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In today’s episode of The Plant Trainers Podcast we talk to Dr. Richard Oppenlander. Dr. Oppenlander is a sustainability consultant, researcher, and author whose award-winning book, “Comfortably Unaware” has been endorsed as a must-read by Ellen DeGeneres and Dr. Jane Goodall among others. Dr. Oppenlander’s most recent book, “Food Choice and Sustainability”, has won numerous awards including the 2014 International Book Award and the 2014 Green Book Festival Award and is being used by think tanks and strategists for developing initiatives to advance change.

Dr.Oppenlander is a much sought after international lecturer on the topic of food choice and sustainability. He has spoken to the European Parliament  and served as the lead consultant for the documentary films “Food Choices” and “Cowspiracy”. He also serves as an advisor to world hunger projects in developing countries and with municipalities in the United States. Dr. Oppenlander received an honorary award from the Hawaii Senate in April for his pioneering work regarding their food choice and environment connection.  Dr. Oppenlander has spent the past 40 years studying the effects that food choices and sustainability have on our planet and on us. He started an organic plant-based food production company, operates an animal rescue sanctuary (with his wife Jill), and is the founder and president of the non-profit organization, Inspire Awareness Now.  

Today’s talk with Dr. Oppenlander should revolutionize the way you see food. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to others and to generations to come to start making better food choices and start doing it now. The predictions are startling. At the current rates, our planet is unable to sustain our eating habits. If we continue eating like this, we will see the fall of our ecosystems and further global warming, which means we are literally stealing food from our grandchildren and great grandchildren’s mouths. This is an important message for everyone to hear, so gather your family and friends, give a listen and let us know your #1 take away.


In this episode we discuss:

  • The Hunger Games
  • What the SAD diet doing to our planet
  • Exceeding the tipping points
  • Sustainable and Optimal Relative Sustainability
  • Overpopulation and reproduction
  • Thoughts on Dr. McDougall and what he said
  • This is just another thing for us to do
  • Taking control
  • Actionable tips for making a difference today


Links to things we mentioned:

Dr. Oppenlander: WebsiteFacebook, Twitter

Food choice and sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work by Dr. Richard Oppenlander

Comfortably Unaware by Dr. Richard Oppenlander

Inspire Awareness Now

Organic Plant-Based Food Production Company

Food Choices – Documentary

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret – Documentary

Animal, for a cruelty-free lifestyle!

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12 thoughts on “Food Choice and Sustainability with Dr. Richard Oppenlander – PTP141”
  1. Avatar Rachyl Zak

    I learned a lot listening to this podcast and Dr. Oppenlanders message and I found it very interesting how he explained how the food choices we’re making today effects our global ecological footprint, climate change, animal and agricultural depletion.

  2. Avatar Seth

    The conversation on the podcast was very interesting when discussing the sustainability of our planet and the eating habits that should come with it, and the statistic of needing five earths to sustain the American lifestyle was very eye-opening. However, I do feel as if the issue of climate change is more complicated than simply to stop reproducing, stop using fossil fuels or to eat a plant based diet, and based on the current projections and the oppositional arguments, I am still unsure of my stance. However, it was still a very interesting and beneficial podcast episode to listen to and I definitely took some ideas from it.

    • Avatar admin

      Thanks for listening and for your thoughts Seth!

  3. Avatar Shayna

    What I agree with the most from this podcast was the whole idea of optimal relative sustainability which Dr. Oppenlander describes as foods that will provide the least ecological footprint relative to animal products. If we raise plants directly for us to consume, we will have an infinite amount of food per acre. I truly believe based on all the facts stated, that if we as human kind began to slowly adjust to eating plant based foods, we can solve all our problems for the present as well as prevent further damage to future generations.

    • Avatar admin

      So how do we get more people to understand the urgency?

  4. Avatar Channa

    I agree with Dr. Richard Oppenlander, we have to publicize the importance of minimizing our ecological footprint. We are using many of our resources way too fast, at the rate that we’re at in a couple years we will no longer have these resources. We are at an irreversible state for climate change, within the next 2 to 5 years. We are already 40% more then we should be in water scarcity, based on predictions we are at 2040 water rates not 2017. We are also expected to lose all commercial sea life by 2048 because of the over fishing. We are losing more and more biodiversity. We have to increase awareness through education, we have to educate the people and show how important this issue is. We also have to educate the educated, the leaders and teach them that we have to treat this issue as if it nuclear bomb, we must act quickly. At the rate that we’re at it is like we are having minor nuclear bombs, because we are already at those tipping point. The more people are educated and aware of the danger of our ecological footprint the faster we will see change. People must be aware that we are stealing resources for future generations, we humans can not live without other species we depend on other species for our survival. Therefore by over fishing and over eating animal products we are literally stealing them for future generations.

    • Avatar admin

      So true…more people need to know what they can do to help!

  5. Avatar Maddy

    Dr. Richard Oppenlander’s message about how the standard American diet is affecting the environment and climate change is very crucial information that our generation needs to be focused on as of today. There is an immense amount of resource depletion due to eating animals and sea life. This basically means that we are stealing resources today from future generations. If we continue down this path it means that we will gradually run out of resources. Were working through an irreversible state of climate change within the next 5 years, 2 years away to fresh water scarcity, losing biodiversity and habitat, oceans and sea life have been decimated, expected to lose all commercially used sea life by 2048 strictly due to overfishing. The food we eat derived from animals and agriculture has the largest contributing factor that is causing ecological imbalance. We are looking at a very bleak future due to our actions right now. I agree with Dr. Oppenlander in the sense that we must raise awareness about this critical issue, as we need to lessen our ecological footprints quickly and immediately.

    • Avatar admin

      All so true! We as a society really need to act NOW. Crazy that we can each make such a big difference simply by changing the foods we consume!

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