugees because of weather or because of drought, because of lack of food, because of political instability as a result of climate change. That’s staggering. I mean, you think of Syria, there was a million refugees because of drought and famine. That destabilized Europe in a profound way. Think about 200 million, or maybe even a billion in the [inaudible 00:14:43] which is staggering to think about.

Paul Hawken:
There’s going to be internal migration in the United States.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Paul Hawken:
I mean, we may not call it migration, but the Southwest will be emptied. I don’t think there’s any question about that and they’re going to want to move north. Where in the north? And if the West dries out the way it is right now, that’s a fair question as to how far north and where is there jobs, land, water, food, all those kind of things? So yeah. The future we face is highly unusual and unpredictable, and all the more reason to basically act, do something, as opposed to sort of wallow in it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So there was projections that by the end of the century it would be bad. But now it seems as though this is an accelerating process, that once these cycles of change happen, there’s these feed forward cycles that accelerate, such as loss of peat or the forest fires, which you’re releasing carbon from the forest fires but you’re also losing the forest so you’re having a double whammy and you get these feed forward cycles that accelerate the pace such that it seems like it’s happening a lot faster than we thought. Is that true?

Paul Hawken:
It is. But there actually is an element of good news from climate scientists, which I want to share with you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Tell us, tell us.

Paul Hawken:
Well, the scientific consensus for decades, as far as I know, has been that even if our emissions stopped, that is to say we stopped emitting and the amount of carbon or carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leveled off, that warming would continue for decades if not centuries. In other words, the cat was out of the bag sort of way of looking at it.

Paul Hawken:
And in December of 2020, Dr. Joeri Rogelj, who is a lead author of the Sixth Assessment of the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change. He’s from the Grantham Institute, said, and I quote, “It’s our best understanding that if we bring carbon dioxide emissions down to net zero, the warming will level off and climate will stabilize within a decade or two. There’ll be very little or no additional warming, and our best estimate is zero additional warming.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How did that change? Because it seems like it contradicts a lot of our previous understanding.

Paul Hawken:
It does. I don’t know. I don’t know the prior science and this science. What assumptions underlie the prior science which is warming is going to keep going regardless of whether emissions stop and that is the big change. And it’s been backed up by Michael Mann and other scientists say, “Yep. This is what we know now.” And other scientists say, “Yep, this is what we know now.”

Paul Hawken:
So that should give us an incentive and motivator to say or to act in a way that is rigorous and comprehensive now, because we actually have a goal that is achievable. That is to say, we can achieve net zero. We can actually start drawing down the emissions, drawing down carbon dioxide and know that there will be, if you’re young anyway, there will be within your lifetime a shift back to a more stable climate. Now what happens in the interim? I don’t know. That’s a good question.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But you know when you look at this, the UN report, they’re really talking about this massive cascade of destruction that’s going to happen if we increase the temperature instead up to 1.5 which is already terrible to two degrees. It’s only something that’s a half degree Celsius, but there are real clear actions we need to take to avoid that half a degree. And what regeneration does is it really clearly maps out the research that can cut the energy emissions in half by 2028. And by using things like agriculture and the food system and forest that actually we can make the earth a carbon sink instead of a source of emissions by 2027. That’s only six years away. How do we get that? What are those actions that we need to really stop this forward trajectory?

Paul Hawken:
Well, one thing, I mean, the climate scientists started to turn to what they call nature-based solutions, which I kind of find a humorous phrase. The whole darn thing is nature. It’s called planet earth.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul Hawken:
And I think the climate movement for years has been very technical, very much about renewable energy, which totally makes sense, 74% or 75% of our greenhouse gas emissions are for the combustion of coal, gas, and oil. So it made total sense.

Paul Hawken:
But at the same time, even when I created Drawdown four years ago, I mean people talked about regenerative agriculture or the soil health and things like that, were dismissed by many climate scientists as sort of a children’s crusade. That has been sort of a radical shift in the last four or five years, and so now there is an acceptance that nature exists. I’m not trying to make fun of the past so much as I’m saying yeah.

Paul Hawken:
And it is getting in alignment with biology, with nature is what the earth is really teaching us, and if we do that so many good things happen and no bad things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Paul Hawken:
Whether it’s our oceans or forests or grasslands or wetlands, it’s like no matter where we do it, if we do that the benefits are cascading and the detriments are nonexistent. And so this awareness and this understanding can be sort of summarized in a different way. So let me give you a framework of optimism as opposed to a framework of oh, we’re screwed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Paul Hawken:
The science, I got it and so forth. Here is the thing. So in our terrestrial systems, there are 3300 billion tons of C, carbon, not carbon dioxide, carbon. That’s about four times more, almost exactly four times as much carbon that’s in the atmosphere. So there’s two ways to look at that. If we continue to degrade our living systems, our forest, our wetlands, our seagrass. I mean, if we continue to do that to our forests, etc, then as they die, those ecosystems, they emit carbon. So if we continue to do that at the rate we’re doing it, our PPM will go up from 419 to 519 just from land degradation alone.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So parts per million of carbon dioxide you mean in the atmosphere.

Paul Hawken:
Yes, and carbon dioxide, thank you. But let’s flip it. So if we restore… if we increase the amount of carbon by restoring our three billion hectares of degraded land, our existing forests, our grasslands, our wetlands, our mangroves, our tidal sea marshes, etc, if we increase the amount of carbon by 9%, 9%, we will offset all the emissions since the Industrial Revolution.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Paul Hawken:
We will draw them down. Now, the fact is there’s going to be more emissions between now and 2050 let’s say, so if we increase the content of carbon in our terrestrial systems by 14%, we will basically have not only offset those industrial emissions and the new ones that are coming forth, but we will be at the outset of drawdown and we will continue to see greenhouse gas emissions go down to a sustainable level in terms of climatic stability.

Paul Hawken:
So if you can imagine that you’re in Massachusetts, you can look out, you can see a forest, you can see trees, and you can imagine, can I increase the amount of natural nature activity by 9%? Yeah, sure. Can we do that all around the world? Absolutely. And does it create employment for people? Absolutely. Is it meaningful employment? Yes. It gives people a sense of purpose and meaning and involvement. It is what the world needs. So we really need to reframe the situation, not to ignore the science but so much as to understand that the science is bumming us out and we can’t be bummed out. If we’re going to act, we need to act with certainly the acceptance of the science, but not the inevitability.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. That’s very true. And I think that the scale of the problem is just so overwhelming for people and it’s been so abstract, but it’s becoming less abstract as we see these changes that are happening in our backyard, in America, in developed countries, not just in developing countries. And what we’re requiring is a systems approach to think about this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s very much like functional medicine. The body’s a complex adaptive system and we need to create balance and figure out how to regenerate health. It’s the science of health, is what functional medicine is. And what you’re really mapping out with the book Regeneration is-
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:25:04]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… This is what functional medicine is. And what you’re really mapping out with the book, Regeneration, is the science of regenerating our entire ecosystem and the people that live on it and doing it in a way that creates all these secondary benefits of equity and justice and dignity and biodiversity, and obviously drawing down carbon and climate reversal and improving health. So to me, that’s what regeneration is. And it’s such a powerful idea.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The challenge that I see is when we start talking about these things, it’s a little overwhelming. And I think that one of the beautiful things about the book is that it breaks it down into really bite-size chunks and looks at all the areas and solutions and things that we should be thinking about. But it does in a way that creates, at the end of the book, particularly this beautiful guide on how to create action and connection.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And in the book, you talk about all the areas we need to focus on. It’s not just our food and food systems or forest. It’s our oceans, it’s the forest, it’s our wilderness, it’s how do we re-imagine our approach to land management, to humans and people, to urban environments, to our food system, to energy production, industry. And how do we put all those threads together so that we create a different world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The challenge for me when thinking about this is that a lot of the things that you’re proposing are science-based, they’re common sense or they make sense. And yet, there seems to be a lack of political will and inertia. I was speaking with John Kerry the other day about his role in climate. And he’s like, if for example, China doesn’t want to step up and do it, it’s going to be a problem because they’re one of the biggest emitters. We are too, but they also are. And there’s just a resistance to these kinds of scale of change that has to happen and the speed that needs to happen at. And I know you’re hoping that the book will catalyze that, but how do you see us taking this concept and scaling it up into policy, into business innovation, into transformations in our food systems and policy, even in our political choices.

Paul Hawken:
The end of the book is called action and connection, but really it’s a wormhole to the website, which won’t be up until September 14th, when the book comes out.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s what? What is the website?

Paul Hawken:
Regeneration.org.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Paul Hawken:
Simple. What I noticed after I got published and I gave 128 talks or something like that was inevitably and invariably actually, people raised their hands and said, “What can I do?” Actually, I said earlier that 98% of people aren’t engaged, even though many of them may be sympathetic. But actually, if you really ask people, they literally do not know what to do. And yes, they can change their or this or that and so forth. And you’re also quite right. This is functional medicine for the earth. It’s absolutely the same as what you and your colleagues are doing with respect to the human body. Basically, as my wife says, we’re mostly bacteria learning to be human. And now we have to be humans learning to be earthlings, to live on this planet. Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure.

Paul Hawken:
So what we have in the what to do section is not like these are the top 10 things you can do and check off your list. One of the things that you want to do to light you up, to really turn you on, that are fascinating, that you can get engaged in. And that’s what you should be doing. So that’s why we don’t, in a sense, give a hierarchy of what it is that you should do. If you’re not doing something, you can be sure somebody else is. Don’t worry about that. Where are you going to be most effective is where you’re lit up and where you’re engaged and learning and curious. You wouldn’t be the doctor you are today if you weren’t extremely curious. And you still are. Okay, so we all are that way, but just not in a way that’s prescribed to us by the climate movement or climate science and so forth.

Paul Hawken:
So what we have in the website is a complete thing. It’s like clothing is eight to 10% of global emissions., It is the industry.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Clothing?

Paul Hawken:
Yes. Yeah. You want to do something about it? You go to the website and it’ll tell you what you can do as an individual, what you can do as a school, as a college, as a company, as a city, who are the players, the good players, who are the ones that are really, fashion companies that are incentivizing our teenagers, our young people, to change their clothing every few weeks. And we have one, for example, on the boreal forest. And again, the boreal forest is the greatest stock of carbon in the world in Canada, it goes across Scandinavian and Russia.

Paul Hawken:
But in Canada, they’re mountain top clearing, they have the tar sands, they’re cutting down virgin ancient timber to make toilet paper for Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark and so forth. And so it says here, the CEOs, that’s their name, here’s their email, you can do this. So here’s the influencers. Here’s the NGOs that are kicking ass. You can get involved with them, you can support them. Here are the great videos and books on this thing. Here are the Native Americans, First Nations up there, who are really taking charge of their traditional tribal lands and so forth. So you can look at it and say, “Oh man, okay.” And here’s the Washington Post and The New York Times and my publisher who buys paper from the same companies that are trashing the boreal forest. So you can have just a whole menu of how to get involved and what to do and how to be effective, and also to influence the policymakers, what John Kerry was talking about.

Paul Hawken:
That is to say, here are the policies that are up there. Here are the people who were working on those policies. California has a law, which is being rabidly opposed by Canada that says it cannot buy paper products unless they have come from lands where the tribal and the traditional owners of the land have approved of that logging and the paper products. And that’s going back and forth in the legislature. So that’s what we’re trying to do, Mark, is actually get people excited about all the possibilities and the beauty of nature of this earth and the complexity in the best sense of the word, and then find a place where you want to make a difference.

Paul Hawken:
And to understand that you’re not an individual, that individual does not exist. We all have agency. And when you start to connect to the different people who are involved, or you get involved with, you get other people involved with you, your classmates, your school, your company, your colleagues, your neighborhood, your family, that’s who you are. That’s who we are. The individual is just a delusion. Our mind, as soon as we wake up in the morning, but in actual fact, we are powerful in ways which you don’t understand. And the most important thing you can do actually is local, where you live, the people you know, the ecosystems that you interact with, the municipalities that you vote within, et cetera. This is where you can make the biggest impact and you can watch the government waffle and be corrupt for sure. And you can listen to all the things you should do about recycling, for sure. But where you’re effective in is right where you are.

Paul Hawken:
And in this sense, it’s exactly the same as the human body. Who is in charge? No one is in charge of the human body. You’re in charge of what you drink, eat, smoke, and think, and exercise. But you’re not in charge of the human body and we’re not in charge of the earth. And so when you understand that the power to make reasonable, informed and substantive action rests within your network, within agency, within your place, then you can sort of let go of some of the grief or stress that you carry about what’s not happening and focus on what is, or what can be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Paul, this is tremendous. And I think that what you’re calling on is all of us to show up in the small or big ways that we can in our own lives and our own choices and our own purchases and the things we do in our home, our kitchen and our workplaces, with our families, really, this is the key message. And I think it’s important for us to all think about how we can contribute. But I want to push back a little bit and say, even if all us humans who weren’t driving policy or running big corporations changed, would it make enough of a difference, or do we need to pull in business and government in order to actually solve the problem? Because I don’t know the answer, but I think I do. I want to hear your perspective.

Paul Hawken:
I am not excluding business and government whatsoever. I am saying we need it all. I’m just saying is that it’s really middle out, there’s a big middle that’s missing. That’s the 98% of people who are disengaged. Governments and corporations are engaged. The slogan of the biggest food company in the world, Nestle, is generation regeneration. Okay? And they’re serious. They have 600,000 farms in Africa and South America. And I say they have them. They don’t have them. These are small holders, but they buy from them. And they have relationships that sometimes go back five generations. And they’re working together to convert to regenerative agriculture or agroforestry, it depends. And for very practical reasons, for the farmers, for them and so forth. So you’re seeing substantive action occur at a corporate level.

Paul Hawken:
I just don’t want people to think, “Well, I hope they do it,” because you are they as well. That’s what I’m trying to emphasize. So I think the pushback is right. I do work with corporations and I’ll work with anybody who wants to make a change. I’m not opposed to that at all. We’re in this together and I think that when we act that way. But I just think that when I say what to do in the website, that includes influencing our corporations. We just found out that $3.3 trillion of subsidies were given to fossil fuel companies by the G20 in the last five years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow. Why do they need all that? They tend to make enough money on their own.

Paul Hawken:
And banks invested $3.6 trillion since the Paris Agreement. So there’s almost $7 trillion has gone to coal, gas and oil. Well, you want to find out who did it? Well, it’s Chase, it’s Wells Fargo, it’s Bank of America. Look at your credit cards, get rid of them. Write to them and say, “I’m out of here.” If you’re not going to bank in a way that protects and preserves and restores the world, I’m going to go to who does. And so you have a FinTech arising, basically which [inaudible 00:37:34] a friend, a mutual friend of ours with good money. And so many of these companies are rising that actually disintermediate the existing structure. So those are things you can do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, that’s right. It’s beautiful. I think one of the concepts you share in the book, and we’ll get back into some of the beautiful aspects of how to regenerate because I think it’s important to talk about that specifically. But you talk about a set of principles, a compass that creates a checklist for us to think about what our actions do, whether we’re individuals or businesses or governments or philanthropists or anybody. And I just got to go through them because they’re really brilliant. They make you stop and think, does this action create more life or reduce it? Does it heal the future or steal the future? Does it enhance human wellbeing or diminish it? Does it prevent disease or profit from it? Does it create livelihoods or illuminate them? Does it restore land or degrade it? Does it increase global warming or decrease it?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Does it serve human needs or manufacture human wants? That’s a big one. Does it reduce poverty or expand it? Does it promote fundamental human rights or deny them? Does it provide workers with dignity or demean them? And in short, is the activity extractive or regenerative? And those are beautiful set of things to think about as we look at our choices and our actions every day, whether you’re in government, whether you’re a business leader, whether you’re an individual, these are the principles that are going to help turn things around. But they’re a moral compass that exists in an often amoral business world, and it seems like an increasingly amoral political world. I worry about how we get the right people who have the biggest levers to drive the changes and make the decisions from that moral compass. How do you see that happening?

Paul Hawken:
I have no idea.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay.

Paul Hawken:
Humans are very interesting. I would go back to something you said earlier. We are not well human beings. We’re not healthy, which is wholethy. We’re not wholethy, we’re not healthy. We have been basically exploited by big food and big ag. And big food has basically hijacked our taste buds, which are there for a reason. And there are developed over tens of thousands of years to help us sort out what to eat and what not the why and when. And that’s all been hijacked. And so as you know better than I, and so for the 70% of diseases, metabolic disease caused by what we eat and the food system.

Paul Hawken:
And the food system itself, as you also well know, and I don’t want to be telling you what you know but to listeners and so forth, is highly inflammatory. And you think, okay, inflammation is where in the cell is where all disease starts. But if you look at the world as a whole, it’s inflamed. It’s inflammatory. The analogy is perfect. Why do human beings act so crazy? Why are they so divided? Why are they so willing to be diluted? Because actually their brains are inflamed, their nervous system is inflamed. They feel crappy about themselves. They’re depressed. They’re trying to cover up their depression or their sadness with substances, with alcohol, with addictions, with video, with pornography, with God knows what and so forth. And that is further inflaming them and suppressing their core goodness, I would say, which I think is in every human being.

Paul Hawken:
One of my teachers and one of my board members, so gratefully is Jack Kornfield. He teaches Buddhism and is a big appreciator all the different schools. But the school that he was schooled in actually, the Theravadan school, is the oldest school of Buddhism. And one of the tenants is that you want to discover the one who knows is in everyone. There is the one who knows, who understands.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Your higher self.

Paul Hawken:
Exactly. And so it’s about how do we draw that out? There’s so many ways in the principles that you read, that I came up with by the way in 15 minutes, when somebody asks me, said “Well, here’s the principle.” And I looked at him later and I thought, wow, these are pretty good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s pretty good.

Paul Hawken:
They seemed obvious. And to me what they are, if you look at them, you say, these are, in the best sense of the word, these are religious principles too, every major religion, and these are core principles. I was like it’s the golden rule essentially. So I think that the question about how do we change the perfidy, the corruption, the banality, the delusionary nature of our culture, of capitalism, of advertising, of marketing, of politics and so forth is a really good question where we change it by discovering that within ourself and then trying to draw that out from others. In some ways, you do it just by healing, just by being that practitioner can be that my daughters are in, to help people come back to themselves. And I think when they do, they see the world differently and that is a one-to-one relationship. It’s not something you can do with a microphone in a stadium. You do it, and so we all have influence on people that way.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so beautiful. So getting into the meat of the book, since I think I’m interested in food and agriculture, I want to start there and then we’ll see how far we get. But within the book, it’s interesting how you had aspects of food and food system and agriculture in almost every section, whether it was the city or forest, or obviously food or land use. So in there, there is so much about food. And in your book, you talk about how the food system is the single biggest cause of global warming, of soil loss, of chemical poisoning, chronic disease, destruction of rainforests, even the killing of the oceans, the dying in the oceans. So can you talk about the regeneration in all these areas and how transforming our food industry can be an extraordinary opportunity for humankind? And it’s really one of the core tenants of regeneration.

Paul Hawken:
It really is. I think that I put regenerative ag in the middle of the book because I feel like some people think regeneration just refers to soil or farming and that’s all they heard. And so that’s what they think. So I started with oceans and forests and wild. But yeah, food is core. First of all, we eat it every day, one or two or three times or more, depending on who we are. We eat every day, without which we disappear. So that is our connection to the earth and what we have now, of course, as you know, an agricultural system, industrial ag, that basically came out of the 19th century. In Europe where there was definitely issues about sufficient food and hunger, and then they invented the Haber-Bosch process of nitrogen, that is putting nitrogen in the soil and wow, everything was green.

Paul Hawken:
What that started was the idea that you can actually feed plants directly. In other words, you put the chemicals in their, MPK, and you’re putting plants on an IV drip essentially, to use a medical metaphor. And the fact is that what regenerative ag is, is you feed the soil because the soil is what feeds the plants. When you interdict that, when you interrupt that, which is what we’ve done basically, the roots don’t have to go as deep, the plants don’t get everything they need. They can grow for sure, but they’re weak, they get attacked by insects. You need insecticides. They’re not strong, they don’t compete well, you need herbicide, or in a sense, that’s what happens. That makes the soil even more dead and the roots are shallow and the runoff more toxic.

Paul Hawken:
But what does it do to human beings? And they’re eating enough food, whether it’s director or processed, usually almost always processed. And basically they’re starving. So people are starving and they don’t know what they’re starving for, or they don’t know what they’re missing. Their body knows and it’s signaling to them in all sorts of ways, symptomatically, over hunger, disease is a signal to the body. It’s like this isn’t working for me. Do you listen now? It was headaches first and now it’s migraines or whatever. The body’s always giving us feedback. But the feedback goes right back to the food system, right back to agriculture, right back to the soil, right back to this profound misunderstanding of our relationship as a species to the living world. And I love, I think what you said once, I heard you say it recently, if it has a label, I’m not going to eat it.

Paul Hawken:
But you’re pointing to the fact that do I need ingredients or do I need, as you said, what God made, what nature made? Eat with nature makes. And so this is one of the disconnections. And I think the climate crisis is caused by this disconnection between each other. Where did the disconnection from each other come from? I’m not sure. I would look into the politics industry and other things. But the disconnection to our bodies, and to ourself, and to our wellbeing, and to our health and to mental wellbeing is definitely from big food and big ag, is an unholy Alliance. And it is right there with transport. Those two are the two biggest causes of global warming. I would say climate is bigger because it

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You mean food is bigger.

Paul Hawken:
Excuse me, big food and an ag are bigger because they engender other activities and things that are negative and harmful to the environment.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. And the beautiful thing about the book is it certainly names how food industry and the ag industry are driving so much of the crisis. But you talk about really amazing ideas like agroforestry or animal integration or composting or things like local food production, modification. These are all amazing ideas, getting rid of food waste. Can you share a little bit more detail about some of these ideas and how they work, what they do, the impact?
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:50:04]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Some of these ideas and how they work, what they do, the impact and how we can scale these things.

Paul Hawken:
Decommodification is an interesting one. There are these huge companies, the hugest, I think the biggest company in some ways, private company in the world, Cargill and they buy grains and seeds and commodities from farmers. When you sell, they store it, then they resell, reship around the world, whether it’s beef, whether it’s sunflower seeds or whether it’s oil or wheat or rice. So if you’re a farmer and let’s say you want to move away from GMO farming. Okay. And so you’re now just say non-GMO. Well, Cargill will buy non-GMO, there is a big market for non-GMO corn and soy, so it’ll sell it. Right. Okay. But it sells it at the lowest price. Now let’s say you’re really making an effort to restore your farm, to regenerate yourself. You’re going the extra mile every year to make this a much more productive, better, healthier place.

Paul Hawken:
You’re not paid for that by Cargill. They don’t care. It’s just non-GMO, end of subject. Cargill will buy organic food, same thing, which is. So in other words, the lowest common to the lowest threshold in terms of classification of food is good enough for Cargill. And so let’s talk about regenerative. Now. They want to buy regenerative food. Okay. I mean, Cargill’s right there, but what decommodification is an Indigo Ag, which is a company that is very much about regeneration to the opposite of Monsanto. Basically I’ve set up a system that connects the farmer to the buyer directly. So now the farmer, she can talk about what she’s doing and in all the different ways in which she’s implementing practices at her farm, what the results are, what the carbon levels are, how she has basically increased the complexity of her cover crops, you know, to 25 different ones in her drills.

Paul Hawken:
I mean, it goes on and on and on. That then is a narrative, a story, a quality that you as a buyer can share with your customers. So you’re not just buying non-GMO, you’re buying this person, this farmer or farmers, who are really making the movement to restoring water, land, health, animals, biodiversity, et cetera. And so the farmer makes more selling direct. The buyer pays less than if they bought it through Cargill. So it’s really a big win for the people involved: for the customers, for the people going to eat the food, but also for the environment, for climate. So that’s decommodification and that also relates to localization, which is really food always used to be local until the railways came in and the railway has changed agriculture forever, especially in this country. And really localization is within the city and the peri-urban environment so forth, is that more and more people are farming and bringing that food into the city.

Paul Hawken:
They’re not just growing vegetables or fruits. They’re also growing grains or growing beans or growing seeds. So you’re getting a kind of interesting relationship between the urban environment and I call the peri-urban [inaudible 00:53:54], where food doesn’t travel so far and it’s fresher, has more meaning, cause it’s in farmer’s markets or local stores and so forth. There’s names, there’s varieties and so forth. So you’re seeing people remarry because they got divorced a long time ago, remarry food as culture as tastes as you know. And so that’s the localization and decommodification, they really go together. That’s restorative, that has a big impact on climate. But that’s what I was trying to say about regeneration is you don’t have to know about climate in order to be excited about regeneration. You don’t have to have a scorecard, you know about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But what’s interesting about regeneration is this is a word that’s been talked about in terms of climate change primarily, but what you’re presenting in your book is a very different framework, which is inclusive of regenerating human society, regenerating natural environments, regenerating wild places, and doing it in a way that brings merit benefit and abundance to so many people and to our whole way of life. So I think this is a really striking different shift in framework because I think I had a very limited view of regeneration before.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, I understood it in a human health sense and in soil health sense, but your framework is so much broader and so it’s so beautifully maps out all of the things we need to think about if we want to live on the planet, because the truth is we are at risk of being extinct. The planet is getting messed up, but it’s going to be fine. It’ll come back, but we won’t. And maybe we’re okay with that. Maybe we’ve had our time and we should just ride it out, but it feels like we really had this moment in time right now where we can show up as a species and say, okay, wait a minute. We’ve made some bad choices. We’ve done some things that were done with good intentions, but had bad consequences. How do we shift that?

Paul Hawken:
If you look at the book and the 78 different solutions in there, and if you look at them and let’s pretend for a moment that you knew nothing about the atmosphere, that there was no climate science. You would want to do every one of them because the benefits are so great and they don’t have a downside. They do not have a downside. We are in an extractive economy where the benefits are about money and capital formation and sales and growth and stock market value and the detriments and the harm are huge. And so we are in a degenerative economy and it’s not intentional by most companies with people it’s just true, which is we extract, we take from the environment, we take from our oceans, our land, our people from our cultures, from the forest, from every living system. And we eventually make something, manufacturing something, or create a service or make a product and sell it and yet the harm that’s happened,

Paul Hawken:
We may be divorced from it, not understand it, not see it, but the fact is the harm is still done. That’s an extractive economy. Extraction of life is degeneration, that is degeneration. So regeneration is really about what if we did a 180 and said, huh, okay, I got it. No, I understand what I have been doing or what I’ve been buying or what it does, and its’ impacts, what is regeneration look like? And it’s a 180 and it’s not like you can do it over night, if you’re a big company or whatever, but actually it’s a different path for that goes for millennia. Degeneration: we can see the end of that road. It doesn’t go much further.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I agree. A hundred percent. And I think one of the things that gets people stuck is economics. And the belief that this sounds like a great idea, but is it really something we can afford? Is it something that’s going to just cost money or is it going to save money? And I just got back from Rodale Institute where I met with my food fix campaign team, where we are driving changes in the food system. And we learned about their farming systems trial, which has been a 40 plus year trial, looking at the impact of organic practices and regenerative organic practices versus conventional practices on the same farm and plots next to each other. So they’re experiencing the same environmental conditions, everything. And what was striking was really the data that they had. So it’s not abstract. And I think that the concept that we’re told by the food industry, the ag industry is yeah, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Organic is okay, but we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world. You know, we’ve gone from one and a half to seven million people in the last one hundred years. We need to produce these large commodity crops in ways that actually use industrial practices because otherwise we won’t be able to feed the world. And I think this is a giant mythology. And what they showed from this research was that they produce competitive results in terms of yields using organic versus conventional, which is the argument against organic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What was even more striking was it in tough times of drought, the organic produced 40% more yield. And in terms of soil health, of course it builds soil health and uses less energy, 45% less energy, 40% less carbon emissions, leaching no nitrogen or pesticides into waterways. And what was even more striking with the economics of this. The farmers are in three to six times more profit when they did organic than with the conventional. So all the ideas that we’ve been told are really not true. And I think the question I would pose to you, Paul, is: what is the economics of regeneration? Is it something that’s going to create more abundance or is it going to just cost us?

Paul Hawken:
Yeah, I mean, that has been the [inaudible 01:00:10] that’s been thrown at the organic world. I started Erewhon when I was 20 years old and we are always criticized, like this is oh you hippies, want to eat this way. But we serious people care about the rest of the world and want to feed the world. And that I can’t believe that trope is still alive today because industrial ag doesn’t feed the world at all. First of all, it poisons the world. But 70% of the food is produced by small holders, not by industrial ag. Most of industrial ag cultural production goes to animals, not to people. And it goes to animals that are treated very cruelly and harmfully and confined area feeding operations in process that food is processed in such a way that in most cases produces food that’s toxic to human beings as well, and produces a lot of [inaudible 01:01:14] effluence and toxicity.

Paul Hawken:
So first of all, the myth that industrial ag is needed to feed the world is just nonsense and never has been true. Second on costs. Yeah. I mean, if you’re subsidized like crazy and you externalize the cost of raising food, which is why the industrial ag does. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is caused by industrial ag. Who pays for that? Well, not the farmers and not Monsanto buyer, not Syngenta and not the chemical companies.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, that’s staggering, probably it’s 212,000 metric tons of fish that die every year. How much would those fish cost and how many people would they feed? And that’s just one dead zone. There’s 400 of those around the world, feeding half a billion people. So it’s staggering what you’re talking about,

Paul Hawken:
Look at pesticide poisoning in the [inaudible 01:02:16] Sacramento valley, where I live in California. I remember when I had an organic farm and at Erewhon, I had farmers in 35 states, 34,000 acres under contract of organic food. But we would talk about us like, wow, we’re internalizing costs. That is to say, we’re spending money on our farms to not cause harm. We don’t use pesticides, we don’t have [inaudible 01:02:42], et cetera. The farmers who were doing that, basically weren’t paying the costs at all. And so there was a profound imbalance in terms of fairness, it was unfair upside down and backwards and so forth. The food that should be labeled and highly labeled is industrial food, chemical food, ultra processed food that should be labeled as ultra processed, chemically produced industrial ag food. This is what you’re buying.

Paul Hawken:
If it’s organic or regenerative, there shouldn’t be any label at all. It’s like food, it’s a banana, it’s an apple, it’s kale, it’s arugula, it’s cruciferous vegetables, and like there’s no label. Yeah, that’s right. Because it’s upside down and backwards. But I see that’s why the thing about either we’re healing the future or stealing the future, and we can make money just as much and more by healing the future. I say more not in the sense of concentrating in the hands of a few people, but more in terms of what you talked about, which has happened, which is happening with organic [inaudible 01:03:48] farmers. Which is once they make that transition from being addicted to chemicals. And that is a passage, that is a transition they need or deserve support. Sometimes they can only do it so many acres at a time because of that.

Paul Hawken:
But once they pass through that, they will never ever go back because it is more profitable and the income is higher and we have a USDA and we have, by the way, both the USDA affects: snap programs and food stamps, $46 billion a year and what goes to people who have very low income, and it also impacts basically the food that’s grown and how it’s grown, men, this is due to basically insurance, crop insurance. So with those two things, crop insurance and the snap programs we lock in ‘toxic food is grown toxically’. And so there is what your cost advantage right there. It comes from us.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, that’s true. I mean, if we all actually were paying the real cost of food, it would be staggering. And I think that the Rockefeller Foundation, just to produce a report on the true cost of food, and it was trillions of dollars a year that we’re paying as a society, as taxpayers to compensate for the damage that’s done, by the very way we grow food, the food we produce, the consequences of eating that food on humans, which is chronic disease and death, and no one’s talking about it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I’m really pleased to see the Rockefeller foundation put a stake in the ground and declare this because at the end of the day, when you look at regeneration, it’s a concept that regenerates, not just humans and their health, not just ecosystems, not just communities and societies, but it regenerates economies. And I think at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, our entire global, national system is driven by money.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if we don’t align the economics incentives and allow people to understand how this is actually the right economic choice, that this won’t happen. And then in draw down, you did that beautifully. And this book is a more human book in a sense, but in Drawdown, it was really fascinating how you were able to look at what is the cost of the solution. Let’s say doing compost or what is the benefit in terms of the return on investment. And it was staggering, the return on investment from these interventions. So could you talk a little bit about the economics of how we drive our thinking differently about the economic benefits of regeneration?

Paul Hawken:
Yeah. I think there’s a great Wendell Berry quote. It’s basically, organic farming or I forgot what it was, but it’s not going to make you rich, you’re going to be rich. In other words, leading a life that creates more life, is extraordinarily satisfying and edifying life. And one that destroys life isn’t. But I would say that I guess what I say is that yeah, we did the numbers in Drawdown. They are based on assumptions, of course, every model is about cost and income. And most of them were profitable. Some occasionally were not and so forth, but actually those are good in a sense for a policy level, but actually numbers don’t change people, jargon doesn’t change people, fear does not change people. None of those things really change really how people think and what they do and or what they believe to be true and so forth.

Paul Hawken:
So I kind of took the numbers out of this book for that reason, because I think people are focusing on them. And I focused on engagement that as human beings, as people, as cultures, societies, neighborhoods, friends. I engaged on agency more than on that because I felt that is really how things happen as opposed to looking at a number abstractly and saying, well, this could be profitable. And there’s no question that the momentum and the inertia of the existing neo-liberal capitalist system is bizarre. And the cheapest form of new electricity generation in the world today by far is solar and wind. Okay. And as mentioned earlier, almost $7 trillion of money has gone to support coal, gas and oil, which are far more expensive as in terms of energy, electrical generation, transport generation, whatever use you give to those fossil fuels, than what we know how to do today and yet.

Paul Hawken:
So we’re seeing this crazy making diversion and where did that money come from? It comes from you, it comes from when you bang, it comes from taxes. We’re paying for the devolution and degradation and destruction of the earth every single day and that means action. And I don’t mean just start growing organically in the garden. I mean: write, call out, name, vote. I mean get active. No question about it because basically a small group of people has control of what’s happening to a much, much larger group of people. But the other thing I emphasize, and this goes back to the origin of regeneration. I was, in 2017, at the Commonwealth of Nations in Marlborough House in London. I was invited to speak to the fifty-two high commissioners, which is an essentially [inaudible 01:10:10]. And to London and I was asked to speak about Drawdown and I did, and then I had a Q and A, which was fascinating, Q and A is always the most fascinating part of any talk.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I agree.

Paul Hawken:
Yeah. It’s where you learn the most because everybody asks a question. Almost everybody asks the question for others as well. You know, they just don’t. And after that I was walking back past Buckingham palace, and it was all very glamorous and so forth. But I was walking back thinking about the questions and what I realized Mark, was that everybody there represented all the ministerials in their country, not just one, they represent a defense and finance and education and transport and [inaudible 01:10:56]and ag and health. And from their point of view, climate was about carbon dioxide and methane and that belonged in the portfolio of the environmental minister in which is usually the lowest ranking or very low ranking ministerial in all these countries. And the rest of the ministers had a job to do. They had to take care of housing or health or this or this.

Paul Hawken:
And I realized, oh my gosh. And it’s to what you said earlier, is that this is for everything and for everything, it makes everything better for everyone. And so if we are not thinking about the 4.1 billion people in the world who are impoverished. If we’re not directing our work to serving current human needs.

Paul Hawken:
If we think we can save the world and not make a world worth saving, then that’s not true. So what regeneration does is opens up this quality of understanding and activity that provides people with a sense of betterment. And the only way people are going to get involved around climate is to see that what they do or what is possible, or this job, or this vocation, or this profession, or this focus is going to make their life better, their family’s life better. It’s going to make it a better community.

Paul Hawken:
And this is what the world wants because the world wakes up every single morning, pretty much most of the world worried about today, not tomorrow, not next year, not climate change, they can’t afford it. I remember a black person saying to me, how can I worry about that when I have to worry about getting a job? And I say, spot on, man, that is exactly right. And you look at the rest of the world, they’re worried about food security, about health, about getting their kids to school, getting a school at all, about clothing, about et cetera, et cetera. That’s where the juice is in terms of reversing global warming.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s so true. And I think what you just touched on something I want to highlight because you state in the book something kind of provocative. Would you say, it’s the climate crisis is not a science problem. It’s a human problem. And that the most complex and radical climate technologies on earth are not what you’d expect right there, the human heart, the head and the mind, not a solar panel. So talk about how the power to really change the world doesn’t reside in these technologies, but relies on things like reverence, respect, compassion for ourselves, all people, all life. You sort of touched on it a little bit, but I’d like you to get into it a bit more because I think it’s really at the end of the day, it’s not the facts, the figures, the science, you’re not going to yell at convince some money. It may be the economics that drive things for sure. But it ultimately comes down to this human component.

Paul Hawken:
It does. I mean, and again, I think, start with tobacco industry then later with British petroleum in 2001, I think it was, said, oh, you can calculate your carbon footprint. This has been this corporate communication for decades that if something’s wrong, you did it and you’re responsible and you can change. Calculate your carbon footprint, which is interesting by the way, I [inaudible 01:14:30]. But somehow if you change it, that’s going to solve the problem. And we know that’s not true. And what we can change though. And what is possible is what you just described and so forth, is that we can.

Paul Hawken:
Regeneration isn’t about bringing just the world back to life, it is about bringing ourselves back to life. And to sense like I’m here, I chose to be here. What am I going to do at this time? Given what I know and what I see in the world. And do I want to go around.
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:15:04]

Paul Hawken:
… know and what I see in the world and do I want to go around hangdog, depressed, angry, blaming other people, or do I want to do something that brings me to life? That brings joy to others, to myself, that where I learn, where my curiosity grows and expands, and I become more connected to more people in interesting ways, and so forth, and to nature and to the earth and to all the living beings that are here that joined with us to other cultures, to understanding that I live basically on land, that was never ceded to me.

Paul Hawken:
I’m living on stolen land. Who did we steal it from? What is that culture? What did they know? All sorts of things that happen when you start to think this way and behave this way. And that is innate to regeneration, and I’m saying regeneration is innate to us, and so it’s really about just allowing that, recognizing that and enacting that within ourselves in our daily life. I’m not, by the way in saying that, in any way criticizing any other thing that’s going on with climate. I love it all; everything that everybody’s doing around the climate is fantastic, but we have to figure out how to get most people involved. Not just a few.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Make it relevant to everybody. I think it’s beautiful because it’s very similar to what I see in healthcare right now. You know the number one cause of death in the world is diet, and it’s not like we need a great new advance to cure diabetes and erase diabetes from the planet, which is the biggest driver of healthcare costs and suffering globally. But we don’t have the understanding that we can. It’s almost like Dorothy, and her ruby red slippers. She didn’t really know she could get back to Kansas by clicking her heels. We have that same power collectively. And I think, we kind of rely on others and we advocate our agency and our desire to actually do anything because it just feels overwhelming.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But you paint a beautiful picture of here, how we each can be a part of it. And yes, we need big changes in policy and yes, we need big changes in industry and we need all of it. And it’s not just one thing, but what you’re saying is that it’s actually, which is something I actually didn’t feel before I really read through your book, was that what we each do does make a difference and that collectively it matters and that then we can make choices that not only make us feel good, but actually are making a difference.

Paul Hawken:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, somewhere in the book, I say, the person who can change this, the climate crisis is reading this sentence. And it sounds illogical from what we’re told and so forth, but absolutely there are possibilities here, we’re just bathed in probabilities and the news cycle, it doesn’t help us at all. And that’s why we really have to, I think the possibility here is an awakening. And I tell you, Mark, I won’t name them, but I talk to CEOs of rather large companies, rather very, very big companies, and I have seen such a difference in the last 18 months, two years, than the last 40 years. I mean, their eyes are different. They get it. I mean, they have children, they have grandchildren, they have sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, they have, I mean, they’re going, it’s an OMG moment for them. It really is. And they find themselves in as the head of these extraordinarily large corporations with momentum and capital. But I see in them an awakening. And I just think it’s just a matter of time before that occurs to other people in other ways.

Paul Hawken:
Nobody awakens you, you awaken yourself. But and when that happens, I think the rate of change is going to occur is going to be extraordinary. The rate of climate change by now exceeds the rate of human change. No question about it, but I feel like that’s going to have, we’re going to see a figure ground shift where the rate of human change is going to exceed the rate of climate change. And the example I give, I think about, and we’re studying it inside in terms of organization is about what happened to the LGBTQ community, which was client.

Paul Hawken:
It was like shame. Okay. I mean, it was basically and gay shame, there’s shame, and you could run for office in 2010 and denigrate LGBTQ people and win. Now, we had a month of gay pride. We have a month of advertisers and companies and so forth. I’m not saying everything’s…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we have an openly gay man running for president, which was fascinating.

Paul Hawken:
Exactly. And so there’s been a figure ground shift and that not everybody has shifted course, especially in this country and other countries, some other countries, for sure. But I mean, that’s a shift and to what is going to create that figure ground shift with respect to global warming. And when that happens, the rate of change that can occur, and activity that can occur is, will be extraordinary. And yes, can we basically achieve that point where we start to reverse global warming and draw down our greenhouse gases? Absolutely. We know how to do it. We have the tools, we have the understanding. And what we lack right now is that capacity within humanity to awaken, the moment of that awakening, but I see it so fast right now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So Paul, one of the things that I think is a little overwhelming for people is, is this really going to change? Can we really fix this? Is this going to transform our society? And the thesis of the book is really extraordinary, which is that we can end the climate crisis in one generation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So in the book, there’s 78 different solutions. All of them are interesting and important, but where do we start? Where do we start as individuals? Where do we start as business innovators and where do we start as policymakers?

Paul Hawken:
Ending the climate crisis in one generation does not mean that we can no longer worry about climate. What it means is by 2030, we will experience a rate of change and engagement and involvement and absolute results from our activity that basically show that if we continue to do it, which we would because of the momentum of it, achieved right on by 2050, 2045 or so at some point in near future and avoid the worst of global warming, 1.5 C levels thereby. So that’s what that subtitle means. And, but each person has to find their own way in another words. It’s like, as I said, this is going from conceptual to experiential. I mean, and you can stay in your I guess, conceptual framework of the world and read things or reinforce it, or at some point, do you step out and look at yourself and say, okay, I need to be part of something that is meaningful, really meaningful in my life.

Paul Hawken:
And I can’t think of anything that would have more meaning than reversing global warming, because it’s really not about global warming. It’s actually about…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Humanity.

Paul Hawken:
Well, the re-imagination of civilization of self and other. And so it’s a very good question. It’s kind of like a Wizard of Oz question, I feel like I’d be a fraud if I said, I knew. I don’t know. I can only tell you what I see and what I see is a rate of understanding in the world. And, but when it comes to an individual, I don’t know, each person is different. When it comes to the rate of change in you, there’s different numbers, but change creates change. And as I said in the book, belief does not change action. And we know that from neuroscientists [crosstalk 01:24:36] work at Stanford with action is, action changes our belief. And action changes the beliefs of others as well. And as more action occurs, as more people act, you get a cascading effect from that and that’s what I’m going to bet on.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s really incredible to think about what a difference we can make. It reminds me of that quote from Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Paul Hawken:
Yeah and we already have a great teacher. We’re being homeschooled by the planet. We have this great teacher and so it’s our home and she’s teaching us and…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re a little slow, we’re on the short bus…

Paul Hawken:
We are. We’re slow.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
…remedial, extra help learning disability class I think.

Paul Hawken:
True. True. But then she just speaks a little louder when that happens and gives tougher homework assignments. So, we have the teacher, we have the teachings, we have amongst humanity, brilliant, gorgeous, amazing human beings here everywhere in the world, doing things that have such importance and grace with such intelligence and kindness and compassion; they’re all here. And so let’s meet them, listen, get involved with them. Let’s learn from them. Let’s be those people, let’s do that. And yes, we’ll look at the headlines and we’ll look at the demagogues and the billionaires in space, but in the end of the day, [inaudible 01:26:27] …human beings.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. You don’t think about it. What’s beautiful about your book is not about what we need to invent or create, or hopefully figure out or discover, it’s about the solutions that exist right now in all these different aspects and areas that are scientific, that are proven, that are being implemented in small or large ways globally. And we just need to draw on those to sort of scale them up and re-imagine everything. So before we close, I love you to, just to sort of talk about how you reimagine the future. Maybe paint a picture of, in each of those areas, what are a few things that could be done that would make such a big difference. In each of those areas of the book, maybe just one or two to say, okay, if we did this, this is what needs to be done.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think there’s so much in there. People will find it, but it would just be good to get a flavor of the kinds of solutions that you’re really proposing and what they look and feel like to people. You mentioned a few of them we talked about, but I’d love you to sort of go through the book and just share a little bit about it. Cause it’s going to give you a sense of hope about, oh, there’s the solutions. These are the things we can do. This is possible.

Paul Hawken:
What I see happening is solutions that are really fascinating to me or engaging. One is about water. And it’s interesting that plants manage water. That’s who’s managing water on the planet and water manages heat. So we talk about carbon but we should also talk about water; it’s so important. And we have this, like I say, billions of acres of degraded land, which is begging for people to go on it and use rotational grazing, regenerative agriculture, afforestation, agroforestry, silvopasture, et cetera. And we restore that land. What happens when you restore land? You’re restoring water, restoring basically the water cycle. And when the water cycle is restored, it literally makes rain. We think rain comes from the ocean, it does- the rain clouds; it also comes from the land. And so what we know now is that when we change what’s on the land in terms of plants and trees and so forth, it actually creates rain. It creates water and the earth is desiccated.

Paul Hawken:
If you have a patient who is completely dehydrated, that could be near death if they did that, you hydrate them. So what we need to do is hydrate the earth. That’s what RegenAG and these different methodologies do, and they can increase the amount of water that’s in the soil by a factor of 10, 20, 30, or more. Okay.

Paul Hawken:
So we’re bringing the excess water that just killed so many people in Germany and all these places in Europe last week. And we actually bring it back and put it in the Earth. When it’s in the Earth, the temperature goes down. So 80% of what we experience in terms of temperature is from the hydrosphere, not from the atmosphere. And what also happens, it was a wonderful study that was done in Africa because this valley in Malawi had hailstorms all the time; they had the most hailstorms of any place in Africa. And the question is, why was it happening? And so what we know now is that we used to think that water nucleated from the drop, from a gas to a liquid, by attaching itself to dust particles in the sky; it does. But what we’ve learned is that it actually attaches to bacteria. And so what these scientists discovered in Malawi is when the hail came, they actually melted it and sequenced the bacteria. They discovered that the bacteria in the hail was specific to that valley. That valley was making the hail. Which is a type of precipitation, water.

Paul Hawken:
So they’re these discoveries going on about how we can actually change the surface of the Earth in such a way that we change the weather. And as opposed to the weather being changed and not having any control when you do that, but you actually are regenerating patterns of weather that we have lost. And so I think one of the most exciting things is the restoration of degraded land in all different ways and what we’ll do to rainfall and crops and rivers that we cannot predict or know a priori, but we know it will have a profound impact on it. And we know we need to do it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Absolutely. It’s just so beautiful. So this is a really hopeful message in a time which feels kind of hopeless. When we see increasing climate instability, when we see increasing social instability, economic instability, obviously health going downhill, big time. And this is to me very much like the functional medicine approach to health, which is get to the root cause. Restore systems, restore ecosystems to their natural balance. And regeneration is just such an important piece of work in this moment. And I hope everybody who’s listening gets a copy of the book, reads it, takes it in and shares it with their community, with their family, with the people who they work with or work for, or who work for them, because this is the kind of book that can shift our perspective. It’s a frame shift that allows us to go from despair to hope.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I’m just so inspired that you wrote it. I know you’ve been working really hard on it. I encourage everybody to go buy it, Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. You can buy it anywhere you get books. Go to regeneration.org to learn more about how you can get involved and get into the action, not just the reaction around this, but what action can you do? And Paul, you’ll be just expanding this more and more and work I know is going to be out there. And I can’t wait until we all are working on this problem of regeneration together, because it’s really about regenerating not only the planet and climate, it’s about regenerating human communities, societies, human relationships, human health, all the things that I think we care most about and making this a human problem, not a science problem is a really beautiful flip on our thinking. And it’s, I think hopefully going to change the way we approach this forever. So, Paul, thank you so much.

Paul Hawken:
I want to thank you because you don’t know this, but all during the time of this two years that I’ve been creating the book. I’ve listened to every single one of your podcasts. Why? Well, the reason is because… And I have okay a list and this thing, and this person said that, and I have a whole list of what I found influential and important. A lot of what you have done in these podcasts and so forth, what you and your guests have said and talked about actually is in the book, not quoted, not word for word, but it’s like, oh man…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I noticed that.

Paul Hawken:
Yes. Yeah. And I mean, we have 5,000 citations on the website. Okay. So we didn’t have room for them there, but the fact is that you have really, really served as an inspiration from this book and a joyful one because I’d be on my Peloton or doing something in the garden, listening to the podcast with ear buds or something. And I go, whoa, and stop and then make a note, at least where it was in terms of time, or I’d make a notation to go back and listen again and so forth. So I just really want to acknowledge that…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you.

Paul Hawken:
I think the book is about a recognition of people like you, who understand again, regeneration innately and practice it and do it as opposed to something that sort of arrives as a new word or a new term. I feel like it’s really something that people do understand, and you’ve been my teacher in this. So I really wanted to acknowledge that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Paul, thank you. Thank you. Well, we have a lot more to do together, a lot more work to do, and I so appreciate everybody listening to this podcast. And thank you so much for your work and your tireless efforts. I know it’s not easy to do this. I know it takes a lot of your life energy, and I just thank you for it. And everybody listening, make sure you get a copy of the book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, subscribe to this podcast, leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you. What have done to make a difference? And share with your friends and family and everybody because it’s important. And we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Pharmacy.
Speaker 2:
Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their ‘Find a Practitioner’ database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.
PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:36:36]

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