I often get asked why I started NuIT. The simple answer was to solve a personal challenge, but there’s another reason. I have not shared it with many people, but I think it coincides well with Earth Day, so here it goes.
Many years ago I was lucky enough to travel the world as an alpine ski racer, often visiting some of the most beautiful and remote mountain ranges in the world. Local families opened their homes, offering glimpses of their daily life. They had very few possessions to their name, but yet were some of the happiest people I had ever met. It’s weird saying this, but it was these experiences that made me fall in love with humanity.
One of the most beautiful thing about humans is our consciousness; our ability to give and receive love, feel empathy and compassion, care for one another and work towards a collective good. However, this beauty, or state of peace, is extremely fragile.
Climate change is the biggest challenge human kind has ever faced. It will displace people and animal life, interfere with our access to food and nourishment, cause ever more extreme and unpredictable weather and climate events, lead to mass species extinction, cost our global economy trillions of dollars, etc. What I fear, in the midst of all of this, is that we will lose trust in one another and the very fabric that makes us human. I am hopefully, however, we can overcome this challenge, and in the process redefine our impact on this planet.
So, what does this have to do with a plant-based diet?
Four years ago I had the opportunity to do a field study in Uganda as part of my nutrition program at UBC. I worked in a rural medical clinic that specialized in infant and child malnutrition. The most inspiring, and also disheartening, moments was hearing the stories of the women who brought their sick children to the clinic. The lack of food and proper nourishment was almost always attributable to climate change. Food handouts were provided as an acute treatment, but obviously not sustainable. The only way to truly solve this problem, was to solve climate change.
The thing that frustrated me the most, and that still keeps me awake at night, it that we, the wealthiest countries in the world, are the greatest contributors to climate change (Canada being at the top per capita emissions), and thus in my opinion are the ones to blame.
We have the resources to mitigate much of the negative impacts of climate change, but billions of people are not so fortunate. For this reason, I think it is on us to point the finger towards ourselves, acknowledge our fortunate position, and do as much as we can to not only reduce our carbon footprint but be leaders in demonstrating that we can have a positive impact on this planet.
Without a doubt, a plant-based diet is the most environmentally sustainable way to feed our growing population. It is the only way, in my opinion, all humans can access the nutrition they need to be healthy and thrive, while having a positive impact on our planet.
I choose a plant-based diet not only for my health but also the health of all the amazing and inspiring humans I have come across in my life and those I have yet to meet. I love humanity and I want it to prosper, and I believe a plant based diet is an essential transition to ensure a better life for ourselves, our planet and all future generations.
This is a topic I am extremely passionate about, and can probably discuss forever, but I hope this post provides a little more context as to why I started NuIT and the change we hope to support in trying to make this world a better place. If you have any questions, or wish to discuss anything further please reach out. Thanks, Steph.