About the Author
I was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1960 and grew up on Long Island. In school, I felt like an outcast. Kids picked on other kids. Competition was bred into us and individuality was suppressed. I was forced to learn academics before understanding emotions. Much of the history I was taught misrepresented the facts, and rarely covered the human suffering component of the world’s conquests. Most of the environmental information came from the chemical and power industries. Nutritional information was supplied by the dairy industry. I would have been HDAD if that label had existed when I was growing up. It wasn’t that I couldn’t learn; I just wanted to learn something that wasn’t being taught in school. I searched for clarity. I looked out at the stars and wondered.
Luckily, I found a trade that gave me confidence. I became an auto mechanic. I went to college for automotive technology and then became a heavy machinery repairman. My goal in life was to make as much money as I could and have as much fun as possible, acquire possessions and follow what I thought was "the American dream."
By my late twenties, I was well on the "path." I owned my own business, a home in Long Beach, Long Island, and had a good income. But I felt empty inside and disconnected from something that I couldn’t name. I remember thinking, "Something’s missing. If this is all there is to life, I must have landed on the wrong planet." I started to get dizzy and sick. I went to doctors and was probed with tests, but they couldn’t find anything, so I took responsibility for my own health. I started surfing to regain my balance, literally.
One evening, after a good day of surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, I awakened to a new reality. Walking home along the beach, I felt a sticky, itchy film on my skin. Big green flies were biting me, leaving welt marks. I realized that the water was polluted with floating garbage and sewage and the beach was littered with hospital waste.
In the months that followed, I researched why this garbage and waste was in the water and where it was coming from. I became aware of the routine practice of ocean dumping. I realized that while I was taking care of my material needs, government and business were taking care of theirs also. Very few people were taking care of global needs. Like clean water. If I wanted change, I would have to take action and become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I had to leave the group mind and think for myself. I had to get my choices and lifestyle in line with my beliefs. I had to figure out what my beliefs were.
I realized that the natural world was missing from my life. I started camping and backpacking and became more connected to the environment. I liquidated my business and joined Greenpeace Action in the mid1980s to help in their effort to stop ocean dumping. I studied anatomy and physiology to learn more about the human body and searched for the causes of human disease. My relatives were dying and I found out that their food choices played a major role. I researched many environmental problems and their causes. I was upset to learn how negatively the animal and chemical agriculture industries were affecting our lives and our world. I was happy that there were actually workable solutions. I thought, "This is too simple. Why hasn’t this information been disseminated to the people? Why isn’t it a major topic in schools? Why isn’t our government doing something affirmative about this?"
I went to South Dakota to talk to the Lakota People on the reservations about food choices. I knew that many of the diseases that were afflicting them were caused by their