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Irony – Living in Cities is now environmentally more healthy than the country – #activity

This image shows a shift in lifespan. Back in the day living in the city such as New York was bad for your health and lifespan. Today people in New York live linger and healthier lives. Why?

This article suggests that once the crime issues had been addressed in the 1990′s, that it was the basic design of the city that has made the difference. Above all people are more active in New York – they don’t drive everywhere - mainly they walk. So we see the activity issue in play again – for in rural areas, we all get into the car for any reason. New York has 2 out of the 3 areas of Evolutionary Fit all there by design. Rural areas have none of them. You have to work hard in the rural areas to find this fit – odd isn’t it. Here are the details..

The new reality was that living in the suburbs and the country was the killer. In January 2005, Vlahov and his colleagues penned a manifesto they cleverly called “The Urban Health ‘Advantage,’ ” and published it in the Journal of Urban Health. Cities, they posited, were now the healthiest places of all, because their environment conferred subtle advantages—and guided its citizens, often quite unconsciously, to adopt healthier behaviors.

Three years ago, Lawrence Frank, a professor of urban planning at the University of British Columbia, set out to measure this effect, examining 10,858 people in Atlanta and the type of neighborhood they lived in. Some were in purely residential suburban neighborhoods, where you had to get in your car to buy a carton of milk; others lived in “mixed” downtown areas with shops within walking distance. When he checked the results, the health difference was shockingly large: A white man who lived in a more urban, mixed-use area was fully ten pounds lighter than a demographically identical guy who lived in a sprawling suburb.

“The more you drive, the more you weigh,” Frank tells me after I call him to talk about it. He was unsurprised when I described New York’s increases in life expectancy. “You put people in an environment where public transportation is rational and driving is almost impossible, and it would be shocking not to see this outcome,” he says. Other scientists suggest that New York’s benefits do not occur merely because the city is walkable. It’s also because New York is old and filled with attractive architecture and interesting street scenes—since, as it turns out, aesthetically pretty places lure people out of their homes and cars. A 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health found that people living in buildings built before 1973 were significantly more likely to walk one-mile distances than those living in areas with newer architecture—because their environments were less architecturally ugly.

At the same time, New Yorkers are also more likely to visit parks than people who live in sprawl, because the parks are closer at hand. And proximity matters, as a study by Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at the rand Corporation, discovered. When she examined the use of several parks in Los Angeles, she found that almost half the people using any given park lived no more than a quarter-mile away. In contrast, only 13 percent of the people using the park had come from more than a mile away. “The farther you are, the less willing you are to go to the park,” she notes.

Interestingly, urban theorists believe it is not just the tightly packed nature of the city but also its social and economic density that has life-giving properties. When you’re jammed, sardinelike, up against your neighbors, it’s not hard to find a community of people who support you—friends or ethnic peers—and this strongly correlates with better health and a longer life. Then there are economies of scale: A big city has bigger hospitals that can afford better equipment—the future of medicine arrives here first. We also tend to enjoy healthier food options, since demanding foodies (vegetarians and the like) are aggregated in one place, making it a mecca for farm-fresh produce and top-quality fish, chicken, and beef. There’s also a richer cultural scene than in a small town, which helps keep people out and about and thus mentally stimulated.

Here is a link to a pdf by David Vlahov on the “Urban Health Advantage that inspired this article and this further research.

So we see here the full irony – a big city like New York offers us at least 2 out the the 3 major areas of “Fit”

  1. By design it promotes activity
  2. It offers the best chance of finding your valued tribal role in a community that cares for you – Seinfeld!

So if you then eat real food – you have the trifecta! And  a place like New York offers better food too – like a magnet..

We also tend to enjoy healthier food options, since demanding foodies (vegetarians and the like) are aggregated in one place, making it a mecca for farm-fresh produce and top-quality fish, chicken, and beef.

Your Lifespan – Part 2 – How you and I get ill

You get ill when you look like this – this is how I looked aged 59 – I weighed 205 lbs. How I look here has all the signs that you have not lived your life according to the rules.

This is how I looked aged 18 just as I was going out to celebrate my sister’s 16th birthday. I weighed 140 lbs. I was just about to go to South Africa to work as a diamond prospector.  I would walk 11 miles a day in the Kalahari desert and think nothing of it. I was at my peak of fitness.

This story is not all going to be about weight though. It is going to be about knowledge and hope.

This new fat and unfit me was also a new thing. For right up until my late 40′s I was relatively thin and still able to do a lot of things.

Then one day in my 50″s, it seemed as if a switch has been turned on. Each year, I put on a few pounds and became progressively weaker. Then about 58, this process started to accelerate. My knees also were hurting a lot and I was investigating knee replacement! But I thought that all of this was normal.

I thought aged 59, that putting on weight and feeling poorly was my destiny. After all we all get fat and ill as we age – don’t we?

I did try the conventional way – a bit. My wife Robin begged me to lose the tummy. The conventional wisdom meant that I had to take a lot more exercise and I had to eat less. I tried. I signed up and took more exercise but I injured myself and felt awkward and gave up. And I loved my food…. So like so many of us, I was resigned. The “Cure” that all talk about was too hard for me.

Anyway, I told myself that this was my destiny. I would be like all the other people and get ill as I got older. If I had not learned what I know now and if I had done nothing

What had happened to me is surely what has happened to millions – maybe to you too.

When did the “switch” turn on for you and you started to get fat and weak? Do you think that, like me, that this is the new “normal” for you? Do you think that that this is all that is going on?

For what I have learned that this is not all about the weight and the visible?

What is really going on is that inside of you and I is a progression of deterioration that will lead to the chronic diseases that plague us today.

So how and why do we get them? And why do they seem to turn up suddenly as if a switch is thrown? Why is medicine so bad at preventing us from getting them? Why does medicine do such a bad job of “curing” us – for once we get heart disease, we have it. Once we get depression, we have it. Once we get cancer, it can come back. Once we get Type 2 Diabetes, we always have it – NO MATTER what meds we take. The meds do not cure us. They enable us to stay alive in poor health.

Let’s find the answer simply by going back and looking at infection. When we see the model here, we can see the answers to the questions above about chronic disease.

Cholera is always around. But for humans to get it, Cholera has to have an ideal environment to propagate and to spread. Cholera is not spread through the air but through direct contact with human feces. So, if you put a lot of people together and you have no proper sewage disposal system and you allow the sewage to contaminate the water supply, you have the ideal conditions for an epidemic.

Now you can develop a “cure” – (now we know how to treat Cholera – heavy hydration with pure water). But the real cure is to take away the environment that gives cholera the edge. For instance, Cholera is always a threat today when a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane damage sewage or water systems as happened in Haiti. You cannot contain the epidemic by vaccination or treatment. You have to work upstream and fix the sewage system and supply clean water asap.

This chart tells the story. See how most of the scourges of infection were beaten back BEFORE the advent of drugs.

Even TB!

All were “cured” by work on the upstream issue of environment. All these diseases were the product of changes to our social and physical environment caused by Industrialization. It was when millions of us left the small communities that fitted our own nature better. We arrived in the cities knowing nothing of the consequences of overcrowding. We found ourselves in the same predicament as say these animals now!

All these animals will die if they live like this. To prevent this they are given antibiotics as a routine. This is not sustainable and is dangerous as we are breeding super bugs as a result.

The only way that is sustainable is the change the environment. That is what we did for ourselves.

It was John Snow, a Dr, who discovered that Cholera was water born. He was never accepted by the establishment and died before his discovery was accepted. It was Joseph Bazalgette who built the sewers that made it possible for 8 million people to live in London.

We think that medicine “cured” infection. Medical knowledge about the environment for infection was the cure not any vaccine or drug.  But of course Big Pharma and the Medical Profession take the credit and today tell us that the ONLY way to be healthy is to use drugs.

All of this story about how we really conquered infection is true for the Chronic Diseases of our time. They all stem from environmental causes. Which in turn arise because we have not known the consequences of changes we have made to our diet, our work culture and how we live and work.

For just as we can never adapt to living in concentrations of millions without a good sewage system and a secure water supply, we also can never adapt to:

  • Eating a diet that is mainly composed of grains and sugars and other foods such as dairy and legumes
  • Living and working in a culture where we have little or no control or say
  • Losing touch with what our bodies really need in terms of activity, sleep and exposure to the natural world

My getting fat and pre diabetic was all related to not knowing any of this too. I too had no context. I bought the Kool Aid about the fact that I should eat MORE grains and dairy. I had no idea that how much control I had in my life was a key factor in my health. My only thought about my body was that I should “Take more exercise” which is only a fragment of the larger truth and a part of my life where I would have to find the time and pay someone else and do – for me – silly things not connected to what I did every hour of the day.

I also did not know this.

Every animal has evolved to be healthy throughout its life. Evolution would not support a population that had to “carry” a large segment who could not cope.

We humans are no exception. In fact, in all societies where people live according to our design, we remain fit until we die. People who do not eat the modern diet, who have a culture that is more personal and who are active and spend a lot of time outdoors live long and healthy lives. Like this man.

He is from Kitava and he is my age. I hope I can be like him! Don’t you?

Our challenge is time. If you get cholera, you can be well this morning and dead by supper. The impact of Infection is obvious and quick.

But the diseases that we get today are slow building and hidden.

This is the “Switch” I was talking about. You seem fine – and then you have a heart attack. You are thin and in 10 years you are obese. You are fit and then crippled with arthritis. You go off to your routine breast exam and find you have stage 3 cancer.

This moment is different for us also depending on our ancestry. If your ancestry is longer adapted to the modern diet, the switch may not go on until your 50′s. If you are a First Nations person, it may go on right away from birth.

I think this delay and difference has hidden the danger from us all. Not helped by a vast industry – Food and Medicine – that makes a fortune from this and who have captured the media and so public opinion with their message – “Eat more grains and take a pill”.

So in my next post we will explore why we cannot adapt to this any more than we can adapt to drinking water contaminated by feces.

 

 

 

 

 

Your “Lifespan”? – Part 1 – How long have you got before you are really ill?

July 18, 2011 Aging, Context 1 Comment

This is an image that is all about Lifespan. Until the late 1800′s and the discovery of how infection really worked, this was what we all feared. Your child could be well in the morning and dead that night. Entire cities could die in weeks. Most children did die. We have found ways of avoiding this. But actually it was not a drug but public health. It was not medicine but medical knowledge that has extended our Lifespan.

This is our modern equivalent. It shows what is behind the “Healthspan” crisis of our time. When our children are exposed to a number of environments that will cause them to lose their health earlier and earlier and condemn them to a life of illness. They will live but more and more will reach a stage in life where they are so ill that they cannot function as full citizens. Medicine has found no way of preventing this. But it has found a way of keeping us alive – at great cost – when we get these diseases.

You have a greater chance today than 30 years ago in getting – Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Kidney failure, depression, dementia, arthritis, CFS, IBS, Crohns and many other chronic illnesses. When you get these diseases your ability to work, to look after your self, to be a parent all erode to the point of failure. When you get these diseases the costs to you, your family, your employer and the state are rising so fast that all risk bankruptcy – even the state itself. And the rate of incidence is rising too. More and more of us are going to get these diseases.

“Consider that a National Cancer Institute study projects a 39 percent increase in cancer costs between 2010 and 2020. That figure represents in great part our success in extending the lives of those already afflicted with the disease. Kidney dialysis also has become an economic quagmire. A 150 percent increase in the number of such patients is expected over the next decade. The cost of Alzheimer’s disease is projected to rise from $91 billion in 2005 to $189 billion in 2015 to $1 trillion in 2050 (twice the cost of Medicare expenditures for all diseases now).” (link)

This is a global issue – look at cancer rates in the UK – it is estimated that 42% of Brits will get cancer. (link)

 ”There are currently 2 million people living with cancer in the UK and that number is doubling to 4 million over the next 20 years. Yet no one thinks the country can afford to double its spending on cancer,” Devane said.

So what to do? That is the point of this site and the 55 Theses Sister site.

I thought today it is time to make all of this more personal. For in the end this is not about statistics, it is about you and me. Many of these diseases oppress my family and so affect me directly too. It must be the same for you. Who does not have a friend with heart disease, or cancer or depression? You may have them yourself.

So in this series I will make it all about us.

To start, please think about how do you feel about your Healthspan? Have you lost it already? Has a loved one lost it? Do you see signs, as I did, that you are at risk of losing it? Have you done anything for yourself to prevent you from losing your health?

In this context, I will go back with a personal lens and talk about:

  • How do we get these diseases?
  • Why they are all linked – they are in fact the same
  • What is the role of Medicine?
  • What can you do?

But I would like to hear from you? How much Healthspan do you think you will have?

Great Return – Part 3 – The Rules of the New World#2

This post is written in July of 2011 - The Murdoch New Empire, the Police in the UK and the Tories in the UK are being rocked.

I think that we are living through a period where the Network is destroying the Hierarchical power of the establishment.

We can see now that this revolution began in the Arab world but now, this July, we are seeing that the Network is a real threat to the most powerful in the west as well.

I think that history will show that power is shifting from the Machine Institution to the Network.

This will be a real revolution unlike 1917 that merely replaced one top down regime for another. 

This is more like 10,000 years ago when a new food system changed everything about how humans lived and their place in the world. 

I think that the forces that will take us there are now in motion. Not the least that millions of people have been cast out by the old system. That many of these millions are well educated and have the personal power to act. These are the kind of people that drove the French and the American Revolutions that in their own day also cast down the old power system.

They are likely people just like you my dear readers. We are the immigrants in the brand new world that we will make for ourselves  - not in a new place but in a new “Space” that we create ourselves.

Ellis

Without knowing it, you have just left Ellis Island and you are in this strange New World.

How strange this all is. 

Fortunately the pioneers have been here for some time and this post will show you what the new rules are and how best to get around in this new place and to realize its potential. 

In essence – people here in the New New World – or New World#2 – live the lives of the Hunter Gatherers – they live lives much like all hominids and Humans have lived for millions of years. But with a difference, now we know how all of this works. We know the science and we have tools that empower us to be this old way anew.

So let’s wander around NW#2 and see how they live and work. Let’s see the models they use. 

And by the way – all of this exists for real today – just in a very small and scattered form. It just needs organization to come to life.

Home and Work - Home is that old fashioned Home where we all live and work.

For in NW#2 we mainly work from home for ourselves or in tribal groups – some partners are next door but some are the other side of the world. 

We don’t just do one thing either – the bigger cash generating deals are like a hunter bringing home an elk and get paid in cash by the larger system. But we do a lot of gathering for no money. We trade services with each other – I do some work on your site, you give me veggies. We offer up our place for rent and move in with our sister who lives down the road and we split the money.  

We don’t just sell services either. With our network of 3D printers and jigs we can make almost anything locally. Hey we even make cars using the Wiki Car Company – an open source design for cars that uses a series of chassis’s that we then adapt to create unique one off cars. For less cost than a mega car plant – we don’t have their fixed costs.

More than 50% of the things we need – we make locally. All are built using Open Source designs.

The result is that there is work here for all. 

What were hobbies become “Livings”. Your weaving, your knitting, your soap making, your talent for music or knowledge of astronomy, your mechanical genius, your coding, your cooking, your green thumb, your strong back, your relationship with children – your real skills – the real you.

No one gets super rich but all can be very comfortable and secure. Secure because no outsider can take away your living. For we are so interconnected. The gap between producer and consumer has been closed. We are always both.

Our children grow up in the middle of all of this. They see what their parents do to make a Living. They participate early too – either to help the family or to play their own role. Many children have their own Living. The gap between helpless child hood and being a participant is tiny. 

For the kids too are not shunted off into a world separate from life called school or youth.

Nor are our babies and infants given away to strangers. In our physical community we help each other a lot with the little kids. We spend very little money on daycare or nannies. We have family close, we have other families in the same boat – we have a good system. The kids also have access to tremendous resources from all over the world. They have lots of mums and dads – as kids always used to have. There are lots of Eyes on the Street in our place.

Our teachers are very different too. They are not “professionals”. They are largely us.

Our older kids meet in study groups and use materials from the web. If they have a question that they cannot solve themselves – they can access the local learning network for advice. This local Network extends all over the world. Our kids can talk to the best teachers in the world and they do. 

We used to pay a lot of money to educate our kids for not very good results. We now pay a fraction of this and our kids have learned to learn and they mix with really talented people. They don’t need a piece of paper to show what they have learned. They have a reputation that has been earned.

Food

So where did all the teachers go? Where did all the people with non jobs go?

In the old country almost no one did any work to get or prepare food. In the NW#2 food and energy is where most of the work is done. Everybody contributes here. In 2000, less than 5% of people worked to produce food and most of them were no more than slaves.

Now 85% of us participate in one way or another in food and energy.

About 30% of the food we eat is grown locally – and we are in Montreal. There are gardens on roofs – front yards – back yards in public spaces. Small animals too – chickens are everywhere and there are goats and sheep in town.

Nearly everyone spends time on growing and preparing food – we grow a lot on our own or in local groups in the community and we also help out in the country.

The rail service to the surrounding farm land is working well again and 50% of our food comes in from the direct hinterland. Many also go out there and help work for food. We help with the cultivating and harvest – for the Community Ag Model that we use, integrates the customer into the producer. That way we we keep the costs down for all. No immigrant slaves here – we belong to farm groups as helper/consumers. CSA on steroids.

Consequently, we pay very little money for food. But food growers do well. We all benefit from the Network Effect.

Farming itself is very different too. We also work WITH nature and not against her. She does more and more of the work as a result.

Farms tend to be small – about 100 acres and worked by a family and by the neigbours.

Those growing veggies mainly use Permaculture that needs no external inputs and that has yields that rise every year and where the work also falls. In many of these mini farms, the main work of the year is harvest.

Almost no machines are required. Almost no external inputs and certainly no agri chemicals.

Those with animals use a pasture system made famous by Polyface farms where grass and woodland provide the base and we rotate animals on the grass thus building up the base year by year.

In our food system, vitality grows every year. The natural capital increases and our need for external energy reduces.

We used to have no time and so had to pay cash for everything – now we have time we don’t need as much cash. THIS is the central big idea in New World#2.

Like Open Source Software we trade goods and services a lot for no money – we do have an exchange now – so the Ledger can be converted into currency of needed. This was how the old country store used to operate. 

Energy/Travel - You cannot replace oil as a convenient source of energy – but oil is very expensive in the New World#2. So how do we still have a great life? We have redesigned how we live to reduce the need for oil.

This is why the home and the local community has become the centre. We had to go far away every day to work and school and to get anything. Now most of those routine trips in the car are not essential any more. The need to drive everywhere has been designed out of the system.

Some of us do go to face to face distant meetings now and then – it is always vital to meet face to face. But these occasions tend to be rare and are often largely social – the point is to bond again.

When we travel we mainly take some time and we tend to stay with each other or rent a place from a person. Co Working places are ubiquitous. Few have offices that are exclusively theirs except at home. Why would you pay to have an office all for yourself?

The Global Co Working Network also allows you to have an office in any town, city our country. 

Energy/Climate

Heat in the winter up north and cooling in the summer in the south demand significant energy. Here design has helped too.

Much of the sunbelt, short of water and boiling hot has lost much of its population. Those that remain have gone back to building design that fits this climate. Adobe is common again. Even here permaculture works and, as was tested in the desert in Israel, is able to produce food and this practice is gaining ground on the desert itself.

Here up north in Montreal, the typical co-housing of Montreal East was designed with winter in mind. With neighbours alongside and above and below, heating demand has been reduced further by insulation.

Community heat and stoves using waste fibre are common.

Large scale and long Distance Energy

The truck is no longer the centre of the system. Most things are made locally – much is recycled locally – even steel. We trade things we can’t grow or make.

As back in time – water is the way that really heavy goods are carried. The seaboards and river and canal systems are the new/old highways for heavy goods. 

We have time now so we too use the trains and ships. 

Health

Big Industrial food no longer makes sense with very expensive oil. In the old country we used to spend a fortune on health. But now we eat so much better, we are so much more active, so much less stressed, we are naturally mainly very healthy and fit.

Grains depend on factory farms, serfs or slaves. Oil is too expensive and no one wants to be a slave anymore. So very little grain is grown anymore. We eat meat, that is grass fed, veggies fruit and nuts. This was and is our ideal diet.

So Big Pharma has little place here either. We are all working hard at breeding better animals and seeds that fit our local enviroment.  We share this knowledge around the world. Big Ag has no place in this vast cooperative effort – for if we fail here, we starve. The IP issue has gone away for the system that could enforce it has collapsed.

Most research now uses an Open Source Model – for we all benefit.

So what about the  Medical professionals?

Of course, if you have an accident, we use the Dr’s. Specialists operate all over the world too. Even a small community hospital can have a world class surgeon operate – for she is in her community and telemedicine is the norm now.

But there are not that many doctors – and the ones we have are oustanding. But we don’t need a lot of them, because so few of us are ill. 

The frontline healthcare system is now run by Health Facilitors who help us in groups work out how to get control of our health back. We pay them to keep us healthy. Health is all about matching our lives to our design.

Media

We get our news and information from each other. The old highly centralized media system was show to be what is was a shill for ther old system. They were largely made irrelevant as their role was exposed. And then their costs brought them down.

Most people have a voice now. A profound shift in human consciousness.

There is still an entertainment business but it is more of an aggregator. We don’t need as much distraction as we used to. With a more full real life, we need to depend less on a fantasy life.

So how did we get here?

No social engineering brought this about. Much of the pioneer work was done in the 1990′s. But it will be desparation that takes us here. Cities that can go no lower such as Detroit are along the path now. 

We will get here because the people who were cleared by the landlords will have no choice. We have to eat. We have to have work. We have to raise our kids. We have to have our health. In the old world all of these things are provided by the institutions. They are shutting us out. We either cannot afford them – such as healthcare or what they offer – such as public school – is rotten.

So we will do what we have to and create an alternative world alongside the old world.

In this new world, by using the network effect and open systems we will dramatically undercut the sunk costs and rigidities of the old world. We will drive them out of existence.

This weekend as I write this – we can see this process in action. The Bastille has been stormed. It’s early days but we can feel our power and sense the weakness of the regime.

BUT they will not go quietly and the attacks we see on local food systems and the massive effort to protect IP in things such as seeds is a sign of their fear.

In my next post – The Inquisition and how to defeat it.

The Great Return – Part 2 – The “Industrial Clearances” and what they mean to you

Are all of us, who are today unemployed or under employed or never to be employed, failures and misfits?

I think that most of us think that we are in some way bad people. I think that, even as we hang up our Consulting Shingle, or our Craft Shop sign or offer our availability to do free work or volunteer work – or just wonder where the rent cheque will come from – still hope that we will once again get a “real job” that pays enough to give us a life.

I think we want to go home to a nice job.

Well my dear friends, I don’t think that is going to happen.

I think we are seeing a return of an early pattern. When the hunters became unemployed when all the big game died off 10,000 years ago. Or more recently when the landowners “Cleared” their agricultural peasants of the land.

We are the new displaced.

This is not your grand father’s layoff. This is not another downturn or recession. We live today at the turning point when one culture and its power system and economy will be decisively replaced by a new one.

In this context, those jobs are NEVER coming back. But all is not lost. WE have been here before and I think I see how we can see ourselves in a new and more hopeful light. Where we can create an entirely new economy for ourselves with each other. A new economy that will give us the opportunity for a much better life than the one we failed to hold onto or even get a taste of.

There are so many of us now – mainly the young and the middle aged – that we have reached a critical mass. All we have to do is to “SEE” the opportunity. The New Hunter Gatherer Economy.

So this is what really is going on – this is the pattern and this is where I think we might go.

History_clearances_325x325

The Industrial Revolution created its workforce by using new methods of agriculture to throw the people off the land. Waves of displaced peasants who had lived and farmed for millennia in rural villages in Europe were literally thrown out. They went to the new cities and their factories or to the New World.

They could never return. Their displacement was vital to the birth of industrial society. Not a good thing but a key systems factor.

By 1905, thanks to Henry Ford, wages in this sector had begun to offer a middle class life for labourers. Not an easy struggle to get there. But by 1950 it was normal to be able to life a good life with few deep skills. By 1970, the more literate could live an even better life in an office setting.

But then the process of Globalization began.

Rustbelt

7 billion people tied into a global trading system drives wages to the basement.

Empty cube

What started on the factory floor now affects white collar work as well. Now even call centres.

For those of us in the West with Western expenses, we are put in an impossible bind. We cannot compete with global wages.

Agmachine

Now Technology is accelerating this displacement and is stripping the work itself out of the system.

Planting in 1600 needed the entire village. In 1750 it could be done by one man and a horse. No land owner was going to bring back his old workforce.

As with farm technology in the 1750′s, machines and computers can do so much of what we used to do. Labour on its own in an industrial or office setting is also being replaced irrevocably by machines and technology.

Robots

The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.

Chart-en
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.

Unemployed

This is the modern equivalent of the Highland Clearances.

All the puffery of the politicians about getting behind job creation is misguided. How can the jobs come back in Europe or North American when our living costs are so high compared to places like China?

For all our key costs in the west are based on the old model. Housing, energy, education, health, food – all of these are based on the old reality and are systems costs based on the cost of the industrial and centralized model.

How can we bring the well paying labour based jobs back when technology has made us truly redundant?

OK enough doom and gloom – do you get my point though? The well paying jobs for routine work cannot come back. And here is the proviso – so long as we hang onto the industrial model!

So where is the hope and also the health? For this kind of stress – low self esteem – low status – lack of a sense of meaning is a killer.

The hope is here – that there are millions of us with talent and energy – old and young – who have nothing to lose by “Immigrating” to the Real New World Economy. The New Personal Networked Economy. Where the Household Oikonomia. Where the Household/Tribe is the core unit.

The irony of where we are going is that we the Displaced will have the tools that will take on the industrial economy on and decisively beat it.

Where we will use the new tools that empower the small and the network that gives scale and power to the aggregated small.

In the next post I will go into some detail about what this may look like – but here are a few teasers.

One thing that all of us share is that we don’t have much money and we worry about how we will afford to buy the things and services that we need.

  • Food - But if you grew your own or shared growing food with others – you would have food – Now you have the time to do this as millions are finding out. We can eat REAL food at a cost we can afford and employ a lot of us. We can also gain independence from the system. The key will be to learn how best to work WITH nature. The system which is based on oil has to fail anyway – this way we can get ready for the day and have a new more viable system in place. 
  • Paid work - New technology will enable you to sell your services and products personally and directly. We offer something that THEY cannot – Trust – we can offer authentic and truly good and safe things – THEY can’t
  • Manufacturing – New Technology - 3D Printers now enable the most complex things to be made locally – no more big factories. More true freedom – craft and skill returns to work
  • Energy - We can never replace oil in its ease of use – but we can redesign our lives and energy systems to do well. In doing so we can be free of depending on Big Oil. How and where we live and work is a big part of this as is a new food system that is integrated into our energy system.
  • Health Insurance and Care - With this kind of life we recreate the environmental fit that we need to be naturally healthy. Our dependence on Big Pharma will be broken
  • Day Care - If you worked from home you can work around this as parents did for all time before our own – Freelancers are recreating the old home economy – where all is centred on the home and the tribe
  • High Quality Education - All there today online waiting for you now – Homeschooling will offer more and better than any school and then if enough near you are doing this – you can have all the sports and social too
  • 2 cars or more - Essential for job families – Not for Freelancers – your energy costs will drop
  • Housing - You don’t have to move all the time to get work anymore. You may just make one more move to a place where all of this is emerging
  • Pensions - Where will the money come from to pay for me when I am old? – You will have a role and work in the tribe – if you are prepared to contribute
  • Elder care - Not if you rearrange how your family works – more labour at home and a real role for grandma and grandpa – I am ready!

So where are we Immigrants going too?

I think to a more dispersed and more stable pattern of settlement.

We are in the 1740′s in America – with the early colonies. Colonists who still have to obey the King’s rule and the King’s men.

But in a short time, we will start to organize. Our power will grow. In the end, the King’s men and all his power will not be enough to subdue us – we will create our own place.

And then my friends, the words of the Statue of Liberty will call out again:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And millions will answer.

Next I will share the details of how the the pioneers are buildong this new system – it is all here in fractal form.

Why are we so fat in rural areas – Part 4 – We don’t fit the ruling culture

In this last post of this series, I will explore the downside and the upside of our special tribal Gael and First Nations culture in rural Canada and America.

We have seen that there are many physical reasons why those who live in big cities tend to be thinner/healthier than the rest of us who live in rural settings.

We have seen that a major factor is also status. In a city like Paris, London or New York you are part of the elite of the Industrial world. In rural areas like PEI or Louisiana we get the crumbs of this system. They tell us what we can have and it’s not much.

We have seen that a factor for why we are fat is that we are influenced by our friends and family.

We have seen that our ancestry plays a role too. Most of us are Gaels or First Nations. We are the last of the Western Hunter Gatherers and so we are the least adapted to the modern diet.

Today we are going to look at our culture. This too is a factor in why we mainly live in places outside the best oportunities in the industrial system. It is why if we have to leave to go to the big city for work, we long to come home. To come home to a place where there are few jobs. It is why we like the seasonal nature of our system.

We don’t want to make working for the man the centre of our life.

Our Hunter Gatherer culture is a powerful force that lingers on in us. Culture hard wires into behaviour. You can see this easily in dogs. A Border Collie that has never seen a sheep will still have all its cultural wiring in place to herd. Even a Pekenese will defend her owner as she was once a guard dog.

So do we. For, underneath the veneer of modernity, we Gaels and Native North Americans are still Tribal Warriors.

This is a reason why we are not well adapted to industrial life. This is why if given a chance we want to live on PEI, in Appalachia or in a tribal setting.

Not having been farmers for millenia we don’t do “clock” very well. We don’t like to be told what to do. We love working out doors and don’t like the inside that much. We don’t take well to roles that are not earned. We like to know who people really are by reputation. “Who is your father?” is not a stupid question. Nicknames based on character are common. Your name is very important. Your family is important. Your place is important.

This has meant that we make poor peons and serfs.

So our health is further compromised by poor opportunity and poor fit with the prevailing system. We remain the outcasts and the edge dwellers. We are the butt of jokes and predjudice. We have among the lowest status in our nations.

But I think that we are just the right people to get our power back when a new form of Tribal/Networked/Local/Dispersed econonmy takes over from the impersonal money based power based Industrial system.

We have the best chance to get our health back by going back to our traditional diet. And we are best suited to a new economy that is based on the personal, the trusted and the tribe.

Those who laugh at us now will find life outside their comfort zone very challenging.

That is quite a statement. So I will post a series on this next week. I will explore the new emerging reality of the new Tribal Economy where people live again, but in modern circumstances, the lives of Hunter Gatherers.

But in closing this post on Canada day weekend and with July 4th on Monday – I would like to show you how much we have in common with each other. I would like to show you what special people we are.

We love to dance.

Dance

Powwowdance

Stepd

We love music

Irish roversbetter
Drumming

Band

Our women are tough and noble

Elder

Irish president

Lady allan

My Great Great Aunt Marguerite (Mackenzie) Allan – who lost these,both her daughters, on the Lusitania, her son on his first mission and who stayed on and founded a hospital to look after wounded Canadians.

Our men are tough and noble

Indian braveregalia

Dramatoss

Highland games

We are a warrior society

Famous_Warriors_Poster

Irish brigade

Scotsoldier burial

We love our place.

Indian

Ayr

Ireland

Pei
It stirs me to see these pictures – for they remind me of who we are.

I think that our future is in remembering our past.

It is in bringing our cultures back to the fore. It is seeing the principles that embody them and in applying them to how we live our lives again.

The hunter gatherer and heroic society has been crushed by the Industrial culture – crushed but not broken.

The next economy will be Tribal – parts of it are here already. It will be possible – no essential – to master the culture of the hunter gatherer again. I don’t mean live the exact life but the DNA of that life.

A life lived where, once again, the kind of man and woman you are is your “brand”. Where your wealth is your tribe and how your peers regard you. Where none of your economic eggs are all in one basket. A life where you have real skills. Skills that can’t be learned in 3 years from a series of books but have to be absorbed by working alongside others. A life where there is no separation between work and family. An economy, where your kids grow up with you and your wider family and learn from your life and the stories of their family.

A life where the meal and sharing food is the centre of the system. Where we know where our food comes from. A life where home is a place we would die for.

Next week I will put flesh on these bones. But for now, as we take pride in our wider nations of Canada and America, let us also take pride in our tribes.

We are we so fat in rural settings – part 3 – Because of our ancestry!

Prince Edward Island, where I live, has a very high obesity rate. So do many rural parts of America and of cource the rest of Atlantic Canada.

We have looked at why there is an physical environmental difference between cities and the rural and we have looked at the social environment where our friends influence how we look.

But why is the rate of obesity and related illness SO MUCH worse in certain types of rural settings? Now we are going to look at who we are as people.

The issue here is in our ancestral heritage. Those of us who live in rural Canada and the rural US tend to come from a heritage that is only recently exposed to agriculture.

PEI and Atlantic Canada are settled mainly by Scots Irish. So is the large Appalachian region of the US. It is mainly here in Canada and there in thje US that obesity and related poor health is the worst. Why?

350px-Appalachian_region_of_United_States
The answer is that we are Gaels.

Gaels, are the Hunter Gatherers of Europe who got pushed to the edge of the continent by the new farmers.

Scan -  Map of Europe, Racial, 1935 Literary Digest Atlas of the World

Look at the thin sliver on the far left of Scotland and Ireland. That is the edge. We were pushed here like so many other Hunter Gatherers have been pushed to the edge where the land is marginal and not suitable for farming.

That is the edge – where the land is the poorest – where life is really tough and so are the people. It is where we come from and here is why this is important when we ask abut why so many of us are so fat today.

For the answer is this. We are the people in Europe with the least exposure to agricultural food. We are the least adapted. We are the most at risk of all Europeans to an adverse reaction to the agricultural diet.

For this diet is new when we look at evolutionary time lines. We have ALL come from a Hunter Gatherer past that extends back for millions of years.

We mainly ate meat, fish and plants. We never ate grains, dairy or beans. Imagine milking a wild auroch!

The maximum time that any human group has had to adapt to agriculture – what I call the “Modern Diet” would likely be 6,000 years ago. Here is new evidence on when agriculture began in England. In Evolutionary terms this is yesterday. Some Europeans have made a partial adaptation – but even this is lost by middle age.

The key point to bear in mind is that we are designed to be healthy and fit – PROVIDED – we live the plan that evolution has worked out with us.

Micmac5

As with all hunter gatherers, we did very well on our ancestral diet.

This engraving is of a Mi’Maq made in the 1800th century. This is what most adults would have looked like before they adopted our diet and way of life.

Kitavan

Here is a 60 year old Kitavan Chief who has never been exposed to our diet – see the similarity in body?Kitavans have no diseases of modern civilization.

Chart_watch-976440083-1251332296

Here is the late great singer Israel Kamakawi’ole just before his death. He is an example of the kind of reaction a recent hunter gatherer can have to the modern diet. He shares the same kind of Pacific hunter gatherer heritage to the Kitavan.

The closer you are to a hunter gatherer past – the more vulnerable you are to reacting badly to the modern diet. This recent exposure to the modern diet is a powerful force in why so many in the First Nations community have such a risk of Type 2 Diabetes and related illness and why the Gaels run them a close second.

So what to do?

So if you are of First Nations or Inuit heritage with maybe 150 years maximum exposure – the western diet of mainly grains, dairy and so sugar is toxic. It is also why alcohol is such a problem as is sugar – for they affect the brain in the same way. They are the same.

If you are a Gael – you are next on the list of at risk. Note the importance of sugar and alcohol in our way of life too. We are very attracted to it.

When I say Modern Diet – I mean bread/grains, dairy and legumes. The Industrial Diet is a separate category and is even more a disaster for us.

If we were to go back to eating a diet that was comprised of the traditional foods – mainly real meat and real fish and seasonal plants and fruit, we would be the ancestral groups most likely to “heal”. Even better, we stand a chance of doing what the Kitavan Chief has done. Plateau our aging in mid life.

Here is Dr Michael Rose on this great opportunity for us. Thesis 52

The irony is that while we are the most at risk – we have the best chance of reacting well to a shift back to the traditional diet.

Robfat2
Me 2 years ago – pre diabetic and a typical middle aged Gael on the modern diet.

It has taken me 6 months only to undergo a radical change for the better. For when I say “We” I am  Gael too from Ayr. I started to feel better after 3 months. I think in 5 years I will have got myself back to a metabolism of my heritage.

This then is a huge health opportunity. The First Nations and the Gaels are really suffering. Medicine has not arrested our decline. But by going home to who we are can heal us.

But there is a huge BUT. A BUT that I will deal with in my next post.

The BUT is this. We Gaels and First Nations’ Peoples have lost confidence in our culture and our tribes. We don’t fit into the Industrial World. WE think and others think that this makes us failures. We don’t want 9 – 5. We don’t want to make work the centre of who we are. We hate regimen. We hate offices – we want to be outside.

We were were never farmers and so never were serfs or slaves. We lived according to the time of nature not the clock. But of course farmers were ideally suited to becoming indistrial serfs – no change at all in how they lived.

We will explore this tommorrow. We will ask – “who is the greater fool?” – We will look at how the web and a new economy might enable us to bring back a hunter gatherer way of life in a modern context.

We will look at our tribal values and traditions – respect for our elders and for women – our love of music and the dance – our love of art – our love for our children – our deep respect for nature and sense of connection to it – our eternal view of time and see these as the values that all men and women need if our species is to survive what our industrial culture has done to us and the planet.

By Going Home we might give our kids a chance.

Why are rural folks fatter than urban folks? – a pragmatic series

Here is the lead in the Guardian – PEI’s paper of record.

Obesity rates in Prince Edward Island are among the highest in the country. Overall, about 62 per cent of Canadians weigh more than they should. The obesity rates vary from a low of five per cent in Richmond, B.C. to 32 per cent in Kings County, P.E.I. and nearly 36 per cent in the Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabaska region in Saskatchewan. The rates were below the national average in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Clearly there seems to be a greater percentage of Canadians in rural areas plagued with excessive weight. What are the reasons for this? Is it because of less access to fitness and recreation programs?

We all know that we should be less fat as a group but other than exhort each other to eat better and take more exercise, we are lost. And anyway who knows that Eat Better and Take more Exercise means anyway. It’s not advice that works.

So I am going to play around here this week with a few ideas and insights that may help us do better.

Rural/Urban – Today I will explore with you “What are the Urban/Rural Factors Really?” – We will find that the difference has nothing to do with exercise programs or recreation. Later I will talk about:

Social Norms - How having fat friends makes us fat

Ancestral Heritage – How where your family come from has a huge affect. Why if you are First Nations or Scots and Irish (Much of PEI) you are more at risk.

Social Status and Control – If you work and live in a major city, like Toronto, New York, Paris and London you get status from that and if you live in a rural setting you lose status.

So today why people who live in Cities tend to be thinner than those of us who live in rural settings?

The Missing Human Manual – Our Purpose

manual

I have learned something new that I did not know before. We can prevent the modern illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, strokes, type 2 diabetes and dementia. I used to think that these were Normal. That it was my and your destiny to get them as we aged. I now know that this assumption is incorrect.

Normal means “Inevitable” or “Destiny”. For these diseases to be that kind of Normal, they would have to be part of our evolved biology. If they are not that, then they can be prevented. For if they are not part of our evolutionary design, then they can only be a product of how we live. We can do something about how we live. Let me show you what I mean.

It was “Normal” to die of cholera in London in 1850 or of Yellow Fever in Panama in 1900. It was “Normal” for many women to die of infection after giving birth in hospital until 1900. Your family would not think it was Normal for you to catch Cholera in London today. If your wife died of infection after giving birth, you would sue! To die of an infection in not Normal now. But we do think it is Normal to suffer and die from heart disease, cancer, strokes and dementia.

So the question of our time is can we repeat the same kind of breakthrough in science that we did in the 1880′s?

This is what this site is all about.  I am inviting you to become part of the great revolution in health. Where you will be able to take control of your own health. Where you can chose to have a long and vital old age.

Please come with me and find out why I am this excited.

… Continue Reading

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Comments

  • Patrick Meadows: People, can and have lived solely on meat. Eskimos go months...
  • ike: Maybe you veggies need to eat meat so your brains can develo...
  • robpatrob: Of course - but we are talking much more recently here about...
  • Rob: "I come from Northern European stock. My genes are the most ...
  • Gemma: Don't forget regular exercise! Prevention is better than cur...
  • Daniel: Nothing can live on just meat. Carnivores such as cats and s...
  • robert: Your retarded, so why is it most vegans need pills as vitami...
  • Dario McNut: It is true that erectile dysfunction can be associated with ...
  • robpatrob: Google Richard Wrangham - His book is on Amazon - much more ...
  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...
  • nj: Rob, check out the chart here for a broader perspective on a...
  • robpatrob: Not what was said...
  • VOfReason: Humans cannot live comfortably on only meat. that is the mos...

What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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