The Sustainability Diet Overview
B iologists have suggested that we are nearing, or have already entered into, the 6th mass extinction period. While that is terrifying, the truth is, causing extinction is an old pastime for our species. In fact, the mere existence of humans has caused such ecological stress that we have been responsible for the demise of half of the megafauna in the continents which we have inhabited. And, true to our nature, our species continues this trend of environmental decline and extinction in the footsteps of our ancestors today like we always have…with our diets.
For 10,000 years since the agricultural revolution, till agriculture has been a disaster of the natural world, with topsoil and biodiversity losses the most frequent and most evident casualties. In fact, geologically speaking, agriculture stands out among the most significant and explosive events to appear (and mar) the face of the earth— changing it even faster than even the origin of life itself.
Unfortunately, even with current agricultural “technologies” like synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and monocropping, we continue to worsen the natural condition; almost one-third of the world’s arable land has been lost to erosion and is plagued with desertification; the United States alone we have lost over 75% of all our agricultural biodiversity— shockingly— in only the last 100 years. What is apparent is that in order to reverse the devastation and change course to avoid falling off the biodiversity cliff into oblivion, we have to (at the very least) understand the concept of sustainable agriculture.
Without a firm grasp on food history, food politics, and food production systems, it is impossible to understand agricultural sustainability as an entire concept. Unfortunately, with all of the conflicting (and confusing) literature circulating, this can be a bit tricky. The Sustainability Diet will not only help you make sense of the conflicting reports by exposing political agendas and shoddy research while providing a historical context— it proposes a new way of thinking about the concept of sustainability altogether: a new method of agricultural assessment that we’ll call The Agricultural Sustainability Spectrum (TASS). The Agricultural Sustainability Spectrum allows us to identify markers of sustainability of a particular agricultural system by its capacity to withstand a social, economic, political, or food systems collapse in terms of the fragility (A system that breaks from a collapse of this sort is considered fragile (or unsustainable); or antifragile (sustainable), a system that can withstand and perhaps improves from such a “Black Swan” event.
The Agricultural Sustainability Spectrum also proves Sir Albert Howards theorem that the health of the land, soil, animal, plant, and human are all intertwined, and that absolute sustainability/antifragility occurs when all of these things are in homeostasis. With a new understanding of Agricultural Sustainability, The Sustainability Diet also sets the platform for proposing solutions to avert the crises of desertification and depressed biodiversity/ imbalanced ecosystems using methods that challenge conventional wisdoms on environmental conservation—methods with a focus on restoration, instead.
The Sustainability Diet also includes one major call to action— in your kitchen! Without your help, sustainability cannot be achieved, and to aid you in your quest to join in saving the planet with your new Sustainability Diet, you’ll find an entire array of delectable nose-to-tail dishes along with resources to help you locate your favorite new food supplier: your local farmer!
Poignant Truths of the Sustainability Diet:
The health of the land, soil, animal, plant, and human are all intertwined.
Abandoning our species-appropriate, hunter-gatherer diet in favor of a species-inappropriate diet was a huge part of agricultural unsustainability.
Absolute Sustainability / Antifragility hinges upon two things:
Ecological Balance and Biodiversity (which hinges upon species-appropriate diets) and,
Decentralized Food Systems (which hinges upon a favorable political, economic, and cultural environment).
Overview of the The Sustainability Diet by Karen Pendergrass
Karen Pendergrass is an ENTP who is an enthusiast in a myriad of areas including Agricultural Sustainability, Food Politics, Applications of Bacteriotherapy, Autoimmunity, Color Theory, Hard Determinism, and Social Engineering. She is the founder of the non-profit Paleo Foundation, Paleo Movement Magazine, International Paleo Movement Group (IPMG) , and author of The Sustainability Diet.