Editor’s Note: 3p correspondent Bill Roth used sustainability principles to get healthy, lose 20 pounds and keep it off. He documented his experience — and what he calls the Boomers’ Sustainability Diet — in a three-part series. This post is part three. In case you missed them, you can read the first part here and the second part here.
I have lost 20 pounds and kept it off by incorporating core principals of sustainability into my diet and lifestyle. My Boomers’ Sustainability Diet is the easiest diet you have ever considered.
In my last article, I explained how I have lost weight by eating all I want of good food that I like to eat. I lost weight without being hungry! I even get to enjoy my happy hours. This diet is what we baby boomers are all about: You can still live life to the fullest while addressing health concerns tied to tummy fat.
This last article in my three-part series explains why good intentions are not enough. There are things we have been doing our entire lives that have gotten us into this situation where we are overweight and confronting serious health challenges because of our diets. Here is the list of five things you just have to stop eating if you are going to achieve sustained weight loss and improved health.
Editor’s Note: 3p correspondent Bill Roth used sustainability principles to get healthy, lose 20 pounds and keep it off. He documented his experience — and what he calls the Boomers’ Sustainability Diet — in a three-part series. This post is part two. In case you missed it, you can read the first part here.
I have lost 20 pounds, and kept it off, by adopting sustainable best practices. My secret sauce consists of eating things I like that are good for me and the planet. As I reviewed in my first article, this diet is designed to be easy to follow. It requires no hunger, and I allow myself to sinfully enjoy happy hour and holiday season pies, cookies, stuffing and gravy!
I designed this diet for my generation, the boomer generation. The diet consists of five “do this” and five “stop doing that” steps. This article covers five action items that will help you lose weight sustainably.
Editor’s Note: 3p correspondent Bill Roth used sustainability principles to get healthy, lose 20 pounds and keep it off. He documented his experience — and what he calls the Boomers’ Sustainability Diet — in a three-part series. This post is part one.
If you are a member of the boomer generation, then this is a must-read. We are the first generation raised on fast food and suburban living. It has been a great run of cheeseburgers, fries and driving everywhere we wanted to go. But tummy fat and growing health concerns are now the unintended consequences of our lifestyle.
As a boomer, I went searching for personal answers. The answers I found have helped me to lose 20 pounds and keep it off. I am on track to lose another 10 pounds by year end. My secret sauce? I found that applying the same sustainability best practices I have successfully used in coaching businesses can be used to achieve sustained weight loss.
Income disparity is again a front-page political issue. Credit Suisse projects that in two years the global 1 percent “… Will have more wealth than the remaining 99 percent of the people.” In the U.S., the top 1 percent earns a mean household annual income of $1,318,200. This is approximately 70 times the annual income of the average American worker.
‘The 1 percent’ now own approximately 36 percent of America’s wealth. Most telling, over the last decade the wealth of the top 1 percent earners has grown, while the bottom 80 percent’s wealth fell from approximately 20 percent of the U.S. economy to around 10 percent.
Wealth concentration restricts sustained economic growth
To appreciate how wealth concentration can blunt economic growth, think Czarist (or modern-day) Russia: A lot of poor people and a few wealthy families does not sustain economic growth. Recovery from the Great Depression provides similar insights. The path to economic recovery was not through enriching the rich. It was through enriching the middle class so they had the capital to start businesses and grow families.
Now consider our current economy: The inability of our economy to achieve sustained economic growth is tied to our middle class being mired in 15 years of no real income growth. Our economically-stagnant middle class is restricted in their ability to financially bootstrap and sustain businesses that have always been America’s lifeblood for job and economic growth.
Have you been grinding your teeth all year wishing you had a forum to tell it like it is on who is helping or hurting the adoption of sustainable solutions to economic growth and enhanced human health? Here is your chance! The following are some of my observations. But more importantly, post what you think in the comments section below this article.
2014 in review
2014 was definitely a year of conflicting results in terms of sustainability. Dishearteningly, the World Meteorological Organization reported a “carbon surge” in climate-changing emissions to 142 percent of pre-industrial levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change analysis raised an alarm that this carbon surge was approaching a point of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
2014 also saw milestone growth in the green economic revolution: American consumers, lead by the millennial generation, are buying into a green economic revolution that in 2014 generated trillions of dollars in global commerce and investments. But the question raised in 2014 is whether this green economic revolution will be a case of too little, too late.
So, with these conflicting results who were 2014’s sustainability winners and losers?
1980 was the last time we had an oil price collapse. Americans buying fuel-efficient vehicles created the 1980 oil price collapse, just as they have contributed to today’s oil price collapse. But what consumers did in response to lower pump prices during the 1980s does not bode well for today’s pursuit of sustainable solutions for our economy and climate change.
Will history repeat itself, where the 2014 oil price collapse undercuts our adoption of sustainable technologies?
The oil industry has done a great job of self-promoting their increased production capacity as the reason for the collapse in oil and gasoline prices. Let’s get the facts right: The world has been, and continues to be, awash with oil supply. The world has been producing 90+ million barrels of oil per day for several years.
The reason oil cost $100 per barrel and gas prices sat above $4 per gallon was because of soaring global oil demand that was sucking up the world’s oil production. What has changed in terms of collapsing gasoline prices is that the global demand for oil is falling. The three factors driving oil prices down are:
- Americans are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles
- The millennial generation is living a digital rather than fossil fuel-based lifestyle
- China’s economic growth slow-down has cut oil demand
It is this combination of reasons tied to reduced oil demand — not increased oil supply — that has collapsed oil prices and reduced your pump-price pain.
The sales results of Black Friday and Cyber Monday confirm new consumer behavior — meaning business must change to grow sales. This new sales reality is based upon Americans consuming better. The question is, will consuming better will be enough to restore our economy, human health and the environment?
Holiday shopping season results
This holiday sales season is being driven by consumers prudently managing their purchases around a target budget. In response retailers are pushing ever larger price discounts to win their share of the consumer’s procurement budget. A marketshare price war is now a business norm. The consequences are continued weak economic growth plus an ongoing business focus upon cost reduction to maintain profit margins that does not bode well for 2015 wage increases.
The other business reality from today’s holiday season is that price discounting alone no longer guarantees sales success. Consumers are exercising higher expectations on how a product aligns with their values on quality, service, health, wellness and environmental/social responsibility. Consumers want it all. They want heavy price discounts on products that align with their values. This holiday shopping season is confirming that sales success now depends upon offering consumers “cost less, mean more” products and services.
Consuming better and sustainability
This holiday shopping season again confirms that consumers have not adopted sustainability as a core best practice. The American consumer has accepted that they must consume better. They are shopping with more financial prudence. They are consuming better by focusing upon whether a product aligns with their values. What the vast majority of consumers have not embraced is sustainable consumption with a focus upon reduce, reuse and repurpose.
In 2007 I first posted my research forecasting a multi-trillion dollar green economic revolution. By 2014, this projection has been realized with a global economy delivering price-competitive sustainable solutions like rooftop solar, LED lighting and organic food. So, why are we not celebrating?
The sobering reality is that this economic success appears to be too little and too late in terms of the latest scientific findings. The scientific community projects that the pace of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, now defined as a carbon surge, is pushing the world into irreversible human and economic damage. If our world and economy now stand on the cusp of irreversible climate change damage, then the question of the 21st century is whether there still remains a path toward a sustainable solution.
The U.S. electric utility industry now confronts a new disruptive business reality from China’s announced commitment to source 20 percent of its energy from renewable technologies like solar and wind. This commitment is not a “non-binding charade,” as characterized by Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
China faces an environmental wall that blocks its continued economic growth. The country must restore the healthiness of its air, water and food or confront a costly degradation in worker health. China has no choice but to shift toward zero-emissions renewable energy.
China’s massive commitment to renewable energy will create economies of scale that will shatter current price levels around the world. Its success will bring to scale the technologies and processes required to integrate renewable energy into an electrical grid. China is on a path that will push the U.S. electric utility industry over a renewable energy cliff.
What is an economist doing writing about an election? As a numbers guy, the statistics from the November 2014 mid-term election demands attention because of their implications for our economy and sustainability.
A lack of voter participation was the most telling statistic of this last election. Voter participation was a record low 33 percent. This means 66 percent of potential voters were so unmoved by the candidates and the issues that they did not participate. The obvious question (economic and political) is: Why did the majority of voters vote for ‘none of the above?’
Business now operates within a carbon surge economy: Carbon surge — rapidly rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases — is rapidly raising the risks and cost of doing business. Extreme weather tied to the carbon surge is reducing business revenues by disrupting customer access to stores and websites. Increasing evidence of climate change tied to the carbon surge is pushing consumers, especially the millennial generation, to question what they buy and who they buy from.
This consumer shift is threatening utility revenues while growing the sales of smart, energy efficient technologies. The net result is the emergence of an economy defined and shaped by carbon surge.
Carbon surge evidence
The World Meteorological Organization’s latest report finds that a carbon surge in climate-changing emissions has pushed atmospheric CO2 concentration to 142 percent of the pre-industrial era, with methane and nitrous oxide levels at 253 percent and 121 percent of pre-industrial levels. The ocean’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases may have reached its limits — with ocean acidification now at levels unseen for over 300 million years.
Carbon surge’s threat to business costs
A carbon surge economy is a costlier place to do business. Examples of how carbon surge and the inceased incidence of extreme weather are increasing business costs include:
- Rising electricity and fossil fuel costs tied to increased regulation of climate changing pollution;
- Increased commodity costs, plus increased price volatility, as extreme weather events disrupt or destroy supplies;
- Increased property insurance tied to the increase in extreme weather damage claims;
- Lost productivity due to electrical service disruption;
- Lost productivity due to storm and weather related worker attendance disruptions.
The millennial activist is now driving revenue growth in the American economy. Their quest for products and companies that are “cool with a purpose” is driving the revenue success of Apple, Google, Patagonia and Chipotle. They are also a key demographic group that is driving down the revenues of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and your local utility. Figuring out how to successfully align with millennial activists is now the strategic challenge facing every business.
Millennial activists seek solutions
For 40 years the American economy has been driven by a boomer generation that demonstrated for peace and love during their teenage years but then, after Woodstock, “sold-out” to their personal consumption. It was the boomer generation that embraced fast food as America’s diet choice because it was tasty, fast and cheap. The boomer generation created suburbs of less energy-efficient homes, linked to their workplaces through an urban commute too often executed in full-size vehicles powered by V-8 engines. To fund their consumption, they made the working mom an economic reality along with credit card debt and unsustainably high mortgages. The unintended consequences of the boomer generation’s decisions include a national obesity and diabetes epidemic, pump/meter price pain driven by energy demand, and increased government regulations to address the human and planet health impacts from record levels of air emissions. Our economy now struggles to grow against the headwinds of costs and debt created from the boomer generation’s consumption decisions.
The millennial generation seeks solutions to the problems they have inherited from their parents. This is not a personal rejection of their parents. But it is a rejection of lifestyles built upon energy inefficiency, consumer debt and unhealthy food consumption. Led by pioneering millennial activists, the millennial generation is rejuvenating downtowns across America. They are choosing to live in more energy-efficient, in-town homes to gain the benefits of social participation, diversity and sustainability. They are adopting lifestyles built on healthy foods, walking/biking to work, sharing rather than purchasing and the adoption of digital technology to enable productivity while also reducing their environmental footprint. Influenced through millennial activists, the millennial generation is adopting a new culture built upon best practices that align value with values.
McDonald’s store sales just took another nose-dive. Global same store sales tanked more than three percent. One investment analyst entitled his analysis of McDonald’s prospective sales growth as “That’s not ketchup…it’s blood.”
The three stated reasons for McDonald’s sales declines were: competition; the company’s own missteps, including a TV story in China showing work associates mishandling chicken; and “shifting consumer tastes.” The harsh sales reality for McDonald’s and other fast food retailers is that consumers increasingly associate eating their food with being fat and unhealthy. For the millennial generation focused on being “cool with a purpose,” the eating of fast food is definitely not cool or purposeful.
Fast food schizophrenia damages brand equity
The marketing of fast food is schizophrenic. Fast food used to be well understood by consumers as being cheap, tasty and convenient. Now the same fast food restaurant chain will run simultaneous schizophrenic ads where it promotes a healthy chicken wrap in one ad and its supersized hamburger loaded with bacon and cheese in another. This marketing schizophrenia only serves to undermine the customer’s understanding of the chain’s core values. In comparison, Chipotle’s stock continues to soar to record levels based on its singular marketing focus of selling sustainably-sourced, good food.
Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk has once again demonstrated business leadership by offering a business solution to climate change. Musk’s act of leadership is to open-source his company’s invaluable intellectual property for building world-class electric cars to the global auto industry. Musk’s actions must look crazy to many business leaders and Wall Street “financial engineers,” and they must be questioning whether it violates Musk’s fiduciary obligation to shareholders. In fact, Musk has once again demonstrated real business leadership by creating a viable path to solving climate change that also holds the potential of accelerating his company’s financial success.
100 million fossil fueled vehicles per year is not sustainable
The global auto industry produces 100 million fossil fuel vehicles annually. (In comparison, the U.S. fleet of automobiles is approximately 250 million.) This is not sustainable in the face of climate change, continued sectarian wars in the Middle East, and the price of oil defined by its escalating and volatile pump price. Electric cars with their zero tailpipe emissions, especially if the electricity is supplied from zero-emissions renewable energy like solar and wind, is a solution. Musk’s vision is that the electric car can deliver exciting performance and cost-effective operations without damaging our planet or our health. Musk’s actions to remove the legal barriers to his company’s cutting-edge technology opens the door to realizing a sustainable car industry.