Jason Hartman talks about unemployment and its impact on mortgage delinquencies.Jason also interviews Hope Jahren and discusses her new book, The Story of More. She shares thoughts on consumption, overuse of products, and how we can fix these trends.
Jason Hartman 0:54
Welcome to Episode 1460. And you know what that means? When we say, Episode 1460, guess what? That ends in a zero. That means it’s the 10th episode show, and we talk about a topic of general interest. But this general interest topic ties in very much with my pandemic investing philosophy, because we are going to be talking to the lab girl, hope Jaron, and we are going to be talking about her new book, The story of more. One of my predictions and why this is very much related to that and to the economy. And my investing strategy going forward, is that I believe that people are going to dramatically change their lifestyles coming out of this crisis. And I think people are going to lean toward a simpler life, and as they lean toward a simpler life in an economy, and I’m speaking of the US economy, not the global economy, per se In an economy like the US, it consists of 70% consumer spending. If people live a simpler life, and they spend less, what does that mean to the economy? What does it mean to the stock market? Well, it means less. So there you go. Less is less. There’s an old saying in architecture, less is more. And I agree with that in architecture, and government, for sure. Less is more. This is the story of more. So we’ll see how this plays out going forward. I think you’ll be interested in this interview with hope today as she discusses some of this and and it’s really very timely. Okay, before we get to that, let me share with you a couple of economic data points and they also kind of relate to the topic of today the story of more. So a lot of people are very concerned that they will lose their job. And I’m looking at an interesting chart here. And this is from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And this is a chart entitled expectations of losing one’s job versus leaving voluntarily. And what this speaks to is, you know, when you look at the the probability of this, and what people are thinking about what their worries are, what their concerns are, what their emotions are. And you see how this is massively flipped on its head, because before the pandemic, people were kind of thinking, well, we are in a booming economy, love them or hate them. Donald Trump definitely gets a significant amount of credit for that. And they were thinking, Well, you know, I’ve got my choice. The job market is strong, I can leave, I can look for something better. You know, they’re thinking about their employer, I can better deal you I can just better deal you anytime I want as an employee. But wait, that has really, really changed, because this chart shows that now, the expectation of leaving your job voluntarily to better deal your employer has dramatically flipped on its head. And now a huge, huge increase in people thinking that they are on the verge of losing their job. Okay, and in getting laid off, or terminated. Another chart I’m looking at is quite interesting. We’ve talked a lot about the inventory shortage in real estate and the housing shortage in general. Of course, we’ve been talking about this for many years because there has been a very significant housing shortage and a shortage in inventory of properties. And, you know, hopefully on our last couple of webinars, we’ve helped you with that as we want to as your guide guiding you through this crisis, and we’ve presented more inventory And several Alabama markets brand new inventory nice new new homes beautiful properties. And then also new inventory in Jacksonville, Atlanta and other markets. You know, reach out at Jason Hartman calm or contact your investment counselor if you’re already working with him for more information and if you want a link to the replay of either of these webinars you know we can get it for you we got to go in you know, do some special things, set it up for replay but we’re happy to do that for you. If you are a serious ready, willing and able buyer or investor, we’ll be happy to do that for you. So just ask your investment counselor, or contact us through Jason Hartman calm or at one 800 Hartman, any of those places any of those ways will do. So check this out. Real estate listings have declined. I mean, I hope you’re sitting down because this is absolutely shocking. This is a one week moving average on a year over year. Compare Some real estate listings have declined. I not 20% not 30%. Not even 50% but a staggering in absolutely staggering 70% decline in listings versus this time, one year ago. Okay. Talk about a way to keep a shortage of inventory man, that is absolutely staggering. And that was published in Wall Street Journal according to Black Knight, maybe the last one and then we’ll get to our guest. So this is interesting, as we’ve talked a lot about mortgage forbearance. Oh, and by the way, you know, many of you know, you’ve met her at our live conferences and heard her on the podcast but my aunt Joan or Joanie. She likes to be called Joni, my aunt Joanie, who is a very rich real estate investor, she’s been doing it for decades. And she and her late husband, john, my uncle had been buying up properties for many, many years. Now they’re doing it the old fashioned way, you know, they’re buying them all in their neighborhood in Sacramento, the rent to value ratios are not good at all, as you can imagine. But hey, you know, look at income property is such a durable asset class that you can not optimize very well. You can make a lot of mistakes, you can have a lot of bad things happen to you, you know, bad tenants that don’t pay, you know, people that damage your properties, you know, crappy property management, you can just have a lot of bad things happen. But the asset is so resilient, through recession, through bad tenants, through bad managers through bad decisions on your part, when it’s your fault. You’re doing the bad thing, you know, and, hey, and you’ve heard many investors are their own worst enemy, aren’t they? So it’s such a resilient asset class that either way You know, you just keep doing it long enough, and you’re just going to end up really rich. So congratulations, you’re gonna be really rich. You just got to stick with it. You know, it’s a game of staying power. That’s what real estate the game of real estate always is, is the game of staying power. So, and Joni, I was talking to her last night. And she said that out of her 80 plus properties that she owns. I said, Joanie, how is your rent collection doing? You know, you got these properties in the Socialist Republic of California. And in maybe one of the worst places, Sacramento nonetheless, which is terrible, you know, very left leaning tenants play games. That’s the seat of the government. It’s the state capitol. And, you know, there’s a lot of pretty aware people in Sacramento with knowing that they can work the system, if you will, and in California, very tenant friendly, and landlord unfriendly. So that’s a place where people can work the system and work you pretty bad. Okay? But
Jason Hartman 9:01
But and Joanie said that in the last two months where people have been talking about rent strikes, and the California legislature has been talking about all these new laws that are very anti landlord, she said she’s only got one tenant that couldn’t pay, they lost their jobs in the pandemic, and they couldn’t pay and then she’s got one other tenant out. Now, this is out of more than 80 properties. Okay. One other tenant who has not paid all the rent, it’s a partial payment. So you know, I say that’s pretty good. And then I talked to my mom, No, mom doesn’t have quite as many properties. I think she’s up to like 19 properties. Now my mom, and you’ve heard my mom on the show. Many of you have met her at our live conferences. Over the years, many times she’s been there, you know, both and Joanie and my mom have been on stage talking about their real estate investing. And Mom said that she’s getting 100% rent collection last two months, okay. So you know, this one Rent strike problem that we’re reading and hearing about. I’m finding and this is anecdotal, I don’t have a real survey on this, but I’m finding that with my own portfolio, and with the investors, you know, you that we’re talking to that we’re hearing from, that this is really a problem in the multifamily housing category. And that’s one of the things I’ve always told you that if you own an apartment complex, just remember, you do not have a real estate investment in the typical sense. You have a business, you have a page on Yelp, where people are reviewing you and giving you a one star rating or a five star rating, and where tenants are all talking with each other and forming their little mutiny groups and saying, hey, let’s gang up on the landlord. Let’s do a rent strike and, you know, mutiny, mutiny, and and they do that. That’s one of the problems with multifamily properties with an apartment complex that all these tenants talking to each other. In fact, many Have them make private Facebook groups. And they all go into that Facebook group and they complain about how bad the landlord is and how bad the management is and how everything needs to be remodeled and repaired. And we’re not gonna pay our rent this month and all that kind of stuff. You got a bunch of single family homes that you bought at Jason hartman.com. Guess what, your tenants don’t even know each other. They don’t, they don’t talk to each other. They don’t know each other. And that’s good for you. Right? Because they can’t mute me. They can’t gang up on you. They don’t know each other. So, you know, we’re hearing about these rent strikes, we’re hearing about forbearance. And and we’re we’re going to see a big increase in mortgage delinquencies and and some rent delinquencies, too, especially in the multifamily sector. Remember also that in the single family home sector, you just have a better quality tenant. Of course, there’s an exception here and there but by enlarge, your tenant quality is just so far superior in a single family home than it is in an apartment complex. You just get better people that pay their rent. Okay. So this is this chart says the extraordinary increase in unemployment is signaling a spike in mortgage delinquencies. Okay. It’s not happened yet. Okay. But they think it’s coming. Because they look historically at this chart from 2000 until 2020, probably it doesn’t say exactly, but it probably goes back 60 days, I bet there’s probably a 60 day lag here or maybe 30 days but 30 to 60 day lag time in the reporting and the mortgage loans past due over that 20 years. And the unemployment rate. I mean, they pretty much track each other very closely. So when unemployment is down, delinquencies are way down and people mostly pay their mortgage. That’s never 100% people paying the rent or their mortgage. And when unemployment goes up, the delinquencies go up. So I’m looking at the chart and wouldn’t you know it right there during the Great Recession? You know, you see 2008 you see a big spike in unemployment. You see a big spike in delinquencies. Imagine that right? And it pretty much tracks I mean that this chart is very, very consistent, where one line tracks the other, and they believe that there will be a spike in mortgage delinquencies. And what’s that going to mean? Well, one thing it will mean for certain now you can take this to the bank, take it to the bank, and that those people that go delinquent on their mortgages will ultimately end up being kicked out of their house and it will go back to the bank and be sold at a foreclosure sale or be sold at a foreclosure sale should still be one or the other. And they will not be buying another house because their credit is beaten up and they will be renting and you will be there to provide rental housing to them. So congratulations. one more comment. I did a really interesting interview today. Actually, this will probably be a webinar because it’s sort of in depth and complex. And I interviewed a market researcher who was quite fascinating. He was a speaker at one of my mastermind groups recently. And so I invited him on to be interviewed by me. And we looked at all kinds of charts and graphs. And we talked all about the migration trend and how it is already happening. And this huge influx is already beginning. And folks, many places are still under lockdown. Okay. And we’re already seeing it. And this trend is going to get a lot a lot bigger. And you your listener, your investor, clients of ours, you are going to profit from this very, very handsomely. So congratulations in advance, because there is a tidal wave, a tsunami coming at the type of property, if you’re listening to my show, and you’re a client of ours, that you own already, or you’re about to buy, so congratulations, and lots more on that on upcoming episodes and webinars and so forth. Alright, I’m talking too long. As usual, it’s time to get to our guests. Let’s talk to hope about the story of Moore. And really think about how this totally interplays with my prediction of how coming out of this people are just going to live a simpler life. So, you know, if you deal in luxury properties, or if you’re a yacht broker, of course, the super rich wall was just do what they do. But that upper middle class, I don’t think it’s going to be the same. I think people are going back to basics a little bit. And I think there’s a real cultural shift that is happening. We’ll see. You know, maybe I’ll be wrong, but I doubt it because I’m usually right. About everything except, well, interesting. rates. I’ve been wrong about that for a long time, but hey, you can’t win them. All right. All right. Without further ado, here is hope.
Jason Hartman 16:12
It’s my pleasure to welcome hope Jaron. She is an internationally award winning and acclaimed geochemist and geo biologist at the University of Oslo, Norway. I’ve been there twice, by the way, known for her work using stable isotope analysis to analyze fossil forest dating back millions of years. She has won many prestigious awards in the field, including the James B McElwain metal, the American Geophysical Union. She’s number one bestselling author of lab girl and her most recent book, The story of more how we got to climate change and where we go from here. Hope welcome How are you?
Hope Jahren 16:53
I’m just fine. How
Jason Hartman 16:54
are you doing? Crazy times we’re living in and of course I’m referring to COVID we don’t know when to play well. be listening to this episode necessarily. It might be years from now, but just give us a little flavor as to what’s going on in Norway with the Coronavirus pandemic?
Hope Jahren 17:09
Well, it’s maybe not too different from what a lot of your listeners are doing in that I’m home every day I’m working from home, we go out and we buy food and we go to the pharmacy, but we’re really encouraged to go out as little as possible, and certainly not to mix, you know, in a personal way. And that’s been in effect now. 10 days, I’m 10 days into that and we’re not expecting to get the all clear for for some time. Of course, I don’t have any idea what that what the rules are going to be. But the kids are home, the parents are home, the workers are home, and we’re sitting tight
Jason Hartman 17:46
in the economy has come to a grinding halt. And we’re going to talk about that relating to the story of more. I think that’s a pretty good segue, but I got to ask you, is yours a government order? Or is it a suggestion
Hope Jahren 18:00
It’s a suggestion. And it’s a suggestion that people are following very closely. And the thing to remember about Norway really is that it’s a country of 5 million people. So it’s a country with a population the size of Atlanta. So organizing that many people and getting them on board having their co workers, you know, all my coworkers are doing the same thing. A lot of us work for the schools or other, you know, centrally governed workplaces. And so it’s a recommendation, but the Spirit is to follow that recommendation pretty closely.
Jason Hartman 18:33
I would think that in Norway, or any of the Scandinavian countries have been doing all that, you know, people would just listen without much, you know, debate, you know, I can totally see that. Okay, well, so this is interesting, because one of the ways of course, people have been judging what’s going on in China is by simply looking at the smog levels, and that’s an indicator of how active the economy is. Tell us about the thesis of your recent book or your latest book, The story of more. Have we all just gone crazy with consumption or what’s going on in the world?
Hope Jahren 19:10
Well, there was a period of time where we were awfully, awfully good at making things. And my thesis is sort of that instead of taking all that imagination, and going on to the next step of making things, we simply made more and more and more and more of what we could make. And we figured out better and better ways to get people to buy that more and more. So we’ve kind of edged ourselves into a corner where we’re, we know how to make things very well. But we’re sort of trapped in having to consume more than we need to consume, almost just to get rid of all these products.
Jason Hartman 19:45
So tell us what you mean by that. Is it Yeah, is it like the issue of Okay, we’ve got all this junk. Now we got to go to the Container Store to figure out how to store it and organize it.
Hope Jahren 19:57
I like that that’s kind of a habit. Stuff means you have to have still more stuff. That’s that’s sort of what you said. And that’s, that’s, that’s very nose on. One great example is grain. So the population has doubled. You know, since I’ve been alive in the last 50 years. And that was a crisis crisis around how we’re going to feed all these people. That’s a lot 7 billion people’s an awful lot of people. But
Jason Hartman 20:21
on balance, I do want to note that Mr. Matthews now who’s in economics fame, said that in 1798, too, and apparently, yeah, we got past that hurdle. Oh, on balance, I say that. Go ahead.
Hope Jahren 20:35
Oh, yeah. And the book goes through that too. I mean, people have been worried about population growth ever since they could count each other in Mesopotamia, you know, 2000 years before Christ. People were talking about can the earth take no, and that’s something that every single generation wrestles with, but the really kind of magical thing that happened about 50 years ago was that Plant scientists or agricultural scientists working with our farmers and our ag stations, came up with a way to grow several times more food on the same plot of land.
Jason Hartman 21:12
So as much as I love to hate this company, is Monsanto largely behind that.
Hope Jahren 21:20
It’s a part of it, but it’s really kind of the end of the story in that to make a bushel of corn, for example, and a bushel is about what it sounds like. It’s about a 50 pound basket and about like what you check into the airport, not to grow a bushel of corn 50 years ago that used to take a field the size of our basketball court. Today, it takes just a little over a parking space to make that much green. Okay, so we have been doing this wonderful, wonderful thing and we do it in three ways. And part of it is the improved breeds that now Monsanto has more or less of a non monopoly on selling He’s very improved breeds, but it also comes from better herbicides and better pesticides better irrigation.
Jason Hartman 22:08
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not cancer, the cancer causing roundup by the way. Yeah, go ahead. Yes.
Hope Jahren 22:13
Yes, absolutely. So we ended up with double the population growth and tripled the food supply. Now, that was an amazing, you know, an amazing way to sort of solve this problem. But then the question became, what are we going to do with all this food and corn is this great example because it’s found new, it’s actually hard pressed consume all this stuff we make we we take part of the corn and we turn it into fuel. We take food, edible food, and we turn it into fuel for cars. Right? And we take it and we turn it into flat out sugar, we put it in Coca Cola, we basically take all the nutrients out of it and turn it into just plain sugar and then that goes into everything. Corn Syrup goes into your catch up your salad dressing. So does your Yeah. So we’re kind of, we created all this more and now we’re desperately trying to find ways to consume it. And of course that’s driving vast overconsumption most of which is just not doing us any good, or is doing us active arm. So the big question the way I see it is, can we learn to live with less? Can we learn to invent other things and invest in those that will help us not do more, but actually do less? It’s kind of a, it’s kind of a different mindset. And it takes a while to wrap your mind around actually,
Jason Hartman 23:39
okay. Okay, so well, you talked about the food part of it. And I was going to say, only half jokingly, sadly, is that Americans have figured it out. They just store more food in their bodies. And so we have a massive Oh, pardon the pun obesity epidemic, a massive one. But you know, with sugar it’s, there are obviously distinctions to that, but what are you doing I mean, you’re talking about every kind of material, every widget of every kind food just being one of many, right?
Hope Jahren 24:08
Right. So we consume three times the number of fossil fuels that we did 50 years ago. We consume 10 times the amount of plastic we consume 14 times the amount of seaweed if you can believe that.
Jason Hartman 24:23
Love seaweed salad. I eat it all the time.
Hope Jahren 24:26
Only about 10% the eat 90% of the seaweed that gets harvested ends up in things like shampoo and hand lotion, cosmetics and processed vegan foods, right? Because you need to substitute for eggs and mayonnaise and things like that. And so we are turning food into chemicals and then turning those chemicals into ourselves. And our health indices are decreasing and the toll on the earth is as great or bigger and bigger every year.
Jason Hartman 25:00
Is there anything we’re using less of or doing better at? Or, you know, it’s easy to say okay, well, you know, bad, bad people over consuming and pillaging but are we using less of anything? I mean, we’re using more plastic and more this map but anything was
Hope Jahren 25:19
well that’s a big point is that it’s not we aren’t bad people you know and a lot of the snuck in on us when we we didn’t realize it was happening. You know, if you think about the after school snack you had when you’re a kid versus versus now and how much plastic you have to open up in order to do the one versus versus the other. A lot of these things didn’t seem like big changes in our lives. And we certainly didn’t go to the grocery store and say I’m picking that because I don’t care about anything and I want to run a wreck everything but we did sort of trap ourselves into a system where plastic packaged products were kind of all that we could buy what we’re doing right now. And this has been really interesting and it’s certainly Something I didn’t expect when when I was writing this book is we’re having this kind of interesting. And also, of course, people are ill and dying. And so it’s not at all positive. But at the end of it all, we hope and pray that we will go back to a new normal, and then we can have some interesting discussions about how much of all that stuff that we did was actually optional. How much of this traveling around meeting face to face, eating out in restaurants, you know,
Hope Jahren 26:31
gas in our car to get there, how much of it was was optional?
Jason Hartman 26:36
A lot of it is just sort of, like laziness in a way. Well, I mean, I don’t want to say it’s lazy to travel because that takes kind of a lot of energy actually. But it’s we sort of just go along with what we’re being sold by Madison Avenue or, you know, it’s social media and keeping up with the Joneses and, and you know, people I think human nature is always been that way, but It seems as though we’ve had this explosion of it, right? Maybe because we’re just more connected and disconnected than ever. And at the same time, and you know, maybe psychologically, like we’re all looking to fill a void. But we’re all connected. So we see what everybody else is doing. That’s the keeping up with the Joneses concept. And then of course, we get constant bombardment of media and, you know, it’s, it’s maybe not a very mindful way to live. Is that what you’re saying? Or
Hope Jahren 27:28
I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s wonderful to talk to somebody who, who says what you just said, it really is. It’s, it’s, you know, and we know that we have to, we have to have a job, we have to have a paycheck. We support our families, you know, we need a place to shelter we need food to eat, but do we need all that 10 times over? And is it making us any happier? You know, just like you said, sometimes it seems like acquiring all these things is actually us trying to fill a hole with something and it doesn’t seem as if it’s working. I mean, it’s really hard to measure how happy people are. But there are international reports that have tried to do it. And you know, they, they publish the happiest country in the world and all that sort of business. But when they look at, they’ll say,
Jason Hartman 28:14
I don’t know. I was just in Denmark several months ago, and I’m not sure but
Hope Jahren 28:22
yeah, if you like spicy food, you’re not gonna be very happy there.
Hope Jahren 28:26
People have the ability to be happy everywhere. But in general terms, you know, if you look across, particularly the last 10 years in America, people are saying very adamantly, that they’re not as happy as they used to be. Even though all this consumption is still going up even over 10 years ago. And so that leads me to believe that they’re not linked. You know, there isn’t some amount of extra plastic doodads we can buy that’s going to going to fill that particular hole.
Jason Hartman 28:58
This is what economists Call the law of diminishing marginal returns. And I think that’s, you know, to put it in economic parallel lines. That’s what we’re talking about, you know, you all this stuff makes you happy to a point. And then it actually becomes a burden after that, or it makes you less happy. Or maybe just being on the treadmill makes you less happy. I’m not sure I get the idea. I’m not saying I figured it out. But you want to elaborate on that?
Hope Jahren 29:27
Well, I’m really excited about the last third of my book, which is really about making small changes that might turn into big changes. Just considering, you know, the way we consume and the way we eat and all these things. They’re actually just 100 little choices that you make over the course of the day. And you make them yourself, you know, we have quite a bit of agency as consumers. And as you know, we have some, you know, we’re constricted in some ways, but there’s They’re sort of a guide of, you know, if you wanted to use less energy, which of the items in your house uses the most? You know, even when I meet people that say, Well, I’d like to cut down on my energy use or my footprint or whatever? What’s the best way to do it? How do you get the most bang for your buck? Is it by turning all your lights off? When you leave the house? Is it by this or that? Well, it turns out that a lot of it goes back to your hot water heater, you can use a smaller one or keep that water just a little cooler. That’s where you’re going to save money and save energy. And you can do it for a lot of reasons. You know, it can be a household, a household project, and if some folks are doing it to, to save a few dollars on the electric bill, that’s fine if other folks are doing it because they’re part of the gretta generation that wants to, you know, save the world from climate disaster. Well, that’s just fine too. I think that thinking about these things and thinking about what we can do as individuals, starting with small and getting bigger and bigger We go, I think that’s a way to, to start to talk about it.
Jason Hartman 31:06
But no one’s gonna get too excited about turning down the water heater. I mean, there’s got to be some bigger things here that are I mean, I’m looking at your table of contents, right? So, because I don’t know where I should go in here, but you know, I think the food thing is one that you know, if you look at the COVID thing, for example, right, and you mentioned in Norway, people are cooperating pretty well. And in the US people are cooperating when you know, it’s a big country, okay. 327 million people but there are these outlier idiots right? But by and large are now the new term is COVID hit OK. New slang, okay, for people who, in fact other people or or, you know, go and spiral the toilet paper, so there’s none left for anybody else. Right. You know, but by and large people are cooperating but you know, maybe it’s not because it’s just sort of the right thing to do. It’s because they have the own health at stake. You know, it’s like, maybe they don’t care if they pass it to anybody else, but they care about themselves. So I think food is a big one. It’s kind of like an easy fix to because it’s for you, you know, it’s you can be selfish and think about Okay, well I want to eat better because it’s good for me. And you know if it has a side effect of being good for the environment, great. Yeah, you know, the real motivation will be for looking in the mirror and feeling better and having more energy and all that kind of stuff. So maybe you want to address some of the food stuff.
Hope Jahren 32:34
Yeah, meat is a real you know, it’s like they face it’s like this Your light bulb matter more than your hot water heater? No, it doesn’t. You know, my phone
Jason Hartman 32:43
doesn’t take much energy anymore, thanks to LED lighting, right?
Hope Jahren 32:47
Hardly any. It’s your AC, it’s your furnace. And also with your diet. You know, meat is your big is your big lever right there. What I try to encourage people to think about is it’s not an alarm. Nothing thing you don’t have to choose to be, you know, a vegan or an omnivore or you know, it’s not that the difference between seven servings of meat a week and five servings of meat a week is huge in terms of huge for your health. Absolutely. Right. So, it’s not about joining one of these clubs and picking up the torch it can be about, you know, one meatless day a week adds up to a massive amount of food leftover for somebody else.
Jason Hartman 33:33
Let me share a couple thoughts on that if I may, and I you know, I we talked OFF AIR about them. When I was in my 20s. I was a not too strict vegetarian for six years, and then I came off of it and I actually felt better eating some meat. But I think by far at least Americans consume way too much meat and I’m you know, I’m not omnivore I think we’re meant to be omnivores. But meat should be the celebration concept. Think about it. If we were Living in caves. Hunting is a hard chore that’s difficult to hunt and catch an animal. They’re fast. Okay. And, and so that was the rarity. And you know, maybe the whole village got together and had a celebration when there was a kill and they ate the animal. But it wasn’t three meals a day. We were I don’t think the body was designed to consume that much animal product. And, of course, it’s better for the environment. You know, I remember I interviewed john Robinson on the show, but years ago, I follow john Robins work and I go see him speak and he wrote diet for a new America a great book, he talked about the number of gallons of water it takes to produce a pound of edible fruit, vegetables or meat. And the meat is just it’s insane. It’s so inefficient to feed an animal vegetables and then slaughter the animal and eat the animal. You know, you could just eat the vegetables and it’s it’s just a much more efficient thing eating low on the food chain. It’s it’s So much better for you. It’s better for the planet. It’s just better for everything. So yeah, what I would say to people is just eat, eat meat once a day, you know it, this whole concept of like, Oh, we need all this protein, I kind of felt for that for a while too. You know, protein is a big molecule, it doesn’t circulate in your body very well. And if you overdose yourself on protein, because you’re trying to bulk up or whatever, you know, you need protein. It’s the building block of your muscles, sure, but too much of it is counterproductive. It makes you get cancer, it slows down your circulation. And
Hope Jahren 35:36
what I try to emphasize to people is it’s not that we’re on the heavy end of meat eating, it’s that we’re way past the end of the meat eating. So back in, you know, the wartime recommendation, you know, back World War Two when they tried to get folks to cut down on things for the war effort. They advised about 3.5 pounds of meat per family per week. As a perfectly healthy way to go, and there were lots of families that were able to adhere to that. Today, we live in a society where we’ve got an awful lot of folks eating about 3.5 pounds, or nearly that per day in terms of animal products, right. So we’re past being omnivores. I mean, it’s it’s really, really very much off the charts with this sort of thing. And it’s not as you say, it’s not doing us any good. And we’re getting to the point where we need to think about why, why are we doing this? How did we get this? When do we need it to go forward? The other thing we do is we throw away about 40% of the edible food we prepare, right? Yeah, that’s terrible. So in order to keep the food, we just make so terribly much food in order to keep that wheel turning. We have to, we can’t even possibly stuff it down ourselves. And it’s not like we’re not trying right. We have to actually be about amount of food that’s edible that we throw away. In the first world is enough to feed the everyone who’s undernourished. on the planet, there’s about a million undernourished people. And the amount of food that gets thrown away is equal to what would bring them up to a mark of nourishment. So we live on a planet that all the suffering that we see is because of our inability to share not the earth inability to produce. And I remember when when I figured that out from lots and lots of numbers and crunching lots and lots of data. That’s true with respect to energy. And it’s true with respect to food, and it kind of puts us at a crossroads. Are we just going to keep going toward the more until, you know, almost you remember that Monty Python movie where that guy literally
Hope Jahren 37:56
that sometimes you know is that where could it possibly end?
Jason Hartman 38:01
Yeah, it’s quite something It really is. Any comment on sugar and the different types of sugar and you know, anything like that anything more you want to say there.
Hope Jahren 38:11
Sugar is interesting in that it’s very, very cheap to make. And it’s very easy to put into food. And it’s, it’s driven the sales of certain things, when we figured out how to make corn into sugar, it was as a syrup. And it was very, very easy to get it to go into liquid form, much easier than the sugar we had before that and that’s when we saw the explosion of soft drinks and two liters for 99 cents and it became available it became everywhere and it became kind of the default drink. And there was about you know, now, soda consumption is starting to go down a little bit, but I think what would we have without Having all the sugar and everything, you know, it’s in the sugar if these sugar compounds were literally invented in the 1970s. It’s something we hadn’t known before. So So you’ve got all this great technology, these great ideas, these great investments, but it seems like we’ve put them to some unfortunate uses. Do you agree with that?
Jason Hartman 39:21
Yes, I do. And I think one guideline should be to simply look at the way nature operates. Like the example I gave of eating animal products. animal products are not easy to get in nature. Animals are fast, they’re hard to catch. Okay? We’ve gotten good at it in the modern era, because we’ve got all sorts of tools to take advantage of the animals right, which is sad. But sugar is also hard to get in nature, and we should eat and consume proportionate to how hard something is to get in a natural way. You You know, as much as I’m definitely not a fan of Mark Zuckerberg, I do like something he said that he he eats animal products, but only what he kills himself. So he doesn’t do that very often, I’m guessing, at Facebook headquarters. You know,
Hope Jahren 40:15
none of us would be hopeless at that. We had a, I had a friend that could do that. And then maybe I could make preserves out of cherries from my tree, we could have a good trade going on.
Jason Hartman 40:26
I just think look, I mean, listen, I I think the environmental movement is largely and over politicized. And I think science, sadly, has been over politicized to fit an agenda. I don’t like any of that. Okay. I don’t agree with a lot of the, you know, sort of environmental movement, if you will, that’s become the slight political element. But I do with agree with just being sensible and doing it for your own health. I mean, this is just logical. Okay. It’s not, you know, it’s not like you have to become a zealot of anything, right. These are just reasonable logical things. Okay.
Hope Jahren 41:00
So I think you’re I think you’re exactly right. I mean, there’s a great example of that. And that’s that’s the global warming. And that was it. That was a label that was thrown out was thrown out by scientists who knew that you know, the Earth’s atmosphere was changing and heat balance was going to change. Global warming was a very, very simple way to simplify that and it was put out as a buzzword under the under the assumption that the public couldn’t understand anything more complex than that. It was disrespectful and it was kind of taken the easy way out. What we’re seeing now is, you know, these weird freezes and these intense storms and strange blizzards and what it is, is that Yeah, the atmosphere warm the bed it warmed in these pockets, and these pockets get pushed around in weird ways. Like you’ve heard from your weatherman, you know, a low pressure, high pressure, low pressure thing is moving in and all this kind of stuff and what that warming did was it gets everything turning around again, fast. Well, that takes a little more time to explain and you’ve got to have a little more respect that people are going to understand that. But, but we now have this weather weirding I call it which is the result of that moving around air faster and in different ways than we’ve seen before. But we don’t have strayed on warming, which they took the easy way out as making the suggestion, and it eroded a lot of trust. And it became very political, and a lot of people wanted to be on there so boxes and look smart and all that kind of business. And, I mean, I agree with you, 100%. I guess this isn’t I don’t, you know, this is why I’m not a member of the IPCC. I don’t get asked to join those kind of clubs because we, we, as scientists, we need to really talk to people instead of preach at them. And that’s that’s another thing that I’m really quite proud that this book does. Well. It talks to people with a level of respect and understanding and I hope that they’ll find something interesting in there for them.
Jason Hartman 43:03
Yeah. Well, good stuff. give out your website
Hope Jahren 43:06
is the story of more calm will take you to everything you need to know about me and the book and the other books.
Jason Hartman 43:13
Right. Great. That’s the story of more calm and hope. Thank you so much for joining us.
Hope Jahren 43:18
You’re welcome. Thanks again.
Jason Hartman 43:25
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