January 2007

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Vol. 6, No. 1   

Responses to The December 2006 McDougall Newsletter on Global Warming

I have included almost every e-mail and discussion board response from my December 2006 newsletter article on Global Warming received over the past month.  Most people were very supportive of my discussion of reducing animal-food consumption and planet survival. Others, you will read, would have rather I would have kept to my usual focus of the newsletter on their personal health and diet.  Since there were only a few of these more critical opinions, I have mixed them up in the beginning—I believe it is important to know what those who disagree are thinking.  At the end I placed a mildly confrontational dialog.


Hi John,

I read all your newsletters. I just read December- incredible job. You know I am a school assembly performer. 2 years ago my assembly program was on the rainforests of the world- "the lungs of the earth". (Completed 250 programs) This last Sept-Dec I completed another 127 rainforest programs for a different company in a different region- the central U.S. Just to let you know I'm right there with you, and with all the people who are aware that animal foods are harmful to both human and planet health, not to mention the misery of factory farmed animals.

I, like you try to spread the message that what you eat DOES affect the earth. Keep up your great work. If there's anything I can do for you.



Until your December 2006 your newsletters have been great, BUT you crossed the line with this issue.  We're not interested in your opinion about global warming, and we're much less interested in Al Gore's.  Stick to what you do best.  You have strayed and will rue this day if you stick with this fruitless course.

Very disappointed,
Bob & Maxine


Dear Dr. McDougall,

I want to say how much I appreciate the December newsletter and the fact that you are taking action to raise awareness about this critical issue.

These are some of the ideas I've had related to diet and the earth:

First and foremost, we can eat a plant-based diet all or most of the time.  We can recycle, reduce driving vehicles, use public transportation and bicycles, drive hybrid or biodesil vehicles, lower our thermostats and turn off electricity when not in use, and use more solar options in our homes and businesses.

We can forward information such as your newsletter and other documents related to the issues.

We can speak out at our churches, synagogues, and our community centers.  At the church I attend, I've already spoken to two people about developing ways to share information about the impact of dietary choices as part of a ministry of stewardship of the earth.

We can talk to people at every opportunity, never underestimating the power of the "grapevine" and of the difference each person can make (Margaret Mead).

We can contact public officials and newspapers.

We can support vegetarian/vegan organizations and publications, such as EarthSave and the bimonthly publication VegNews, just to name two examples.

We can organize vegetarian events in our communities.  Earth Day, which is observed in March each year, is a good time to begin this.  Standing on street corners and distributing information to passers by is another possibility.

We can speak to the administrators and PTSAs of our children's schools to support curriculum and school lunch programs that incorporate plant-based meals based on programs like Dr. Antonia Dumas' food curriculum.

If vegetarianism is key to reducing global warming, then a grassroots movement to spread the word about the significance of our food choices is the most direct means of effecting change.  If we wait for politicians and food or agricultural industries to change, global warming will overtake us; it will be too late.  Howard Lyman is a great example of someone who understood the facts and then changed his diet and life, from cattle rancher
to vegan activist.  His is an example for all of us to follow.  Yours is as well.  Thank you Dr. McDougall for all you've accomplished, all you've shared, and all you continue to do in your work as a true physician.

Best Regards,



There is no need for the ridiculous global warming articles on your website.  Next you'll be telling us we came from monkeys.  Stick to the basics of health and if you'd like to read some good information on the "myth" of global warming, read the magazine--  'New

katie h


Hi SB!

I like your idea for a forum topic addressing Global Warming. You just never know what it will take to finally have something click for someone, to give them just that one little extra incentive to really make a commitment to a plant based diet. I have been moving in this direction for 22 years, with slips along the way. Each year the slips get smaller, but I still found myself rationalizing when I wanted to go off program for whatever reason.Long ago I read John Robbins "Diet For a New America" and Frances Moore Lappe's "Diet For a Small Planet", so for years I've known about the connection to raising livestock and depletion of our precious natural resources. But for some reason, when I read Dr. McDougall's article in the December 2006 Newsletter, I was really moved, more so than I ever have been, about the importance of a plant based diet to the future of our planet. Maybe it was finally the culmination of 22 years of exposure to the information; Al Gore's movie (despite the lack of discussion on how a vegan diet could help reduce global warming); the increase of coverage in the media on Global Warming. Whatever it was, I am so committed to this way of eating now that I have totally lost my desire and cravings for anything even remotely related to coming from an animal. I guess I am a hard case - 22 years, for heaven's sake! I have become more vocal about this topic with others (while always trying to remain non-preachy, and to stay off the soap-box).

I really like the idea of a forum on this topic - I hope others will agree!

Becky (BB)


The recent FAO report on livestock says that 18% of human-caused (anthropogenic) greenhouse gases (GHGs) can be attributed to the raising, processing, and transportation of livestock and their products.  To many people, this is probably a surprisingly high number.   However, higher numbers have been published, for example in an article by Alan Calverd in "Physics World," which estimates that 23% of anthropogenic GHGs are attributable simply to physiologic processes of animals raised for food -- i.e., not including processing and transportation.

Calverd's article goes further, pointing out that if we allow the possibility that plant-based foods could replace animal-based ones, then we realize that the huge amount of land dedicated to grazing livestock and growing crops to feed them could be used instead for growing crops to be converted to fuel.  Such fuel could replace most or all usage of coal, which generates a huge additional amount of GHGs, probably somewhere between 12-17% of anthropogenic GHGs. 

As for the percentage of anthropogenic GHGs deriving from transportation and processing related to livestock:  It's considerable.  We have to count the energy used for transporting the live animals and refrigerating and transporting the end-products, but also transporting the crops used to feed the animals.  Much of this transportation uses the most polluting, least efficient forms of energy, such as diesel in the internal combustion engines of the barges used to transport feed. 

In addition, meat must be cooked at higher heat and for much longer than plant-based equivalent foods, such as veggie burgers, which can be microwaved rather than grilled.  There's a lot of indirect energy needed to pump and pipe the vast amounts of water needed to produce meat, and more energy needed for both the water and electricity to provide the extra dishwashing to clean animal fats and charred material from pans and plates and ovens, and also for the extra cleaning needed for sanitizing areas used for prepping meat.  More energy is needed for the frequent radiation of meat these days for safety purposes.  

Another indirect use of energy is in the processing of the vast number of human diseases resulting from the consumption of animal products.  The medical systems used in such treatment, such as x-rays and surgery, are highly energy-intensive.  

It's hard to estimate the GHGs deriving from all those processes under the heading of "transportation and processing," but as a conservative guesstimate, let's say it's between 7-10% of all anthropogenic GHGs.

Adding the numbers above, it turns out that the total amount of GHGs that could be averted by substituting plant-based foods for animal-based ones is more on the order 40-50% than the 18% (under)counted by FAO.

Why would FAO undercount the number?  And why does FAO make no recommendation for reducing production/consumption of livestock products?  The answer might be in the list of authors, among which are veteran livestock promoters.  Those authors have previously published documents claiming that meat is needed to improve childhood malnutrition in developing countries -- which goes against the opinion of most mainstream nutritional experts -- and you can see they repeat that claim in this new report.

One or more of those FAO authors have worked at the World Bank, which like the FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.  Interesting, in 2001, the World Bank published a strategy document saying that large-scale livestock production was to be avoided, on environmental grounds, and for fairness toward small scale mixed farmers. 

However, the World Bank's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) -- although it too is a UN specialized agency -- never considered itself bound by that strategy document, and has continued to finance large-scale livestock production.  In 2005, IFC actually proposed financing a project to expand beef production in the Amazon.  The Sierra Club and others protested -- you can read about this at http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B126%5D=x-126-107739 -- and the project was suspended.  However, that project is now moving forward again.  Some protesting has started again;  you can read about this at http://www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=228107.  Stay tuned!

A member of the Sierra Club


Dr D

Your program is based on your study of science. It worries me when you link your worthy program to Global Warming,  before that science has been submitted to scrutiny.
Even the pro-GW potential  LA Times has stories about historical anomalies in temperature rises in the past. Had to let my crew go home early today here in LA due to ice on our equipment at noon time?.....just hate those anomalies like radiation spikes thru our ozone layer in the early 1930's
Keep up the good work.



We were approached by some "environmentalists" as we left Whole Foods this
morning, and I was able to share some thoughts from "Global Warming
Strategy" by Noam Mohr. Good timing!



I always appreciate the effort you must make to put your newsletter together.  Thank you. Global Warming, who among us would not have to say that it is something that must be continually watched.  However, while I am not a student of such, there seems to still be two major and creditable sides to the issue.

I know that there have been articles from not too long ago that even referred to just the opposite happening - global cooling.  And, politics aside, I so very strongly feel that Al Gore is a nut, and, should global warming be even most accurate, he is possibly the poorest leader that could be out front.

Now to our animals and the negative effect they have on us all - both in our body and in the field,  I strongly agree with your position, and appreciate your calling it to our attention.
blessings,  bob


I am proud of you, Dr. McDougall.  I always laughed at your joke about not being a vegetarian (since you eat turkey every other year at Thanksgiving) and forgave you for that, since we agree on the important truth that eating meat and dairy is bad for humans, but now I am proud, so proud, that your message is going beyond what is personally good to what is universally good.
Thank you so much.



Thank you for writing about this very important issue. Not a day goes  buy that I don't think about global warming. Eminent British scientist  James Lovelock says the trees and plants of North America will melt  away in 50 short years. I'm trying to stay positive and act and inform  my community of the consequences of our action. Take care and thank you for your life-altering work.


Thank you for bringing up the animal issue as part of the global warming problem.  I haven't seen the film yet, but a vegan friend told me that she was really sorry that Gore had not discussed it. 

My one concern is that you may lose some people by your comments about Gore's physical appearance (those of us who are already vegans don't need convincing!).  Such attacks tend to make people feel defensive and I'd really hate to see that happen.  This animal issue stands on its own and is extremely important.  I hope you might consider removing this from your website:

To explain the second source of his blindness to livestock’s role in global warming, I offer one of my personal quotes, “People love to hear good news about their bad habits.”  With no intention to offend, I must point out that Al Gore’s physical appearance reflects overindulgence in the Western diet­filled with meat, chicken, seafood, milk, and cheese.  To speak plainly, he cannot see over his own dinner plate.

And possibly even remove the discussion about Gore's financial connections.  My reason?  One, so that people don't turn on what you say because it angers them.  Two, it would be wonderful to get Gore's support on plant based consumption, and if cornered, that might not happen.

Just a thought.  Since I support what you do to help people,  I wanted to toss this feedback your way.  Thanks again for writing about this topic.


Thank you so much for this month’s addition to the Newsletter on this important subject. I did call Gore's office and left a respectful message. As well as thanking him for his courage, I suggested, "...in your sequel (An Inconvenient Truth and how we are doing'), that you be just as courageous as you were and bring out this "Giant step for mankind", the poisoning of the planet of over-breeding livestock. I am forwarding the letter to all.

I so appreciate your work. God Bless you!



John - Thanks for your VERY IMPORTANT newsletter.  We in the Sustainability Council are emphasizing locally-grown, plant-based diets as a central part of our program for local sustainability. 

I know you are entirely aware of this but the following point needs to be emphasized as a way to motivate people to switch to a vegetarian diet.  A plant-based diet would pay enormous economic benefits in terms of reduced health care costs, both at the individual level and at the national level.  We spend an obscene amount of money on a health care system that is providing little more than symptomatic relief for our self-indulgent diets and leaving us only 37th in the world in health care delivery, behind Cuba and countries in Eastern Europe.  The money we saved on health care would go a long way toward mitigating the environmental damage mentioned in the UN report as the result of the livestock industry.  Imagine what we could do about global poverty and malnutrition by cutting in half our military expenditures at the same time!!  Zowie!!



In the movie there is a very moving part where Gore describes his family's tobacco growing heritage and how his father stopped growing tobacco only after smoking had killed his daughter (Al Gore's younger sister). It was his father's 'Amazing Grace' moment, I thought.

Well, I think Al Gore needs an Amazing Grace moment here himself. Thank you Dr. McDougall, for pointing this out and being bold enough to push this. This needs to be aired in the public forum, somehow.

You know, I don't think Americans as a whole will go for the idea of becoming vegetarians, at least not the majority. BUT, if cutting our meat consumption in half will make the difference I think that is a very reasonable argument to put forward. Will people reduce their meat consumption if they see the connection to the survival of the planet? For beef producers (farms/ranchers) I think you could argue that consumers reducing meat consumption might actually improve prices and help the small family farmer vs. the corporations. So, I don't think this is an impossible discussion to have.

Anna S


Dr. McDougall,

The whole human population of the world going vegan will not save us
without enforcing a population reduction policy as well (ie. a one
child per woman policy).  Gaia will reduce our population for us
because we are incapable of doing so voluntarily.



Dr. McDougall: 

I just can't believe that someone like you can be so successful in his quest for truth when it comes to health and nutrition and fall short when it comes to global warming.

Global warming is a political issue led by devious people like Al Gore and the UN for the purposes of acquiring power and destroying corporate America.....in that order. Do you honestly think that Al Gore is going to quit eating meat cause he thinks he's contributing to the earth's demise? I think not.

In case you think that bad science/scientists are just in the medical field, I've copied (above) some FACTS for you to ponder regarding Global Warming and mans role in it. I don't think the good Lord would want man to have the power to destroy the earth till He was ready. In short, the world has been here for billions of years, according to some, and I don't think the evil Americans can bring her to her knees in 2 or 3 hundred years.

If we want people to be healthy.....example is the way. We can't force people to change to our way of life.



This resource is a site by Steven Milroy:

Steven J. Milloy is a columnist for Fox News and a paid advocate for Phillip Morris, ExxonMobil and other corporations. From the 1990s until the end of 2005, he was an adjunct scholar at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Steve_Milloy



We watched Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" just two nights ago! We were speechless for a few minutes after it was over! Then I asked out loud, "Did I miss something or did he NOT mention the problems caused by raising livestock?" --- It is almost like you HEARD me and answered my question!!! Thank you!

Dr. McDougall, I PROMISE you that this little 89-pound, vegan, solar cooking, very energy saving McDougaller who uses NO AC in the summer and just enough heat to keep from freezing to death during the winter WILL do ALL SHE CAN to inform others of how consuming LESS livestock can save our plant -- OUR HOME -- that little dot in the vast universe!

I am only ONE person, but if many other McDougallers join in (as I am SURE they will -- after reading your article), I am optimistic that ALL of us can have a positive effect.

I am getting ready to go back to your article so I can contact AL GORE's office -- just like you suggested!

Thanks, again! YOU ROCK!!!



Bravo on the December Newsletter! This is one of the most succinct and clear explanations about the livestock link to global warming I've read! It will be going out to many of my friends, especially those who own hybrid cars, use fluorescent bulbs, and buy green electricity while pouring money into the livestock industry with their diet.

If we want our children and grandchildren to be healthy, they not only need to be fed well now, but they need clean water and air thirty years from now.

How wonderful that a healthy human and a healthy Earth need exactly the same things!

Thank you, Dr. McDougall, for stepping up to the plate on this issue. What a lovely positive boost for starting the new year with better habits.
Anne (BB)


Hi Anne,

I couldn't agree more!!! I just finished reading it and I am getting ready to forward to all my family members, friends, co-workers, anyone I can think of! I also intend to contact Al Gore's office, per Dr. McD's suggestion. Every once in a while I get discouraged and have little slips and wonder if it is really worth while going against the tide all the time. Well, I think it is really time to turn the tide!

Dr. McDougall, you really inspired me, and helped strengthen my resolve, thank-you!

Becky (BB)


I think the US government and it's politicians are at the root of too many problems.  Congress either lies or masks the truth in order to get support and votes.

Although the vegan diet for health movement is growing, I believe most people will continue to eat the SAD diet until the government exposes the truth about the relationship
between health and lifestyle. Similarly, the public will never believe the truth about global warming until the government and politicians expose it. Pressure for what's right will bubble up from the public; but first the public must be given the entire truth.Armed with print-outs (ouch for the ink supply) of your web site's global warming articles, we're off to watch the Rose Bowl with friends.  :-)  Thank you VERY much for this
information.  Happy New Year, 



Dear Dr. McDougall,

This is in regard to your desire to see the planet saved.  There's no doubt that the planet needs saving. I don't know if you are a religious man.  But if you are, and if you use the Bible as your measure of important truths, you may know that the Creator is very much alive and already has his purpose and manner to save the planet.  Neither is he delaying.  The time that is passing by is serving the purpose of allowing mankind to see what disastrous results can occur from his rejection of Jehovah God's universal sovereignty. 

From the beginning in the Garden of Eden, man has been rebelling.  You've heard the expression, "If you give a person enough rope he will hang himself."  Well, man is nearly at the end of his rope.  Soon the Creator will declare to nations of the earth, in essence, "You have had enough time to prove that you can successfully manage the earth and it's inhabitants.  Now because of your stubbornness and pride, I am ridding the earth of you."  This Jehovah will do in the war of Armageddon which is God's war against the nations.  Humans do not need to engage in this war.  It will be totally fought from heaven by God's first-born son, Jesus Christ, together with the obedient angels and the resurrected co-rulers (co-heirs) of the Kingdom. 

Meanwhile, the teachable ("meek") from God's standpoint, have noticed man's failure to govern appropriately and are taking their stand in favor of God's incoming government (God's Kingdom for which Jesus taught his followers to pray).  These will form the nucleus of a new society inhabiting the earth under God's Kingdom.  God's Kingdom will save the earth.

So, if you are a god-fearing man, John, put faith in Jehovah's ability and purpose to save the planet.  See yourself, Mary, your children and your grandchildren in a Paradise earth. Global warming and ruination will be a thing of the past. Of course, what we can individually do for the sake of our consciences and perhaps a somewhat healthier and longer life is a plus. But remember too that "Who by being anxious can add a cubit to his lifespan?"  In comparison to eternal life (which obedient mankind will eventually be rewarded), a few years longer in our old age is only a "cubit" in God's estimation. 

One's duty now is to endure until deliverance arrives.  Of course you are doing a good work in sharing your knowledge and understanding with your readers and patients.  There is a great need for good physicians and quite a scarcity.  If you have had much contact with Kaiser HMO, you know what I mean.

I applaud you for your love for your fellowman and your willingness to do what you can to relieve ailing individuals.  We all want to enjoy life without debilitating circumstances.  We appreciate all the help we can get.  We are accumulating a library of your writings and DVD's, which are making our lives more livable.  Your encouragement and optimistic outlook are also appreciated. 

Keep up the good work and leave the planet in God's hands.  He knows exactly what to do and he will expose all the lies, the hypocrisy and the greed in his due time.

Respectfully, Elsa


Greetings, Dr. McDougall.

I'm writing in response to your request for feedback on meaningful ways to move forward with the global-warming crisis:

Please Help with the Solution: Over the next month, during every spare moment, think about this crisis.  (I have been able to think of little else myself recently.)  Watch Al Gore’s DVD, read the UN report, and Noam Mohr’s article in this newsletter. If you have not done so already, stop (or reduce) eating meat, poultry, fish and dairy—ask your family and friends to do the same and tell them why.  Mail your thoughts to me at drmcdougall@drmcdougall.com.   Next month’s (January 2007) newsletter will reflect our collective efforts for meaningful ways to move forward.

I'm an editor working with an author/scientist to publish a remarkable book on alcohol fuel that presents a sustainable, DOABLE, solution to global warming and many, many other social, economic, political, and ecological problems--from a systems perspective that incorporates permaculture farming and considers the health of the entire ecosystem. This author, David Blume, actually wrote this book 25 years ago, and PBS was funding the project along with a 10-part television series on the topic. As the book went to press, with more than 4,000 preorders in hand from PBS viewers, Chevron threated to pull funding from PBS, and the book sat in a vault all these many years. As you know, the topic is now even more urgent...and we are working hard to get this book out asap.  

You may be interested to know that David Blume received a patent in 2006 that has the potential to put a HUGE dent in Monsanto's ability to sell Roundup and Roundup Ready seed...I am so eager to get this information out to the public!

I would love for this author to write a synopsis for you that could pique your interest and that you could pass onto your mailing list. He is doing phenomenal work, and the political forces and disinformation about this topic are as huge as those that obscure the truth about health and nutrition from the mainstream.

As you can imagine, Mr. Blume is "doing the work of saving the world" and has precious little time...so I'd like to tell him something about the size of your mailing list and how many health- and earth- conscious people he could reach by writing to you and getting word out with your assistance.

Would you kindly write back and tell me about the size of your email subscription base and anything else that would help me approach him with this request?

Thank you!



Thank you for insightful comments in your December 2006 newsletter regarding global warming and the need to go vegan.  I am sure you knew your were "preaching to the choir."  Over the past years our efforts to educate our grown children and other family members (all college grads) have been fruitless -- except for my wife's sister-in-law who is a retired librarian. She read "The China Study" and is using your recipes.  Her husband is supportive but not a participant. 

I have come to the realization that trying to educate others about good nutrition is like trying to tell an alcoholic to stop drinking.  We support AA through our local Unitarian Universalist church and have learned from them that nothing works until the individual admits his/her dependence on alcohol and their need to change.  I believe this is the same with "meat eaters."  They, too, must experience the complete destruction of their health to learn there is a better way to eat to live.  And even then some people are deaf and blind to the facts!

Incidentally, I recently read that the growing need for corn for ethanol is starting to create a higher demand for livestock feed!  This will be an interesting economic development for sure! And we know the golden rule of economics: "He with the most gold makes the rules."     Let me close with a phrase from the 60's : "Keep the faith."



Hi there,

I just finished your fine article. It doesn't surprise me, though I would be surprised if the UN report generated any meaningful change.

We are mostly vegetarian but do eat meat on occasion. We do NOT eat factory farm meat except on the occasions where we are guests at other people's home and they are serving factory farm meat. Factory farm meat is wrong on every possible level and seriously grosses me out.

My question for you is what about locally raised free range meat? Eating less meat is, of course, a must but what about eating meat that has been raised on grass; has never been pumped full of chemicals; was purchased from a small local farmer with only a small number of animals; has been humanly treated while living; and humanly treated when slaughtered? Does eating animals like these contribute to the problem in any significant sort of way?

Americans will never give up their meat. I doubt they'll even reduce their consumption. I'm very pessimistic about people changing and have given up on trying to persuade them to change. Now I just try to live in a way which sets a good example. I'm known as the crackpot in my family. No one will even think about listening to what I think about diet or the environment, though the salad I bring to family gatherings is always welcome and touted as the best ever. Not surprising considering it's organic and fresh.



I agree... these are dynamite articles. Because I'm a scientist who worked in the environmental field for many years, this has always been a major incentive for my adoption of a veg*n diet. Anyone who has ever been involved in any kind of assessment of the environmental impact of livestock-raising facilities can't help but be aware of the large negative effects they have. Heck, anyone who has ever driven by a large dairy facility and been nearly overcome by the ammonia fumes, will have had that experience. I understand chicken farms can also be "memorable".

I remember being astonished that concrete building foundations were found to be rotting and crumbling away on land that had previously been used for dairy farming in southern California, due to the left-over soil contamination from cattle urine that had soaked the soil over the decades. Wanna buy one of those houses?

I loved Gore's film, but already knew that it did not address the large effects from livestock. Hopefully this knowledge will become better understood. Up till recently, there have been very few sources for credible synthesis of the relevant data, especially sources understandable to the public. I think that's been one of the problems.

Another problem has been blatant (and creative) attempts by recent governmental entities to (1) deny that global warming is even occurring, (2) suppress the obvious fact that atmospheric CO2 has increased dramatically and is at least contributing to the global warming, and (3) discourage non-governmental attempts at disengaging from fossil fuel use for energy. You'd think they would have given up on (1) by now, but recent administration attempts to squelch concerned scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey is just a continuation of the shameful efforts by the administration and its lawyers to censor and actually rewrite science.

A big thanks to Dr. McDougall for bringing these matters to our attention.



….and what different strategies are you using to help spread this information?

Hopefully, by posting this, we can obtain ideas from one another, encourage each other to NOT give up, and maybe even inspire others to join in the cause!

This is what I have done and am trying to do to:

1- Have written to Al Gore about his oversight about livestock farming in "An Inconvenient Truth".

2- Have contacted my congressman about global warming and about how raising livestock plays a major part in it (through Al Gore's global warming site).

3- Have emailed link to the McDougall Dec. 2006 newsletter (on global warming) to friends, family, and even business acquaintances -- with short personal notes explaining why I did this.

4- Have printed out several copies of each of the two global warming articles in the Dec. 2006 McDougall Newsletter and stapled them together to create "handouts" that contain one copy of each article. On top of each "handout" is a note (handwritten in my neatest handwriting) asking each recipient to please read the two articles and then to pass the "handout" on to someone else who is asked to do the same -- and so on, and so on….. I am now in the process of distributing them. By doing this, (in addition to reusing paper and helping to conserve natural resources) I HOPE that the handouts will reach many people -- with a high percentage of them being people that my husband and I do not know! .....and even if all of the “handouts” are thrown in the trash before they get very far, hopefully, at least a few people will have read them.

5- Already eat a vegan-type diet (McDougall MWL) and my immediate family members eat far less animal products than they used to. [Plus, I dry laundry on a clothesline; solar cook; reduce/re-use/recycle; have a small organic vegetable garden; will NOT cut the trees on our wooded property that surrounds our yard; grow fruit trees IN our "already cleared" yard (instead of having to clear more land for our tiny orchard); and try to conserve fuel, electricity, and natural resources as much as possible.]

6- A VERY HARD PLAN! I am searching for ideas for and information on PROFITABLE and SUITABLE environmentally friendly alternatives to livestock farming (such as growing fruit, vegetables, grains, and/or even trees for lumber and paper). That way, maybe we can give livestock farmers something positive to think about BEFORE we upset them with the horrible truth about livestock farming.

7- Am trying to learn how to be more tactful so that I will NOT offend people and accidentally turn them AGAINST the idea of cutting back on livestock consumption/raising.

......and as luck would have it....Just before the global warming newsletter came out, I had just written a letter about growing persimmons to a childhood friend whose family raises beef cattle! I did not mention anything about the cattle. I simply told her how delicious, profitable, and easy to grow Fuyu persimmons are (from my personal experience of growing a few of these trees). At that time, I knew livestock farming was detrimental to the environment -- BUT I did NOT know HOW detrimental it was until AFTER I had mailed her the letter! [By the way, I HAVE told her about McDougalling (several times) -- but even after commenting on how healthy and young I look in my recent photos, she is still eating a SAD diet.....]

SO, after reading Dr. McDougall's global warming newsletter, I wrote her another letter. This one was on the subject of global warming. Along with this letter, I snail mailed her (she's not online) a copy of each of the two global warming articles in that newsletter. The fact that the first letter was about growing persimmons made the second letter MUCH easier to write because, in the first letter, I had UNKNOWINGLY already given her one possible alternative to raising beef cattle!

I tried very hard to make the second letter polite and to the point -- but I am a little worried about how she and her family will react to it. Although I doubt that they will be seriously offended (if at all), they will probably think that I am just being a little eccentric and will not take the letter, articles, and "Livestock's Long Shadow" very seriously.

So, WHY did I even BOTHER to send her this letter? I sent it to her because it is one of the MANY small steps that I think we NEED to take in order to help people see the truth about global warming (and good health). I believe that, in the near future, as MORE truths about global warming begin to surface, she and her family might think back to this letter, the articles, and "Livestock's Long Shadow".....and that ALL of these things TOGETHER (not just one thing by itself) might finally cause them to take a few small steps in the right direction.

Therefore, even if I lose many of my first battles, I will keep striving to win the war against global warming!

I know that everything I have done and am trying to do, combined, is like only one drop of water in a large rain barrel. However, if every McDougaller does this or similar, I believe we CAN fill the barrel and help save our planet!

Dr. McDougall, thank you for supplying such great information on global warming for us to share with others AND for encouraging us to "get up off of our butts" and do something about the problem!
I believe we McDougallers can have a loud enough voice to influence enough people to cut back on livestock consumption/farming that we CAN have a positive impact on global warming -- if we REALLY try!



Good for you for being so active and caring so much about our small planet!!!!!

I used to write a lot of letters but these days I don't do as much. I do talk to friends and family about my diet though and slowly have influenced people towards adopting a vegetarian diet. One friend of mine went vegetarian in 2006 and my husband (total meat and potatoes guy) now eats vegetarian about 95% of the time, and vegan perhaps 75% of the time. So although they seem like slow changes when you look at your small circle of friends and family; the rising #'s of the vegetarian population speak for themselves! It is exciting and comforting to see how much more commonplace it is than even 10 years ago.

As far as anything else goes, only minimal changes. We recently bought some energy efficient light bulbs and have been switching those out as the old ones die in our new apartment. We recycle as much as possible. Even small things like saving our plastic grocery bags & giving them to the library to be reused. We buy organic as much as our budget allows, and my husband buys free-range eggs.

Off the topic of environmental issues but still good things to do; I volunteer weekly at a nursery. I also walk the dogs at the humane society on occasion, lol. While it isn't doing much good for our planet per se, it makes me feel better to know I've brightened an animal's day. Plus it is a fun fun way to get exercise in. Who doesn't love dogs?

"Any country that would give up a little freedom for a little security deserves neither and will lose both." - Benjamin Franklin



The Dec. newsletter, and the quote below from a list I subscribe to both arrived in my e-box today:

Today's Thought Is:

Our awesome responsibility to ourselves, to our children, and to the future is to create ourselves in the image of goodness, because the future depends on the nobility of our imaginings. --Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

The world we live in depends on the responsible contributions each of us makes. And this world is just as good as are the many talents we commit ourselves to developing and offering. None of us is without obligation to offer our best to our family, friends, or strangers, if our hope is to live in a good world. The world can only be as good as each of us makes it.

Individually and collectively our power to mold the outer circumstances of our lives is profound. Our personal responses to one another and our reactions to events that touch us combine with the actions of others to create a changed environment that affects us. No action, no thought goes unnoticed, unfelt, in this interdependent system of humanity. We share this universe. We are the force behind all that the universe offers.

Whether I acknowledge the depth of my contribution is irrelevant. It is still profound and making an impact every moment and eternally. --from the book, The Promise of a New Day, by Karen Casey (BB) 

I really enjoyed the movie "An Inconvenient Truth", but was quite disappointed by the fact the link between diet and planetary health was not emphasized in any way. Thank you for pointing it out in a format that may reach yet more people! I agree that sometimes knowing what is best for our own health is not always enough to keep temptation away from eating the SAD diet. As far as I am concerned, the more layers of reasons for why I need to eat low fat vegan helps maintain my motivation.

Hope 101 (BB)

An Interesting Interaction between Dr. McDougall and Rick:


Dear Dr. McDougal,

I attempted respond to your newsletter, but perhaps that is not the way to get to you.  So here is an edited version of what I tried to send you yesterday.

Please read some of the “challenging second opinions” regarding the actual threat of mankind induced global warming.  I am concerned that your current opinion on this matter may not be based on the best evidence. 

I recommend the following: 1) a recent book by S. Fred Singer “Unstoppable Global Warming – every 1500 years”; 2) a novel by Michael Crichton “State of Fear” that although a work of fiction is none-the-less researched and foot noted; 3) books by Patrick Michaels (e.g. Satanic Gases.)  and 4.)  The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Borg (sp?).  Borg points out the very real costs of human life to be paid by jumping to wrong conclusions, now.  Poverty kills and energy policy (taxes) can deplete world resources.  Singer is a very accomplished scientist with decades of experience researching this problem.  In fact, he mentioned the possibility of global warming more than 35 years ago.  In 1971 he predicted that human activity (cattle, rice, population growth) would result in a jump in methane that COULD contribute to global warming.  So, he was on the leading edge of studying this issue and is worth reading.

Some sources of information are politically tainted.  The United Nations report on climate (IPCC) was spun this way in that the summary that misrepresented the science within.

If you have not evaluated the other side, I encourage you to do so and I would start with Singer’s latest book.

Oh, and please be aware that computer models that are used to scare us have never been validated with predicting current weather patterns. 



Is this true?

David Archer at www.RealClimate.org attended a recent Heartland Institute luncheon and lecture featuring the denying duo, Dennis Avery (who is famous for his misleading claims about the health risks of organic foods) and S. Fred Singer (who is famous for his coincidental scientific endorsement of industries, from big tobacco to fossil fuel, who happen to be paying money directly to him or to his Science and Environmental Policy Project).

Best Wishes,
John McDougall, MD

Dr. McDougal,

The truth here is that I don’t know. 

But, it is not unusual to find negative things about “special interest money” behind people whose opinions go against the mainstream.  I am sure you are familiar with the tactic or similar ones.  You have put your neck out a lot!

And I am not in love with one source and, like you, I consider myself a scientist without an axe to grind either way. 

As I understand it, S. Fred Singer does not endorse tobacco, he was an editor that reviewed the methods used for the study.  His long history as a scientist predates recent associations that you might find suspect, I believe.  He does not claim to be a health expert, in any case.

It is the science of climate change that concerns me and big businesses will not be the ones that suffer if energy taxes (for example) are used to change behavior.  Government intrusion into the market does not hurt big businesses, it saves them from competition.  But, that’s another topic!

Thanks for considering this.


Well, here I get into politics.  There are two ingredients that MAY go together to make this soup - the anti-capitalists and the radical environmentalists.  Neither of these admittedly extreme ideologies are very fond of an objective analysis of things.  Who could be against the environment and who trusts big business?  Not hard to see why most folks a sympathetic to this point of view.

Back to the Skeptical Environmentalist (Bjorn LOMBORG not Borg – closer anyway, I refuse to get up and go to my book shelve just now) :  He lays out some of the claims of the radical environmentalists for a critical look from a statisticians perspective.  I also recommend the novel by Michael Crichton as a painless way to enter this world of contrary opinion – he did quite a bit of research for the book and the footnotes are real.

I am off to a New Year’s eve party (in my living room.)

Bless you for the good have done in the world and in my family in particular. 


So who profits from slowing and stopping global warming?

Best Wishes,
John McDougall, MD

Sorry, but I let something slip by on the last response.  Who benefits from slowing and stopping global warming?  That’s not the issue for me.  Who benefits from pretending to do something about a problem that does not exist or that may be a boon or that can be handled in less hurtful ways?

The issue is scarcity of resources to address the world’s problems.  Like clean water, malaria, ….



Did you read the rap sheet on Singer?


Best Wishes,
John McDougall, MD


Dr. McDougal,

I have seen the original charge and Singer’s response.  I had not seen the response to Dr. Singer’s complaint, however.  Thanks.

I admit to being frustrated by all this.  And there is much on both/all sides to criticize.  But, I think the issues raised on both sides are worthy of consideration.  I agree it is good to know the incentives of any proponent.  And no matter what the incentives, the truth of the research and reasonable conclusions can be drawn.  Second hand smoke research is not the same as being a proponent of tobacco - but I am concerned about his name being on a draft when he claims it is not his research!  Is it possible there is a less nefarious interpretation of these facts?  Can he be right about his area of expertise and still get funding from oil companies?  Worthwhile questions.

As to untruthful statements: the rap sheet on Singer contains one <<RE: IPCC: These people agree, unreservedly, that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity.>>  That is not true.  BUT, the summary of IPCC claimed this!  The scientists said something else within the report.  So both sides can claim victory and tell the truth in some way.  This back an forth politicization of what should be a scientific matter (first) is maddening.  Of course the climate is changing as it has always waxed and waned from ice age to ice age.  And most scientists believe that some human effect is likely.  It is a long jump from here to dramatic expenditures to cut greenhouse gases. 

Regarding my frustration with the IPCC - am I supposed to do read the whole IPCC report?  Then what? (I ask myself)

Like everything that has turned out to be critical to my health and my family’s well being, I have had to look into the issues myself and become more of an expert than I really want to be.  I do this by reading other sources.

I trust your ability to evaluate opposing arguments when you decide they are worth the time to evaluate.  I still believe the other points of view on this are very worthy of your time.  You are a respected source of information for thousands and thousands of people.



Dr. McDougal,

Here is another source that I consider in placing the global warming issue in perspective.  This link takes you to the head of environmental studies for the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank.  He has written three books on the topic.

http://www.cato.org/speakers/michaels.html  I believe they have pod casts on many topics that might be of interest, too.

While I always appreciate knowing the incentives behind someone’s work, I also believe the scientific claims can be evaluated independent of this.  Admittedly, finding a source one trusts saves time, so I am not dismissing incentives as a factor in determining trust.

Spokespeople for environmental groups have an incentive to make the world a very dangerous place so they can get funds to save it.  Government politicians have incentives to rally the environmental leanings of all of us to vote for them so they will save the day, too.  News media have incentives to make dramatic stories to sell papers, ads.  A fair evaluation of incentives will see them at play everywhere. 

I was taught from my anthropology studies that primitive people tend to adopt beliefs that are consistent with their economic interests.  I assume this is generally true for all of us.

Best wishes in all you do.


Dear Richard:

You are just trying to make fun by sending such references as the CATO Institute.  Right?  You can't be serious?

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington DC, was founded in 1977 by Edward Crane and Charles Koch, the billionaire co-owner of Koch Industries, the largest privately held oil company in the U.S.

The Cato Institute holds regular briefings on global warming with known climate 'skeptics' as panelists. In December 2003, panelists included Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and John Christy, all of whom believe that the current scientific understanding of climate change is inconclusive. Cato held similar briefings on climate change in Washington in July 2003 and 2002. (C. Coon, & Erin. Hymel (2003) Sound Policy for the Energy Bill, Heritage Foundation Reports, 23 September. ) According to People for the American Way, Cato has been funded by: Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Bell Atlantic Network Services, BellSouth Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, GTE Corporation, Microsoft Corp- oration, Netscape Communications Corporation, NYNEX Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Viacom International, American Express, Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Citicorp/Citibank, Commonwealth Fund, Prudential Securities and Salomon Brothers. Energy conglomerates include: Chevron Companies, Exxon Company, Shell Oil Company and Tenneco Gas, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, Amoco Foundation and Atlantic Richfield Foundation. Cato's pharmaceutical donors include Eli Lilly & Company, Merck & Company and Pfizer, Inc. (http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=9261) Between 1985 and 2001, the Institute received $15,718,040 in 112 grants from only ten conservative foundations: Castle Rock Foundation (reformed Coors Foundation), Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, Earhart Foundation, JM Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation, Carthage Foundation, David H Koch Foundation. (http://www.mediatransparency.org/search_results/info_on_any_recipient.php?51) The Cato Institute is a member of the State Policy Network 4/04


Best Wishes,
John McDougall, MD

Dear Dr. McDougal,

Yes, I was aware of the founding duo.

Believe me, I have been to many CATO events and have never even smelled a wiff of corruption in their approach to issues.  And, at their founding, I don’t think that Koch had any ulterior motives other than his libertarian ideals, certainly not to put up a shell to counter global warming (actually it would have been global cooling back then anyway.)  Cato does address issues that might be used to give government more power and serve as excuses for being more intrusive (e.g. Patriot Act) and global warming is a minor part of what they have addressed.

I also suspect, that any organization that must rely on donations would seek out those that support their work.  Does a politician have the views he has because of his supporters?  Or does he have the supporters because he has the views he has?  It depends I imagine on the politician.

So, back to my previous contention, that science can be debated and evaluated on the propositions proposed and the evidence that supports or fails to support it.

Thanks for sharing your point of view.



This may interest you:


[ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and 2005 in an effort to mislead the public by discrediting the science behind global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists asserted Wednesday…]

Best Wishes,
John McDougall, MD


Dr. McDougall,

I choose to minimize my focus on implied corruption of motives and instead try to evaluate the propositions for reasonableness and coherence.  Because a group accuses a company of something does not make it so.  If I knew the truth was not getting a fair hearing I might very support institutions that would help investigate and get the truth out.  Supporting people who seek to look into the truth of big issues is both self-interested and worthwhile at the same time.  In my experience, the people at Cato are not empty shells for hire by corporate masters.  They analyze and report on hundreds of policy issues and are respected, if not agreed with, over a wide range of issues from privatizing social security to the flat tax.  The LEFT has their think tanks, the RIGHT has theirs and the libertarians have Cato - who the left places as a tool of the right.  Actually the libertarians are left on social freedoms (abortion, alternative medicine, gay rights) and right on economic freedoms (less government involvement in private contracts, cut taxes, reduce regulations.)

So, I invite you to go to some source that does not already match the commonly held lay opinion and read what they actually say.  I would advise to go the ultimate anti-source!  The one that the radical environmentalists know is just a tool of the capitalist cabal.  This may well be Singer.  But, perhaps you might enjoy the Skeptical Environmentalist. (Bjorn Lomborg.)  This man set out to disprove a Cato scholar who claimed that life on the earth is not getting worse but better.  Using his grad students in statistics he ended up supporting what the Cato scholar was claiming on a host of environmental issues.  He has a detailed chapter on global warming in the book.  It is a complicated topic.  That is one thing I see in the books I’ve read is that the topic is very complicated and much is not known.  Listen to the pod cast from Cato, too.  Am I being an ostrich with my head in the sand or are the radicals being chicken littles running around saying the sky is warming?

Before you send me a link about Lomborg, know that I am aware of the smears in the press about this scholar too!  (Is it a coincidence that everyone that disagrees with the radical view on climate change is attacked as an idiot or of having been bought off?)

I do appreciate your effort to share what your concerns are about hidden incentives.  And I know the time you spend is precious. 

I am an independent thinker in many regards.  I scored a “0” in college on the Deference to Authority part of my personality test.  (The press would say “Wells scores Zero on Personality Test.)  This was a factor in my being open to your message on diet.  I recall that we had attended your workshop in Del Mar in the 1990’s then told our family doctor about you and loaned him one of your books (A Challenging Second Opinion.)  He brushed you off as someone who made radical claims to sell books!  Well, you did make radical claims and you do sell books.  So what? What I wanted to know was is what you say true or not?  In my judgment, that was the issue with you and is the issue with the science of man-forced climate change.

What’s at stake here really matters. 

Warmest regards, Rick

Dear Rick:

I would be very happy to know that global warming is not real. 

But even what I personally witness in weather changes says the obvious must be true:  if you pollute the environment with trillions of tons of CO2 and other pollutants things change.

The consequences of not cleaning up the environment are too serious.  An apology won't make it right.

Best Wishes,
John McDougall, MD

Dear Dr. McDougal,

I agree that the consequences are large either way on this issue.  I am sure there is some medical analogy that might apply here – one where action in one area that may or may not be life threatening causes known life threatening side effects.  Assessing the real risks is important.  The best thing to do is to understand what is really going on and what the impact truly is.  That’s what makes sense to me.  .

The logic that says adding tons of CO2 must have some effect is very reasonable and that is why people are so concerned about this.

Me, too.



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