The war in Ukraine has woken up more people to what was already in motion. We are galloping in the direction of the Apocalypse. The consequences of climate change, 8 billion humans, biodiversity destruction, resource depletion, the pandemic and immoral inequality are now leading to exploding energy and food prices. The number of people who do not know where the next meal will come from has probably passed the billion mark. How much is that? Three times the population of the entire US, twice that of Europe, 40 times that of Australia.

Because the Global North so far was relatively sheltered against the effects of the perfect storm of this multipronged lethal crisis, we have been able to pretend the problem was far away in time and space. We dodged most of the bullets so far. Yes, there were a few hick ups: 9–11, the Financial Crisis, caused by high energy and food prices, The Arab Spring, the influx of migrants from Central America all had their effects on our complacent, arrogant, smug societies. We erected barriers and flooded the system with trillions worth of magic cash flowing to the wealthy, worn-down democracies hatched new neo-Nazi movements, but all in all, so far so good.

Nobody cared about the most famous statistic in the most consequential book of last century: Limits to Growth

Well, here we are, ladies and gentlemen, smack in the middle of an unfolding Apocalypse you have been warned about for 50 years. So, please admit it, we screwed up but can we still get out of this mess? Alive?


The short answer to this ominous question is probably YES, if we finally take the combined challenges storming at us at face value and do whatever it takes to turn things around. Remember that phrase? Whatever it takes? It was used to confront the financial crisis, you’d think we could apply the same words to a complete collapse of complex human societies with billions of deaths as a result. Because — look me in the eye — this is what is going to happen if we do not act at the scale and the speed necessary to turn this around. You understand it when the thread of nuclear war is hanging over your head as sword of Damocles. I forgive you if you did not lose sleep over the 0,04% of odorless, invisible gas in the atmosphere, or the fact that maybe as much as three billion poor devils far away from any connection to the internet were scrambling for basic income, food and water. Ok, fine, all forgiven. We have been able to deny these messages for decades, but will you finally wake up the reality of today: we ARE in World War III and we need to mobilize.


I am not a military strategist, but I only know that the guy in the Kremlin is obsessed and only understands power. If we let him erase whole cities and let those people die en masse, the guy in the Kremlin will not stop, so you might as well stop him now. Wearing him down does not help, because of the WMD he as in in his arsenal and by the day he is getting closer to using them if he thinks he still has a chance to win. He needs to lose!


Terrible as Ukraine is, I worry more about the food crisis that was a decade in the making but suddenly, here it is, the vicious head of Medusa has turned and is staring us in the face. The consequences will be massive if we do not act now. Remember what happened after the last spike in wheat prices? The Arab spring, the destruction of Syria, the refugee crisis to Europe and the spike in neo-fascist parties threatening our democracies (pushed with a little help from the Kremlin).


Ok, ready, got pen and paper? The first great act of courage and mobilization is actually quite simple and you don’t need the pen to remember it.


In order to not have places like Iran, Egypt and Pakistan and a few other countries explode (give or take half a billion people, versus 20 million in Syria in 2011) we need to get EVERYBODY affordable food. And let’s not forget our African sisters and brothers. What is on the horizon there is a complete horror show of possibly hundreds of millions of people cut off from access to affordable food, partly caused by climate change including huge droughts in the Horn of Africa and damaging floods in places like Mozambique and South-Sudan. Guess what, the solution is extremely simple: more grains are eaten by livestock than by people. Our meat and dairy consumption are taking up 45% of all grains grown in the world.

Livestock takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land yet produces less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories.

So if we only half our intake of meat and dairy FROM TODAY we can slow down the prices of food, feed everybody and reuse that land for other forms of food production of give it back to nature, which has other wonderful effects.

Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? More is to come and actually it is pretty doable too and actually may have a profound positive effect on all of us and more importantly on the future of the young people who inherited the mess we created and they will have to clean up. Thanks mom and dad…

This is the first in a series of articles to mobilize for the great turning in order of urgency to get us out of the mess we are in.

Full transparency: I am flexitarian and Dutch so I would probably die of a cheese withdrawal syndrome if I have to go to zero in one go. ;)



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Rob de Laet

Rob de Laet


Will we make the transition towards a sustainable human culture and society or will we choose chaos? It is up to us to make the Great Turning. Let’s Go!