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Episode 537
The Doctor's Farmacy

How Climate Change Is Making Us Sick And What We Can Do About It

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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I recently took a life changing trip to Antarctica to see what is really happening to our environment as the result of climate change. 

Before you roll your eyes or gloss over this email, I want you to understand this: Climate change is not just floods, droughts, a hotter planet, and deadly weather events, which are all scary enough to think about. It affects our whole body health—impacting chronic disease, infectious diseases, our food supply, our mental health, and so much more. 

On my way to Antartica, I had an important conversation with my friend and climate activist, Amanda Ravenhill, about this very issue. In her words, apathy around climate change is dangerous. And we can’t be apathetic because it’s at the grassroots level that we can create change. 

In this episode, Amanda and I discuss one of the most critical aspects of climate change and human health—our food system. 

How we grow, produce, and distribute our food, from beef and eggs to soy and avocados, has tremendous implications on our health and the planet. Nearly every country and scientist outline a bleak picture for humanity if we don’t address the climate crisis. Yet, few are linking it to our food system. 

Did you know our food system is responsible for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions—from deforestation, destructive agricultural practices, and the fossil fuels used for processing, packaging, and refrigeration to food waste? Or that one-fifth of fossil fuels are used for agriculture and our food system? That’s more than all transportation from cars, planes, and ships combined.

Government farm policy will only change when we vote with our dollars and our forks. Changes across the board from farming and corporate abd government policies can help shift the entire system and help to reverse and prevent further damage. Amanda and I share how we all can be proactive about this pressing issue and why it should matter to each of us. 

If you care about your health and the health of our planet, I encourage you to listen to this episode. 

This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, InsideTracker, and Mitopure.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

InsideTracker is a personalized health and wellness platform like no other. Right now they’re offering my community 20% off at insidetracker.com/drhyman.

Mitopure is the first and only clinically tested pure form of a natural gut metabolite called Urolithin A that clears damaged mitochondria away from our cells and supports the growth of new healthy mitochondria. Get 10% off at timelinenutrition.com/drhyman and use code DRHYMAN10 at checkout.

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 details from our interview (audio version / Apple Subscriber version):

  1. Why you should care about climate change if you care about your health
    (7:06)
  2. Overcoming apathy to feel empowered about climate solutions
    (12:01)
  3. Our food system is the #1 driver and solution of climate change
    (14:36)
  4. Eating and shopping regeneratively
    (25:22)
  5. Reframing carbon and its potential to promote planetary life
    (30:29)
  6. The role of government and corporations in helping to create climate solutions
    (32:33)
  7. The case for investing in women farmers
    (36:38)
  8. Applying corporate personhood to grant personhood to rights of nature
    (44:46)
  9. What you can do on an individual level to support the regeneration of climate
    (49:18)
  10. Shifting the climate conversation from one of despair to one of hope
    (56:28)

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.

 
Amanda Joy Ravenhill

Amanda Joy Ravenhill is Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, which is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of strategies that radically regenerate Earth’s ecosystems. She previously held the role of Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project Drawdown, the comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.

She lectures and speaks publicly on climate, biochar, regenerative design, carbon drawdown strategies, mindfulness, and systems thinking. She is an active member of the international community focused on addressing imminent global challenges and welcomes you to join her in weaving the tale of our planet’s regenerative metamorphosis.

Learn more about Amanda Ravenhill at amandajoyravenhill.com.

Transcript

Lauren:

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

Amanda Ravenhill:

As above so below the plant is reflective. It’s micronutrient is reflective of the micronutrients of that soil. And when that soil is stripped from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides that are in the system, those nutrients don’t get into the plants and the microbiome of the soil is related to the microbiome of our gut.

Lauren:

Hi, this is Lauren, one of the producers of The Doctor’s Farmacy. Just a quick note, before we get into today’s episode, we experience some audio issues in the beginning of this interview, they resolve in the latter portion and we hope it won’t interfere with your listening to this important conversation.

Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, that’s Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And today we’re going to have one of the most consequential conversations we’ve ever had on The Doctor’s Farmacy I’m with Amanda Ravenhill, one of the leading climate activists and thinkers. We are in literally the Drake Passage on our way to Antarctica, to witness what is really happening there. We’ve already lost 3,000,000,000,000, tons of ice from the Antarctica ice sheet. It’s staggering to think about, and we’re really on the precipice, but the good news is, there is good news, and we have a moment where we can actually transform all this, and not let it be the disaster that it could be. I want to tell you a little about Amanda, because she’s really extraordinary. She’s one of my absolute favorite humans. She’s the executive director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute who coin the term Spaceship Earth, and that is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of strategies that radically regenerate the earths ecosystems, which is about what we need to be doing, which is restoring and regenerating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

She also held the role as co-founder and executive director of Project Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming because it was the only plan ever proposed-

Amanda Ravenhill:

True.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… to reverse global warming. She’s a member of Seastars at acapella group blending harmonies with new narratives of the future that works for 100% of life. She’s an avid gardener stewarding her small backyard farm to build soil, host pollinators, create medicines and grow food. She lectures and speaks publicly on climate, biochar regenerative design, carbon dry down strategies, mindfulness and systems thinking. She’s my kind of girl. And she’s also an active member of an international community focused on addressing imminent global challenges, and welcome Amanda.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Thanks. Thank you so much for having me. It’s such an honor to be here with you here today and also on this boat with this incredible crew of folks, facing the WOWness of the nowness. Wow, it’s now in terms of the climate emergency and stepping into our presence and our wholeness as human beings.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. And as background, this trip, this boat is not a vacation trip. It’s a trip of carefully selected humans who have the intelligence, the creativity, the entrepreneurship and the networks to actually make a real difference in climate. And we’re here to bring awareness to ourselves and to the world. And it’s going to be quite, I think, an experience for us, and we’re just beginning, and we got over the throwing up part, the great passage, but it’s easy to get doomy and gloomy about climate change. We’ve had the author of the uninhabitable earth on the podcast and it’s kind of depressing, but what’s so beautiful about the re-imagination of climate from a solutions or perspective is that, even though it’s worst thing we think it’s also better than we think.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And climate change seems sort of vague to most people, we hear about floods, hurricanes, fires, sort of distant, not immediate and warming planet. We don’t quite get it. And most people are not getting the personal impacts on themselves, particularly around health. So if you really care about health, which a lot of people listening to podcasts do, why should you also care about climate change?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Well, it’s definitely complex, but I think it comes down to toxicity essentially. So that, which is toxic to you is likely toxic to other life around you and solving climate change is about having cleaner air and cleaner water, and a cleaner atmosphere, which all lead to better planetary health, better ecosystem health, and better health for all species and all of their offspring for all time. And what is possible now, is not going to be possible in 10 years, in terms of what we’re able to do to create that planetary health, because of these tipping points like the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet, we’re making it, it’s going to be harder and harder. Climate change makes it harder to deal with climate change, because of these reinforcing feedback loops. And so what we can do now to create that planetary health, which then creates health for all of the cascading trophic levels of life, really matters now. And there’s also personal things like climate change makes disease worse, things like dengue fever.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Climate change makes malnutrition worse because of food shortages and crop failure. And then it’s already such a fragile geopolitical moment, the Pentagon calls climate a threat multiplier. So you can tie the Syrian conflict and many other conflicts, and the displaced people that come from that to climate stresses, to droughts. The drought that happened in Russia that caused them to have fires, which caused them to not export grain, then led to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Food scarcity.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… food scarcity, which led to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Violence.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… all sorts of food riots. And so how we limit our warming now, which is so critical, it really creates all of these cascading effects and these unintended consequences into the future, which, there’s so many different forms of health, right? But mental health, the IPCC, which is the largest scientific coalition ever to come together, which works on climate change just came out with their sixth report around vulnerability, adaptability and impacts. And they said that climate change is affecting now 100% of humanities mental health, all of us are affected now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So true. Well, this is such as powerful work that you’ve done or [inaudible 00:06:25] has done. Paul has been on the podcast twice for regenerate and for Drawdown. And the solutions are out there. So part of the problem is like, oh, I want to cure cancer. Well, I don’t, I can’t cure all cancer because we don’t know how to do it. But what you’re proposing is that we now have the legitimate science that shows us if we collectively act in time, we can literally stop and also reverse or Drawdown carbon enough to reverse climate change. So we actually can go backwards. Maybe we can get to back to even free industrial times.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yes, definitely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

If we implemented the solutions that now are proven that exist, not talking about some new invention or new discovery, but actually what we only know how to do. You really don’t say this is a science problem, a human problem. What do you mean by it being a human problem?

Amanda Ravenhill:

It’s a lack of ingenuity and courage and that’s fed by some very specific disinformation campaigns from fossil fuel companies and also the media cycle in our 24 hour media loop. When we first started doing Drawdown, we did an analysis of all climate change news out there. And we found that about 90% of the news around climate was around the future that we don’t want. Now, if you look at psychology or if you look at motorcycle racing, or airplane flying, you’re not supposed to look at the thing you don’t want to hit. Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Right.

Amanda Ravenhill:

You’re supposed to look, power of-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Aim at the ball.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

That’s what I am.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Aim at the ball. Yeah, so it’s really kind of a problem of ingenuity. And then all of that causes fear. And when we’re in fear, we’re in our fight or flight, on our amygdala, we can’t think long-term and we can’t think creatively. And so there’s grief to be had and we all need to move through that grief, ideally in connection with someone else, in connection with the planet, be witnessed in it. And once there is loss, it’s not all going to be roses. There’s already loss.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. We’re already, yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

There’s 1,000,000,000s of people hungry because of climate change already. There’s people having to leave their homes. There’s people who won’t be able to return to their homes. There’s baked in sea level rise. And we need to grieve all of that, and also move through the grief so that we can find creative action, and not just get stuck in the apathy, and nihilism that can come out of that. And I think that actually, the apathy nihilism is the most destructive and dangerous force on the planet right now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And what’s the medicine to fight that? You talk about having agency, but what is the way that we overcome apathy and feel empowered as individuals? Because it seems like such a massive problem. And it, like you said, in your talk that you gave before, 90 companies are responsible for almost all-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Two thirds.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… two thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And as little humans doing our little lives, actually, what can we do?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I’m a big fan of nonviolent direct action or civil resistance, what Gandhi did and what a lot of the civil rights leaders in the U.S did. And basically it’s noncooperation with the current system. So maybe that looks like jamming the call centers of certain corporations. Maybe that means street puppet theater, there’s all sorts of different ways to do sit-ins and boycots, and just make ourselves be known. We have voices, they have money, but we have masses, and we can really change things. And in fact, if you look at how things have changed in the world, that’s the only thing that’s really changed things-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

That’s right.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… quickly, which is what we need. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

The thing about abolition, civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, they didn’t start in Congress, they ended in Congress. And once those movements got big enough, they were unable to sort of look back and-

Amanda Ravenhill:

And you can do it out of loving kindness. I mean, you can for sure be angry. I am very angry at Exxon for knowing about climate change in 1977 and then investing and drilling rights in the Arctic, very angry. But I also don’t think personally, I don’t go into evil and I don’t go into personal fault, I go into what is the larger system that was an emerging quality of. And so in loving kindness, they need us to put pressure on them. Those corporations are all filled with individuals who want to know more, who in their hearts of heart know that they need to do more, but they’re all stuck in filter bubbles and confirmation bubbles of, oh, it’s an all above energy strategy that we need and oil is needed, because the poor people need to heat their homes, and they just get stuck in these other narratives. So if we can come in with these 1.5 degree, scientific research studies and give them another alternative, then they can step into that future.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. I mean, as a doctor, Amanda, I was interested in climate change personally, but I didn’t really understand why it was so important and why my patients were sick, because of the things that we do in our food system, that as a consequence drive climate change, but they also, there’s so many other things. And it seems like, the shocking fact to me was that when I learned about Project Drawdown was putting together quickly the dots that our food system collectively across all the different areas of our food system is the number one driver of climate change, also the number one solution, and it’s causing global warming, soil loss, poisoning of our environment, chronic disease, rain force destruction, and killing your oceans. So can you unpack how our food and ag system does that? And then what are the ways that we can transform our food and agricultural system to regenerate climate?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So I’ll start with the second part, 12 of the top 20 solutions to climate that we found in Drawdown are food and land related, which we all have a lot more agency over too. Right? You choose what you eat at least three times a day. And food is just one part of agriculture. There’s fibers, there’s medicine, there’s materials. I think the future where we will see us build, growing so much of what we use. And we’ll laugh at how much we wore virgin plastic in this time. Because it’s just such a waste of that, which could be used for kind of medical reasons and ways that we don’t know how to otherwise use materials. So 12 of the top 20 solutions are food and ag related. And in terms of the emission side of things, actually more carbon has gone into the atmosphere from agriculture than energy production.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And it’s because essentially of tilling. So healthy soil is kind of like, you can think of it as a micro rainforest. So there’s all of these beautiful interconnections, this by biodiverse, just orgy of life that happens under soil. So much interchange of carbon and electrons. And when you go in with tilling, you’re basically doing deforestation at a micro level, releasing all of that carbon into the atmosphere and cutting all of the mycelial mushroom network.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Neural networks. Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

The neural networks, it’s actually a series of tubes, much like the internet. Some people Suzanne Simard calls it the wood wide web. And that’s how sugars, there’s the liquid carbon pathway, which is photosynthesis, CO2 then turns into plant sugars which feed plants and then they go down into the roots. And through the mycelial network, mycorrhizal, myco mushrooms rhizal roots, they go, those sugars feed into the soil. They tell the soil what the plant needs, the soil, all of the different mycorrhizal knowing goes out, collects whatever nutrients they need, comes back to the plants, it’s this incredible system of commerce that’s happening that we’re just starting to understand, because soil is very hard to study in a lab.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. I mean, plants have 20 senses and they’re constantly communicating with other organisms and so that they’re giving the microbes food. The microbes are extracting nutrients that they can’t extract themselves and giving them nutrients, this is beautiful symbiotic dance. And what we do is we just kill the soil. We kill it, we poison it with chemicals and we create soil and turn it into dirt, which is dead, which is why we have to put more stuff on it, which creates this vicious cycle where we actually then end up affecting our health, because the plants have much less nutrients than they did 50 years ago. Because the nutrients aren’t in the soil, because we killed the soil. So it actually can’t extract the nutrients.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And it has-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So broccoli is 50% less nutrients than it did 50 years ago.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Exactly. As above, so below the plant is reflective. It’s micronutrient is reflective of the micronutrients of that soil. And when that soil is stripped from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides that are in the system, those nutrients don’t get into the plants and the microbiome of the soil is related to the microbiome of our gut, which we’re learning so much about-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Totally.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… is a driver for serotonin, and is a driver for so many different of our health systems. And so, yeah, the nutrient density piece of this I think is about to be a lot more popular.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It’s so key because, the ways we farm using tillage and then glyphosate, which is on 70% of all crops, the number one agrichemical, it’s basically a microbiome destroyer, of our gut and the soil. And it creates this horrible downstream consequence, forget about whether it causes cancer or not.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And then nitrogen fertilizer, which is about 400,000,000,000 pounds a year we put on the soil, literally kills the soil. And not like that then causes nitrous oxide to be released. So 300 times more potent greenhouse gas and carbon oxide. And if that weren’t enough, it then runs it off into the waterways causing nitrification, which leads to dead zones. And the Gulf of Mexico has when the size of New Jersey that kills 212,000 metric tons of fish. That’s a lot of food. And there’s 400 of these around the world. And in just the nitrogen itself uses one to 2% of our energy for its production from fracking, which releases methane, it’s the biggest production of methane is from fracking, which is from the nitrogen, from the fertilizer, from the… And then all these fertilizer companies are creating climate smart agriculture, which means they’re wanting to say use more fertilizer. It’s just, it’s the really horrible, it’s like a horrible viscous cycle, but there is a way out.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And it doesn’t have to be like that. And it’s scalable.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Like say, oh, nice organic farmer, that’s nice for your hippies. But actually the science is really clear that there is a way to regenerate soil, which other than the oceans is the biggest carbon stick on the planet. So how do we do that?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Things that you can do are, stop tilling, putting cover crops in which then adds to pollinators coming and receding, and more biodiversity. Bringing in animals, integrating livestock into your farms, which then also creates all sorts of nutrient density in the soil. And-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And by the way, we had 160,000,000 ruminants roaming this continent in America before we all showed up and they were pooping and peeing everywhere, and using their saliva, which stimulates plant growth. And they built up to 50 feet of top soil. If we mine, basically we extracted it and now we’re running out, and it’s estimated that we might run out in 60 harvests which is terrifying.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Not to mention, we massacred that herd in order to destabilize the native communities.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Well, there was that.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And they say, Lyla June is a Diné activist says that it wasn’t just that the natives followed the Buffalo, but the Buffalo also followed the natives. They lived in such symbiotic harmony where the native Americans were doing things like controlled burns and creating meadows and they actually all co-created the grasslands together. And it was done in such a state of reverence, what other people call like a sacred way of being of the wholeness, of really understanding all the dynamics of the ecosystem that we’re just not taught now. We’re taught-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

No.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… no, not as important things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

No. I mean, I think, they really understood those intimate relationships and they even had a word for it, Mitákuye Oyás’in, which means to all my relations, to understand they’re in relationship to soil and the plants, and the animals, and the sun, and water, and the air, all of it, it’s all of our relations. And we’ve lost that cause we kind of disconnected from our relationship to the earth. And the [inaudible 00:18:43] is that, the land is us and we’re the land, they get it. And we’ve just lost all that intimacy with our environment in a way that we think we don’t need it, but everything we do, all of our activities, all of our resources, everything where do, comes from the earth. And so-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And Buckminster Fuller often talked about how Darwin was really misinterpreted and it wasn’t just survival of the fittest, but really survival of the fitness within your ecosystem, how much you give back, how much you cooperate, how much you live in that sacred reciprocity, and cooperation that actually determines survival. And Lynn Margulis who with James Lovelock came up with a Gaia principle, really studied this a lot. I highly recommend looking into her work and symbiotic earth, the film about her, where she talks about symbiogenesis, is like the genesis and evolution coming from symbiotic organisms coming together. And there’s just so many different ways of knowing now that we can tune into, that are very different than the kind of like mechanistic, overly reductionist way of looking at things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… Yeah. There’s many sectors that need attention, the energy sector, education and women, reproductive sovereignty. These are actually climate solutions because empowered women empowers the world. But there are really sort scalable, practical ways that we can transform the way we grow food, which will impact our health, impact climate, the environment, economy, social justice. It’s so many ways. So it’s really this virtuous cycle once we do that and it regenerates all those systems.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And there’s new labels now and certifications, which weren’t around a couple years ago. So you can look for the regenerative organic certification, you can look for land to market certification, which came out of the Savory Institute. And there’s more and more ways to shop and eat regeneratively now than ever before. And also just meet your local farmers. The more names of the farmers I know of the things I’m eating, I think it’s directly related to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And Joel said that-

Amanda Ravenhill:

… health and happiness for me and all. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… Joel says it as, “Know the face that feed you.” I think that’s really cool.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And I remember I went to local farmers market, I bought little regenerative lamb, half a lamb, and put it in my freezer, it was like, oh, yes, this is right for my [inaudible 00:21:08].

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And just to say also in terms of regenerative agriculture, the potential, there’s the four per 1,000 initiative out of France that came out of the Paris climate talks. And it’s just 0.4% of soil carbon. If we can increase soil carbon by 0.4% everywhere in the world, it would offset all of emissions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Say that again.

Amanda Ravenhill:

All of them. Just 0.4% of soil carbon, if we increase that around the world, it could offset all of emissions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And regenerative agriculture can do much more than that. One, two, three, four, 5%, even more sometimes.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. Not to mention the water benefits and the nitrification, and increasing nutrient density and just more ethically relating to animals and plants. And, I mean, there’s just so many incredible, welcome unintended consequences that start as kind of this runaway regeneration, get it started.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And I think we’re in this exciting moment, Amanda, where I’m start to hear real shifts in not only policy, but in government and actions as well as private corporations. So the Buckminster suggest, partly through our efforts of food fixed campaign and others working on this, put $1,000,000,000 towards regenerative agriculture. And farmers were penalized before if they put cover crops on to protect the soil. Now they’re going to be incentivized to actually be carbon farmers. Nestle, which you think is one of the worst actors in the food business actually is committed by 2030, to have 80% of its supply chain be regenerative. That’s staggering, that’s the biggest food company in the world. And why is that happening? It’s happening because, as individuals we’re speaking out, we’re voting with our dollars, we’re voting with our voice, we’re voting with our vote. And that is starting to be recognized as an inevitability. So that gives me a lot of hope.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Hope. It gives me a lot of hope and I’m also super snarky when it comes to corporations, just because they have such a bad track record. So, yeah, we just need to make sure their version of climate smart agriculture, or regenerative agriculture is truly all the way there and not just checking a couple boxes and maybe creating some downstream harms.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yes, exactly.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

See, I think 60% of the climate smart alliance is funded by the nitrogen fertilizer companies, which are massive. And-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And are trying to own the data of all the farmers and it’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… And their-

Amanda Ravenhill:

… yeah, it’s kind of a mess.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… idea of kind of smart agriculture is pouring more nitrogen to soils to grow mores grains and beans for people in the developing world, which I think is a potential disaster.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Not to mention, yeah, just all the insecticides, the insect apocalypse, not a fun thing to know, but it’s happening. We’ve lost somewhere around 60% of the biomass of insects in the last 50 years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Fairly alarming. And that’s very much tied to pesticides. I remember just even when I was young driving down the highway, you would have so many bugs on your windshield and it’s not an issue at all anymore. They’re just not there now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

I used to be a gas jockey. That was my first job. And my job was washing the windows and every time, it’s like all the bugs and scraping all the bugs off. And now I’m like, I don’t remember last time I scraped a bug out my windshield, really.

Amanda Ravenhill:

It’s alarming.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. So we need to make sure as these commitments are happening, that they’re truly, truly regenerative and not just checking boxes off. Like I said, regeneration-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Rewind.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… is a journey ad we really need to be constantly stepping into what does it mean now? Because I think a lot of this work is multi-generational and we need to be playing chess, and we’re just trying to play checkers, and make it happen. But it’s so complex and I think we have the human ingenuity. We have almost 8,000,000,000 of us, creative human with so much heart and passion. And I think we’re playing too small stakes right now. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And there are real political obstacles. There are corporate obstacles and there are human obstacles, but all those are soluble. And, I think, as I begin to see the kinds of happening, I do get hopeful. I mean, it is a bit of a helpful moment, even as we’re sailing down to the Antarctic where the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet might just fall off and raise sea levels three feet the next 10 years, I still have hope.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. I do too. One thing that gives me hope, and this is going to sound funny from a climate person is carbon. And I think the reframing, so much of it has been demonizing carbon and we need to decarbonize, and all of this, but carbon is life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yes.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And there’s more and more ability for us to take this extra. There’s 1,000,000,000,000 excess tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. And so we get to take that and turn it into life in our oceans. We only have 3% of whales left that we used to have, we’re down to 50% of trees that we once had from 6,000,000,000,000 down to 3,000,000,000,000. We get to take all of that carbon and literally make a more green future, a more Varden future. Like what an opportunity that’s so beautiful? Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And we forget to bring it back into the soil and to just have more life. If you look at mammals, it’s disgusting, 96% of the mass of mammals are livestock and humans, there’s only 4% that are wild. And two and half of that, 2% of all mammals are cetacean, are the whales and dolphins just because they’re massive blue whale, weighs 60 tons. So there’s outside of whales and dolphins, there’s actually only 2% wild mammal biomass. Well, we get to take the 1,000,000,000,000 tons and bring that back into life, like mores giraffes, more zebras, more bugs, more nematodes, all of them. That gives me so much hope. Yeah. Following in love with carbon. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Reimagine the carbon. I like that.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… collaborators are standing by and they’re dual carbon atoms who love to collaborate.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It’s just in the right place right now.

Amanda Ravenhill:

The molecular level… Yeah. Atoms are like, let’s hold hands and they can teach us so much. So I think that’s a big shift that we can all go through. Let’s fall in love with carbon, you eat carbon for breakfast, you are carbon. Let’s go and really make this a moment of creating more carbon-based life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yes. Yeah. So Amanda, we covered a lot. So far we covered how to reimagine agriculture to make it restorative and regenerative versus extractive and destructive. But how do we get that done? Because it seems like a lot of this has to do with policy and corporations. There are very few corporations in the food industry, a few dozen that drive most of the decisions and policies are really driven by governments that are influenced by industry in their lobbying efforts, which by the way, agriculture and the food lobby is the biggest lobby by far, dwarfing oil, gas, and other lobbies. So what’s the role of government and corporations in helping create solutions to the climate crisis at scale?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Well specifically with regenerative agriculture, I see three kind of buckets of barriers. There’s cultural, technological and financial, and policy can help with all of those. Right? So as people are changing their eating habits, right now 75% of our foods are 12 species, five animals and 12 crops. And so it’s just, it’s really fragile and overly centralized. And so we need to change cultural habits and there’s different things in the farm bill and other ways that policy can help influence that culture.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Then on the technology side, there’s just a lot to do from everything that’s happening in Web 3 and crypto to incentivize folks to just having the no-till tractors and other things. There’s a lot on the technology side, I’m on the board of Regen Foundation, which is the foundation nonprofit side of Regen Network, which is using the blockchain in order to create, basically a ledger, a marketplace for ecosystem services, that’ll incentivize farmers and actually get them the financial benefit that they deserve for creating planetary health.

Amanda Ravenhill:

So not just carbon credits, but beyond pollinator and watershed credits and we have over 40 eco credits in development that will incentivize all of this change to happen. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So it’s-

Amanda Ravenhill:

And then there’s all sorts of other financial instruments, and new funds like rePlant Capital who speak about, but there’s a lot of other funds for black farmers, for different BIPOC coalitions of folks who are kind of taking the land back. There’s a lot of land acquisition and land rights reform that needs to be done and a huge role for philanthropy with incredible benefit. I mean, I think it’s one of the most impactful ways that you can spend your philanthropic dollars, is in regenerative agriculture.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… Yes. But it seems also there’s financial incentives that are there, that are also good. And I think, when innovation is driven through financial reward, it actually accelerates a lot faster than philanthropy, right? So it seems like whether it’s rePlant Capital or other groups that I heard are helping farmers bridge the gap between converting from factory farming to regenerate farming, there’s a lot of change that have to happen. They have to get out of that toxic loop of crop insurance, the bank loans, and the agrochemical seed companies.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Basically holding-

Amanda Ravenhill:

It’s basically-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… the hostage, in ways that prevent them from actually doing the right thing and making more money, and restoring soil, and preserving water, and conserving water in their soils, and increasing biodiversity. So it’s like the right thing to do is actually the most economically beneficial thing to do. But the system actually prevents farmers from doing it.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So many farmers are locked in to basically being invented servants to Tyson and whoever these larger conglomerates are.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

I met people who are actually creating private equity innovations, where they’re actually bridging the gap of funding for farmers, because they see the profit on the backend. And it’s actually more profitably regenerative farmer. So they’re actually doing it from private industry when the government is not doing it, which is kind of cool.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. There’s a group called Jubilee Justice that’s working specifically with black farmers in the south on sustainable rice cultivation. And that’s a really exciting one too.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. So you see the beacons of hope out there in business and in innovation, and farming, and technology, and crypto spaces, and philanthropy that are all sort of driving in the right direction. I mean, clearly it’s not happening fast enough, but you feel like we’re kind of at a tipping point when things are going to start to move faster.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I like to talk about, there’s the runaway climate change, kind of doom and gloom part of it, but something we need to look at and then there’s a runaway regeneration on the other side of like this, kind of upward spiral of what I call cascading benefits. So they’re not just co-benefits but they’re these virtuous loops, these virtuous cycles that then reinforce previous things. So if you invest in women small holder farmers, they produce 30% more yields. And when women have more income, they invest it back in their local economy, which creates that small and medium size enterprise economic churn, which then further decentralize the overly, overly fragile, centralized global economy that we have right now, which is just ridiculous.

Amanda Ravenhill:

I mean, we’re just, we’re bred for commodities in the way the economy works right now. And it’s extremely, extremely fragile. And it’s a remnant of colonization where we were going into, or settlers were going into these new countries and just designing the agriculture system for export back to their countries. And so all of the kind of global economy around export is actually a remnant of colonialism, which is obsolete

Dr. Mark Hyman:

There’s a very good book on this called, Inflamed. And we’ve had Rupa Marya and Raj Patel on the podcast talking about your book, Inflamed and the colonization of the food system. And essentially the decolonization is about empowering local communities, local farmers to actually create thriving regenerative ecosystems that support not only the food, but also restore the communities. And right now most rural communities in America are just so degraded and beaten down. And we’re seeing some epidemics of opioid addiction, and violence, and abuse. And just, it’s so tragic, and the downstream consequences, the side effects of doing this are all good.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right, right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It’s all good. So a lot of people say, will say, “Well the economics aren’t there, it costs too much money.” And one of the most striking things from Project Drawdown was the economic analysis of all the solutions. So how much did it cost and how much did it save or how much did it make? And it was shocking. So maybe take us through a little bit about the beneficial economics of a regenerative system of agriculture and of a regenerative mindset of creating wealth and value through actually doing the right thing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. So the bottom line with Project Drawdown from the initial analysis was that, solving climate change, getting to Drawdown where concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere decline, 10 years later temperatures decline in about 2050, that all of those solutions combined as a $74,000,000,000,000 business opportunity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Say that again. $74,000,000,000,000?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Will be made from fixing-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Solving climate change.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… Solving climate.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And that’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It’s not going to cost us, it’s going to save us.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Oh yeah, yeah. And that’s not even measuring all the kind of hard to measure benefits of happiness and wellbeing, and-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Joy.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Yes, exactly. Yeah. And doesn’t also take into count the business as usual track, which is, with three degrees, $550,000,000,000,000 in damages.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. So, it sort of doesn’t account for the $550,000,000,000,000 that would not be spent because we do the right thing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So it seems like a no brainer.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So why aren’t governments and why aren’t industry leaders just running after this?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think a lot of it is because essentially what we call the oligarchy, Princeton did a study five or six years ago around whether the U.S was a democracy or not, and analyzing kind of interests, and what lobbying groups, and what laws, and policies are passed. They declared it’s an oligarchy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Oh.Wow!

Amanda Ravenhill:

And then if you look at what companies are actually influencing like Exxon and Brex Tillerson becoming our secretary of state, which, if you just said that about another country, like, oh, the head CEO-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

The head of [crosstalk 00:36:21] became… Right.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… of, yeah, became their number three of their government, you would laugh and be like, “Oh, the U.S should invade. They’re really not doing a good job with it.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Exactly.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Anyway, so basically, they’re just, our politicians are in bed with our companies and Buckminster Fuller calls them super national corporations, because they have surpassed, they’re actually more powerful than-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Than nations, yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… than nation states. Yeah. So I think, they’ve purposely seated doubt around climate change and they have, just again and again, not proven themselves to be trustworthy in this. And many corporations, even as they are starting to get into this, spend more money talking about what they’re doing than what they’re actually doing on green or sustainable interventions. And so, yeah, I think a big part of it is just the entrenched interests and lobbyists cycle, and government that we have in this country, and others, which is just all based on elections and politicing, and getting elected again. So one thing I’m really excited about, which is one of the demands of Extinction Rebellion, is citizens assemblies. This idea of kind of governance through ordinary people getting elected through lottery or kind of a jury duty system.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

To local posts or to federal?

Amanda Ravenhill:

It’ll start with local, but I think it could go all the way on up.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

I mean, you’re hitting on something that it really is important. We’ve talked a bit about on the podcast before, but the kind of economics of government are a challenge because of the way the lobby laws work and since united actually allowing corporations to support huge amounts of money, the campaigns. These policy makers want to do the right thing often, but they’re so locked into their reelection cycle that depends on the money from the industry.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And campaign finance reform is probably one of the most important things we could possibly do to fix all of this. And yet it’s almost an impossible task. It’s like, it needs to be kind of become a thing, but it’s not… Now, people really barely talk about it. Some politicians bring it up here and there, and now, but, I mean, John McCain said it, I heard him talk, he’s like, “This is just such a corrupt system.” And a friend of mine’s a Congressman, he says he spends 50% of his time on the phone or in person-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Dialing problems. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… raising money. And I’m thinking about, wow, congressmen are half of their time is raising money, not governing our country, that’s insane.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. There’s a great documentary that’s going to come out this summer, all about citizens assemblies called, Called Upon to Serve, it’s by a nonprofit called Join of By Four. And definitely recommend checking that out. They did a prototype of it around COVID in the state of Michigan and showed that diverse people can come together and actually come up, even with something so controversial as COVID with a set of policies that they all agree upon. Yeah. So-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

That’s just-

Amanda Ravenhill:

… I think a big transformation is about to happen there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… So it’s sort of decentralizing government?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Decentralizing agriculture.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Just having normal, ordinary people that are actually reflective of the people who are part of this country-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

What a concept.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… representing what and governing-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Wait, wait, wait a representative democracy.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Ou.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Isn’t that a great idea?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

What a great idea.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. But then I also look at corporate personhood, as, Fuller said that we would build all the right tools for all the wrong reasons first. Right? And so now corporate personhood is being used as a way to grant personhood to rights of nature.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yes.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Right.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And so what are all these things that we built in a kind of a weaponry, growth for growth sake mindset that we’re now kind of up cycling these social and otherwise technologies into this new living systems, regenerative paradigm, which is not new. Ancient wisdom, traditions have done for a long time, but we’re remembering how to live as nature again.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It’s true. I mean, the amount we spend on the wrong things is staggering. And the economics are all shifting to actually make it work so we can have the right profitability from what we’re doing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And I’d be stuck in the vicious loop.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right. And I think we really are at this tipping point that’s why I have this tattoo on my shoulder around Buckminster Fuller says that we’re at like a chick just hatched from our eggshell. And that fossil fuels was actually this embryotic fluid to teach us all of these different tools and build all of this different technology, but like a chicken side of an egg it was just growing for growth’s sake and didn’t even really know what it was doing. And then now it’s a fragile moment, right? Birth can often cause death, but we actually are far more capable than we know.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

If we use like the PSYOPS, psychographic analysis that got Bolsonaro and Trump elected to actually do real climate action. Wow! We could change things overnight. We’re using GPS instead of for spying, we’re using it for monitoring the biosphere. We’re using drones for planting trees instead of just weaponry and overall Bucky called it, “Weaponry to living rate.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So sort of taking things that we built, that maybe haven’t been used in a way that creates good, but actually transmitting them into the good.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Like you said, the corporation, our people-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Corporate personhood. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… But now nature can be an entity like Lake Erie was so polluted by the runoff from Mexican fertilizers that created the algal blooms or nitrification basically sucking all the oxygen out of the water and killing the fish that they made actually Erie a person. And that has the ability to sue and actually get its rights accounted for, which is pretty amazing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. That’s beautiful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. So a lot of what you’re talking about seems like a win, win, win, win solution, which is really not how we often think about climate change. It’s always the winners and losers. The oil nation is going to lose, [inaudible 00:42:33] is going to lose. How do we map out a future? That’s a win, win, win, that is focusing on solutions and regeneration, and get out of the despair, and help the facilitation of working together to really create the change.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I think again, calling on, on Fuller’s insights, Bucky talked about how we had crossed this threshold in the early 70s of actually going from scarcity to sufficiency, that we actually do now have all of the food we need, all of the materials we need to take care of everyone on the planet at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. And all of our entities, our institutions are wrapped up in, I can only profit at someone else’s expense, still a win, lose zero sum game. When in reality, we can be in this win for all. Like, not only can I help you and you help me, but in the process of helping each other, we make it easier for everyone else to thrive. And he said in early 70s that it would take about 50 years for all institutions to catch up.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And there would be this moment where it would kind of feel like everything was crumbling, but it was actually just this reorientation in our education system, in our healthcare system, in our food system, et cetera, over into this, there’s actually enough. And I think from there, from that understanding of a non-zero-sum game or positive-sum game, however you want to call it, game dynamic, there’s a generosity that comes up. That’s the emergent quality from it. And so when we can all act in generosity, which is very much how nature works across the board, not in every case, but then we can live in a whole, whole different way that is more joyful than, I think any of us could really imagine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It’s a beautiful future you’re painting. And I think it’s actually possible. So everybody listening is thinking, God, what can I do? There’s big corporations, there’s oil companies, there’s the food industry. The aggregate [inaudible 00:44:31] industry, healthcare industry are all taking us down the wrong path and what can I do as one person? How do I not fall into climate despair and just get drunk and wait until it’s all over. How do we start with our own lives to support regeneration or our climate?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I would one just start by spending more of your time outside. I think there’s so much to learn by being a part of nature and recognizing your role as nature instead of apart from it. And with that kind of gain this kind of systems orientation and see yourself as more of a verb than a noun, just like kind of see yourself in this dynamic, co-arising ongoingness that is the world and less in this kind of like cause and effect mechanistic way of understanding the world that we’ve been trained to do, which ends up in kind of a lot of blame and shame, and just perpetuating the patriarchy. And so what are the ways that you can experiment with different ways of being that might not sound very tangible to some folks that might have struck a chord with some. Another thing to do would be to read Project Drawdown, the book that we created, which has 100 different solutions to climate change and find one in there that sings to you and develop a passion project around it.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And whether that’s working at your kid’s school or doing advocacy around it, there’s so much work to do. There’s so many shots on goal required for every one of these solutions. So just get involved in the solution side of things and then watch what you’re reading, and listening to, because we are what we read, and we are what we listen to. And so how can you kind of step into that future that works into that future that is regenerative. And then once you’re in that, you’ll kind of change your purchasing habits and where you’re spending your time. Right? And so maybe you’re buying a tomato that’s 40 cents more because it’s organic, but you’re realizing that by doing that, you’re supporting that organic farm and you’re supporting that person that’s working for the organic farm. And they’re going to make it different purchasing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And so there’s this multiplier effect, this ripple that goes and it’s way more than 40 cents, right? If you track it’s, 10s of 1,000s of dollars that you’re putting into the future that you want or not less, a little less climate oriented, but ecotoxicity oriented when you’re getting a bag of chips or getting a can of soda, like what’s going to happen to that afterwards? Are you making a five second decision or are you making a 500 year decision? Is this convenient for right now? But thinking, just training yourself, giving yourself that long-term stamina of like, what is the geological impact of these things?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So our little choices make a difference is what you’re saying.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Huge difference, huge difference, yes. Especially right now, because the best case scenario and the worst case scenario have never been farther apart. Yeah. Not just for climate change, but for biodiversity, for ecotoxicity, for phosphorus, just so many of these planetary boundaries, and that we’re staring in the face. And so what happens now, the slightest change can make this huge delta in the future. Right?

Amanda Ravenhill:

And so everything that we do, including talking to others, I think we all underestimate the influence that we have over our families, over our friends, our colleagues, our alumni organizations. I mean, we have voices whether we have any fans or followers, or not, all of us have influence over people. Our uncle or our uncle’s friend who happens to be a VP at J.P Morgan or whoever, go out and talk to these people.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Talk to people. Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And just be honest, you don’t have to know all of the answers, but just go honestly with your full heart and say, “There’s something here that we should be talking about.” And then honestly, looking within, how am I being a hypocrite? And not being scared of that, because it’s a hypocritical era.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

I mean it’s impossible to not be right.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

I mean, everybody has, how good your heart is and your intention is, making the right choices is really hard because the default environment we live in forces us to make the wrong choices all the time. I’m thirsty, I’m giving a podcast, there wasn’t a waterfront, I didn’t have my bottle, a part of that was on me. I’m like got a can, it’s an aluminum can, it’s recyclable.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And hopefully we’ll be recycled, but it’s, we all are subject to those challenges every single day. And if we make incremental changes, it makes a difference. I mean, food waste is, part of Project Drawdown was the number three solution. So imagine if everybody just start a compost pile and there’s even urban devices to make compost in your apartment.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right. And then take that compost and grow food, and realize that food is medicine, not to mention all the medicinal things that you can actually grow to make your own medicine, there’s so many great knock on effects from-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. I mean, we turned our-

Amanda Ravenhill:

… doing that sort of thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

… We turned our whole backyard in college into a garden. We just took out the lawn and we made a backyard. And then we, Ron Finley who’s from South Central L.A., turned food deserts into food forest by literally planting in the sidewalks, the grass strip in the sidewalk. And he had had, I got penalized and fine by the city of L.A., and went and changed the law so they actually could grow food in their urban environment. So there’s little things that can happen. And I think that wherever you’re called to act, wherever you’re linked to whoever you know, this is all hands on deck moment. I mean, we’re about to arrive in Antarctica and most people don’t understand what a critical role Antarctica plays in the entire global ecosystem and climate.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

But we’re already seeing massive shifts and 3,000,000,000,000 tons of ice lost. And we’re looking very realistically at losing entire West Antarctica Ice Sheet in our ice sheet, which could raise sea levels three feet within 10 years, which means that 1,000,000,000s of people will be affected in one way or another. And I mean, I think that’s sort of sobering and it both makes you want to both run high, but also stand up on screen. And I think you kind of have to fight that for everybody has figure out where’s their little place that they can show up and do something that matters.

Amanda Ravenhill:

And give yourself the space to stand up and scream, and go and hide. But try to find some connection so someone can hold you in those tears, because the grief needs to be expressed. But through the grief we can find whatever’s next for us. It’s going to be different for all of us. But if we cringe, it’s like giving birth, we’re giving birth to a new world, if you cringe during labor, I don’t know, I don’t have kids, but from what I’ve heard-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. Not a good thing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

You’ve delivered what?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

3,500 babies.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… 500 plus babies. What is it like? How can we learn from labor as well?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Breathing and relaxing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. Giving it space.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Giving it space.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Giving the pain space.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right? And so I think that’s what we need to do with our climate grief is metabolize it so that we can birth in this new world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And I mean, you say you’re a… What is it, an optionist?

Amanda Ravenhill:

I’m optionistic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Optionistic?

Amanda Ravenhill:

… instead of optimistic. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Optionistic.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And, I think, listening to your work and what you’ve been doing for the last decades, it’s very inspiring and it actually kind of shifts the conversation from one of despair to one of hope, and even the hope that we could end climate crisis in one generation. So, if that’s true, where should we start?

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Finding and supporting and learning from the grassroots leaders around the world who are already doing it. So that’s what we’re doing with Buckminster Fuller Institute and Regenerosity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. Talk about Regenerosity.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. So Regenerosity is a coalition between Buckminster Fuller Institute, Lush Cosmetics and the UN Development Programme, and their equator prize. So all three organizations were running prize programs, trying to identify the bright spots, kind of the lighthouses and the regenerative paradigm. People who are doing everything from nurseries of heirloom seeds in the Amazon to teaching permaculture to refugees in Uganda, to food forests in India. And we are networking them together in learning groups and then also funneling financial capital from larger family offices or corporations to them, so that they can strengthen and become their own network of peer-to-peer regenerative leaders around the world. So our principles behind this is that we’re trying to do so in a decolonized approach to philanthropy.

Amanda Ravenhill:

So rather than saying, “Oh, we have wealth and are likely white, and from the west as philanthropists, we have the right answers. Apply to us and maybe we’ll give you funding.” And, yeah. Instead of that old model, which is basically neocolonialism, we come in and we say, “What do you need? You’ve already won one of our prizes or been shortlisted for one of our prizes. We trust you. You’re verified. We’ve done the due diligence.” We’ve spent over 15 years and 6,000,000 finding all of these organizations. So now it’s about helping them thrive and then doing flow funding experiments of direct giving to them. And then they become grant tours to their networks.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Wow!

Amanda Ravenhill:

So it’s really about-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So it’s kind of a multiplier effect.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s about direct giving, but it’s about reparations. It’s about putting the money and the power in the hands of people who have been exploited and oppressed, and marginalized by the patriarchy for way too many generations.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

So this is sort of a marketplace for people who are already acting and doing the right thing that are going to make the big difference to change things. And Regenerosity is a platform for people to access a way to support those existing innovations that are already making a difference.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. Support and also learn from, right? Because this all about reciprocity instead of saying, “Oh, I have financial capital.” It’s saying, “Everyone is rich. Everyone is a wealth holder, we just hold different forms of capital.” And these people have natural capital, experiential capital, intellectual capital, cultural capital, social capital, all of these things, but they can’t play in the modern economy, because we all care about currency. And so it’s about kind of recalibrating to these eight forms of regenerative capital and reorienting, and rebalancing, which is partially what we try to do at Regen Network as well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

That’s great. Now you probably know more about this than almost anybody on the planet, in the top, probably 1% of the amount of stuff you know about this, which could easily make you go to bed and never get out of bed. And yet, you’re kind of hopeful. Talk about your vision for a hopeful Regenerative future.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s easier to laugh in public than cry, but I cry almost every day about this stuff. It’s that once, the greatest joy I’ve ever experienced to work on this work, and also brings me such tender hearted, but wholeness of recognizing and facing where we are with the world. And so I think it’s holding that shadow and light, both that enables me to stretch into the light. And, yeah, like I said before, I’m optimistic, the grand variety of futures and multiverses ahead. Most of them point to a lot of disaster, if not collapse. And 60% of climate scientists are saying somewhere between three and four degrees by 2100 and they’re not even talking about declines of temperatures. And so it’s actually only a small portion of us who are talking about 1.5, even still being possible.

Amanda Ravenhill:

1.5 degrees sea above pre-industrial levels of warming. And so we still have that option though, it’s still possible, even though it’s the window of opportunity continues to close, because we’re not even slowing down on a lot of these trends yet, even though we’ve known for generations now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah.

Amanda Ravenhill:

But there’s still an option and so that’s what gives me hope, and it’s more of kind of an engineer’s approach of like, we need to maintain homeostasis in order for all of these other things to be able to exist in the world. And so that’s kind of the base foundation of it all. And so there’s an option, let’s go, it’s like a exit path through a burning building.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. And then in doing that, it generates value as you said. So as I think about this conversation, it sort of makes me kind of think a little bit about our healthcare system because our current healthcare system is one in $5 of our economy, 80% of that, one in $5 of the 16,000,000,000,000 is completely preventable. And if we fix our food. And if people eat healthy, these are completely preventable conditions.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And so we’re literally throwing money out by not doing the right thing, and continue to pay for all the downstream consequences. And the downstream consequences of not addressing climate change right now are even far more drastic than what we’re facing in healthcare.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And yet the flip side is that by doing the right thing, it really can be solved, and solved in a generation.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). It can be solved in a generation. I mean, my hope is that my nibbling, my nieces and nephews, kids will never have to know how scary it was right now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. Well, I’ll be laughing and having fun.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And that, by doing this work too, by doing it in a good way, we’re unwinding capitalism and colonialism at the same time. Right? It’s not, it’s like the all three Cs, right? Not just climate, but colonialism and capitalism.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Yeah. The old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore. And that’s why we’re seeing all these different kinds of governments and threats of democracy, and capitalism. It’s really interesting.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Right. And climate is a threat multiplier on top of all of these really fragile geopolitical conditions right now. And so, how do we, yeah, look at the whole system, climate is but a symptom of a series of broken systems upon one another.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

And so we’re in the sort a pivotal moment where, if we all act, individuals, governments, business, philanthropy, we really could shift this and it sort of… But it actually can be shifted by a very few people doing the right thing, to quote Margaret and me, who said often that, never doubt that a small group of highly committed individuals can change the world. In fact, that’s the only thing that ever has. And so I always feel like, where am I going to do my one thing? Where am I going to give my value? And if I ask myself that question every day, how can I make the world a little bit better place? What are the choices I make differently? How do I reimagine my life? How can I be regenerative in my life instead of extracting, in I in my choices, in most of my dollars, my voice, my vote?

Dr. Mark Hyman:

It does make a difference. It really does make a difference. And we’ve seen massive movements and cultural shifts that we could never imagine slavery. We think of slavery, for example, our entire economy was based on slavery.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

I mean, there was a civil war because of it. Hopefully it won’t end up in that situation, but that the entire economic fabric of America was based on slavery and now it ended. So this is not an impossible thing. So I think we’re in this really beautiful moment. And I just thank you for your work, it’s so selfless and dedicated, and I know it’s cost you a lot in many ways of your emotional wellbeing, but, I think I hope at the end of it, we’re going to see a place where we can all dance and celebrate together.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah, yeah, I like to talk about and in 2053, when the earth cools, according to the latest Drawdown model that we’ll have the biggest party ever. So instead of being apocalypse preppers, we could be party preppers.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Party preppers. I love it. Okay. And people who can learn more about your work can go to, regenerosity.world and help support that.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. Also regen.network to find out about that marketplace for ecosystem services, Drawdown.org.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Read, Drawdown, get the book.

Amanda Ravenhill:

Definitely a mandatory reading.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

There’s another book Paul recommend called Regenerate, which is also quite good. Yeah. And I’m featured in that a little bit, but-

Amanda Ravenhill:

Yeah. And if you’re into Sci-Fi, Ministry for the Future is really good and has gotten quite a bit of play by Kim Stanley Robinson, and a new one kind of in that same genre called, Embedded, just came out, which is more of a coming of age, novel, little bit more for young adult, fiction, but it’s for all ages really. And that’s just a really beautiful-

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Amazing.

Amanda Ravenhill:

… beautiful fiction that kind of opens your eyes to what’s possible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:

Amazing. Well, Amanda, thank you so much for being on The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’ve been listening to this podcast and it moved you, this is one you really should share with your community, with your friends and family on social media. Everybody needs to hear this story. It’s both terrifying and hopeful. And I think we really have to use our collective voices to spread the word. So please, particularly this podcast, share it, leave a comment. What are you doing? What are the creative solutions you’ve found? I mean, we don’t have all the answers we need everybody’s ideas, hearts, and minds on this. And, of course, subscribe where every hear the podcast and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Lauren:

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.

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

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