28 October 2015

Healthy food is becoming more popular, and this is amazing.

I believe we’re in a pivotal time for mainstream health culture. On the one side, obesity, heart-disease and diabetes are on the way up. Furthermore, the sentiment around the food we eat and brain diseases such as dementia, Alzhemier’s and autism, which are also increasing, is getting stronger and beginning to permeate popular attention. Worst of all, many of claimed that for the first time ever, the current generation of children may not live as long as their parents. If true, the prospect of life expectancy trending downward in the most advanced, educated, wealthy and peaceful countries in the world is truly shameful.

As terrible as things are, there is a silver lining. In response to all of this, there is more meaningful research and passionate promotion of health and well-being. More importantly, the truth about the damage processed oils, grains, sugar and excessive carbohydrates are doing to our bodies and brains are being more significant culturally.

Organic, locally sourced and produced, and seasonal produce are occupying greater space on grocery store shelves. In February, Forbes published some information supporting the growing strength of healthy food industries. The overarching reality found within the wealth of data gathered courtesy of a Euromonitor International paper - food and beverage identified as pertaining to health and wellness is vastly outperforming those that are not. Of course, the validity of food and drink being identifiable as truly healthy is a complex matter, but at least in terms of growth, people are demanding healthier food.

To build on this optimism, it may be useful to look at the struggling performance of the traditional titans of bad food. Mark Sisson of MarksDailyApple recently highlighted some trends in paleo culture. Giants in fast food McDonald’s is struggling internationally and trying restrategise with new menus, restaurant designs, menus and marketing plans as hundreds of locations close. Adding to the good news, soft drink sales have dropped every year for the last decade. It is difficult to read this CNBC piece without smiling:

Last year was tough on soda sales, which declined for the 10th straight year as consumers favor the healthier image of other drinks. Now heavy weights Pepsi and Coca Cola are getting hit especially hard, according to report by Beverage Digest.

The report, featured online by Fortune magazine, showed the total sales volume of carbonated soft drinks slid 0.9 percent from 2013 to 2014. Within that category, Coke posted a 1.1 percent drop in volume, and Pepsi saw a 1.4 percent decline.

Further still, if there’s one true testament to growing popular sentiment, it’s a random diatribe by a beloved celebrity. Recently, NFL legend Tom Brady, when giving an interview at WEEI, a Boston local radio station, decided to go off on the the modern American diet, implicating the food industry, calling out Coca-Cola, Kellogs Frosted Flakes and sugar as a whole as poison for children. Tom Terrific makes some pretty bold (and absolutely right) claims:

"That's not the way our food system in America is set up," Brady said of his own approach. "It's very different. They have a food pyramid. And I disagree with that. I disagree with a lot of things that people tell you to do. You'll probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think, 'Oh yeah, that's no problem.' Why? Because they pay lots of money for advertisements [so you] think that you should drink Coca-Cola for a living. No, I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that's quackery. And the fact that they can sell that to kids? I mean, that's poison for kids. But they keep doing it. And obviously you guys may not have a comment on that, because maybe that's what your belief system is. So you do whatever you want, you live the life you want."

At the end of the day, there’s still much more garbage out there than there is real food. But, while the knowledge gap may only just have turned in the positive direction after decades of misinformation and confusion at the hands of corporate greed, things are turning for the better. Of all the various and partially conflicting nutrition philosophies outhere, there's at least one unanmously agreed upon element. While we debate about carbohydrates, fats and dairy, and in the midst of the World Health Organisation linking processed meat and red meat to cancer, everyone agrees that sugar is bad - even Tom Brady. This is a huge win, but whatever the personal opinions are, people are caring more about the food they eat and what it means for their health, and businesses are starting to respond on a wide scale, and this is amazing.

22 October 2015

What to expect when giving up sugar

Mindbodygreen posted a fantastic recount of what to expect when you go give up sugar. I felt compelled to build upon this based on my experience living #paleo and the #PrimalBlueprint.

With so much variation in diets. nutrition plans and healthy living philosophies out there, there’s at least one idea that is unanimous across the board - sugar is bad. Sparked in the mainstream perhaps by Sarah Wilson’s Sweet Poison, but preached about by every medical, health, fitness and nutrition professional under the sun, dropping sugar is thankfully becoming the norm for most concerned with their health and well-being.

It’s not easy though, at least not at first. Dropping sugar takes time, and your body will need a lot of it to adjust to quite a few things, so keep the long-term in mind. A one month ban may help you slim down a bit for the party at the end of the month, but if you’re not thinking about sustainability for the long haul, you’ll end up taking 2 steps forward and 5 steps back when it’s all said and done.

Here’s what I’ve come to expect when making hard reductions in my sugar intake over a couple months. For the record, I go primal which means I moderate carbohydrates as well, though not nearly to the same extent as sugar). For me this means using fruit sparingly as light snack, maybe having bread or rice once a week, with pasta, pizza, and cereal filing under “once in a blue moon”.

Week One: This is weird, what do I eat?
The beginning is a bit bizarre. It’s not particularly difficult as long as you’ve prepared a bit by organising delicious high protein and good fat filled meals you love, but snacking is definitely the biggest challenge. Make sure to have nuts, seeds, some chopped up vegetables on hand at work. If you’re anything like me, you may want to purge your house of all things sweet as well. Healthy looking foods like granola bars and fruit juices are often just as bad as the obvious worst enemies.

Week Two: This is great!
By now your body would be adjusting to the positive response to no longer having poison overwhelming its liver. I feel lighter, more calm and less hungry. Things are especially encouraging if you’re becoming accustomed to the change in menu items you’re allowing yourself. A staple snack for me is a weird one, a spoonful of nut butter (peanut is good, but almond or macadamia options are better). It always seemed weird to me, given I love the taste of peanut butter, having it without bread wasn’t really a big deal. I remember being surprised at how full I felt after a tablespoon. It was always enough to last a couple hours until the next proper meal.

Weeks Three and Four: Here comes the cravings.
Around this time I would start feeling the craving kick in - both deliberately for sugary foods, but also for a wider array of foods. Fatigue and irritability weren’t much of a problem for me, it was more just a matter of missing the foods I wasn't able to eat any more. I’d start to think about ice cream and pizza. It’s also around this time I would feel like I’m bored with what I’ve been eating. Feeling like you are eating the same 3 meals over and over is a common challenge. It takes some deliberate effort, but try to take this as an opportunity to try new recipes and even new foods. Expanding your table options by trying out new vegetables, spices or meats can isn’t easy, but is often incredibly rewarding. I’ve discovered some of my favourite things (coconut oil, broccolini, and sweet potato during these phases).

Week Five: I feel fuller longer
After a month of success, the strongest dividends start to take shape. While I already would’ve lost weight, slept better and stabilised my energy and mood levels over the previous weeks, these have start to become commonplace by now. Even further, the realisation of the absence of the problems that existed before sets in, and there’s a distinct consistency of fullness or satiety. I always try to be conscious and appreciative of the times I look at my watch and notice I haven’t eaten or felt hungry in 2-3 hours and am still full of energy and focus for the jobs at hand. To go a little into the science behind this, you would have reached ketosis, where your body has adapted to no longer being flooded with sugar and carbohydrates. Instead it looks to a much better source of fuel, fat, which is slower burning and won’t lead to crashes, and leads to looking better in a mirror, amongst a million other benefits as well.  

Week Six: Full awareness no guilt
Around this time I can usually start easing up a bit partially to find the right, longer term balance I’m hoping to strike, but more to test and experiment with how what I eat affects how I feel. I like the idea of a dynamic presence of mind based on what I’m eating and being conscious of what happens after. Starting to work more fruit or honey into my snacks or add a touch of sweetness coffee (I never add sugar, but sometimes use stevia), is completely fine for me as it doesn’t lead to any bloating or crashes. This is also when I gauge harsher foods ranging from light sandwiches to pizza. It’s important to be aware of how you feel after you eat certain foods. If you’re weight, energy, skin, mood, or overall wellness doesn’t change, all the power in the world to you, enjoy it guilt free. If you feel like there’s a brick in your stomach, or you feel a bit of haziness the next couple of days, or your lower back starts to stiffen up, be mindful of this as well. In this latter case, still enjoy it and definitely don’t beat yourself up about it, but know what you’re doing and be honest with yourself about it. This is as important knowledge as there is and keeping stock of this is crucial for your long-term motivation.

That pretty much sums up my experiences when dropping sugar. I’ve become quite familiar with this cycle over the last couple of years. There are still ups and downs where I’m eating better and worse depending on what’s going on around me and how I’m feeling at the time, but the ride is much more stable than before. The metaphorical roller coaster is now akin to gentle tides. Full awareness, no guilt.

How is giving up sugar going for you? Are you a seasoned veteran or are you embarking on this journey for the first time? What personal differences are you experiencing? I’d love to hear your story. Find me Google+ or Twitter

19 October 2015

Maintaining longterm health and well-being.

Last week I stumbled on on something that had me reflecting about my entire weightless story. To be honest, I have trouble believing that was actually me on the left there. Further, I was hit with a realisation. As proud as I am of the transformation, I'm more proud of how long it's been. That picture of me on the right was taken almost 8 year ago and I have no doubt I'll maintain this level of health and well-being in the long term. That amount of freedom and calmness is the most rewarding part of the whole story.

Without going into the journey in too much depth, here are the dot points:

  • I played competitive baseball and basketball as a teenager and suitably fit from 170lb (77kg) to 190lb (86kg) as I matured
  • I broke my right ankle when I was 18 and spent 6 months in a cast ballooning to 200lb (90kg)
  • Accustomed to sedentary life in university increasing to a ghastly 274lb in 2007 (124kg)
  • After a trip to New York in June 2007 I decided to get into good shape
  • I managed to get down to 199lb (90kg) by January 1 2008
  • Ran the Gold Coast Marathon in 2010 weighing about 182lb (82kg)
  • Have weighed 200lb (90kg) again since a few times, struggling to stat fit
  • Settled at 192lb (82kg) for the last 2 years since adopting the Primal Blueprint

The period between 2010 and 2013 was the most challenging stretch. With the benchmark goals of losing all of that weight, and all associated fitness plans (i.e., the marathon) behind me, maintaining a healthy lifestyle was incredible difficult. It’s incredibly hard to get yourself into shape when you’re not, but keeping it going when all the specific targets and plans are done is something else entirely. Getting healthy starts out as the goal, but that'only short term. Being healthy forever is what it's really about. 

Without the extrinsic goals of weekly progress, personal best running times, and marquee fitness competitions, the idea of eating properly and being active was more confusing and less fun than before. In these 3 years I varied both my workouts (running, swimming, basketball, yoga, pilates, weight lifting,etc) and my diet (organic, vegetarian, paleo, vegan). Like most, my weight and overall health rode the rollercoaster depending on the inconsistencies of motivation, stress and life satisfaction we all go through. The one thing that was consistent, was that it was hard (confusing and not fun).
In 2014 I discovered a book called the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. As I worked through the 10 Primal Laws the weight dropped and energy levels increased and stabilised, and my moods improved more than I have ever experienced prior. I loved primal living so much and the approach  to health it provided so much that later that year I signed up for the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification Course to build the knowledge needed to make this a permanent facet of who I am as a person. I spent about 5 weeks last Christmas season completing the course. It was a series of training modules, mostly reading and diagrams, with introductory videos and a test for each one. It was pleasantly challenging. The perfect mix of genuine academic rigour, but flexible and and straight forward enough to ensure success.

 It's a life long journey of course and there's always more to understand. While I feel I've "figured it out" regarding my weight and physical fitness, there are plenty of aspects of good health I'm still studying and experimenting with. At the moment my newest endeavours involve studying brain health and the microbiome. I'm reading a lot about how maintaining healthy gut bacteria strengthens our cellular systems as well as our neurological framework. I recommend reading Brain Maker by Dr David Perlmutter. I'm fascinated by how the food we eat just doesn't cover our physical health but our psychological health as well. 

2015 marks the 7th year of my journey, and about 5 years of maintaining my long-term health goal . I live a fun and active lifestyle involving hiking, light runs, some basketball, playtime with the dog and plenty of gardening; I’m moving more than I’m sedentary; and most of all, I’ve maintained a healthy target weight of around 192lb (82kg), sleep well, am more calm, and able to sustain greater focus and lucid thinking when I need it. Above everything else though is the freedom. There are a lot of diets and nutrition plans that work well. Primal is one of the only ones I have come across that grant you with complete authority and freedom over your food. It's a legitimate facet of my personality.

Where most carb rich, small-meal diet plans involve tightly managed portions every 2-3 hours and an awful lot of mental and physical energy dedicated to what to eat, when and how often, primal allows you the freedom to load up on as much as you want of the nutrient dense, high fat, low carb, local and natural foods you’re meant to eat. Eat when you’re hungry, don’t when you’re not and 3, 6 - 16 hours may go by until you eat depending on your schedule, time, feelings or goals at the time and it’s no big deal. Even when willpower is low, or life doesn’t lend itself well to manage proper eating, this is fine - eat what you want, but know what you’re doing. Full awareness, no guilt. Embrace that pizza for and enjoy it as much as you can so that once it’s done, it’s done and you can get back to what’s importants.

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14 October 2015

Australian Men's Health "Gutless Wonder" November 2009 = Me

Australian Men's Health Magazine - November 2009. That's me on the right. 
This story was published (and trimmed to fit the feature format) of Australia’s Men's Health Magazine. In 2009, to combat a bit of writer's block while in university, I wrote my weight loss story as a Facebook post. It was pretty well received, and some even joked that I should send this to Subway to try and scores some free sandwiches. Being subscriber of Men's Health at the time, I instead submitted the story for their "Gutless Wonders" monthly feature. The purpose is for real people to share their weight loss stories as a means to providing inspiration and advice. Amazingly I was chosen, and aside from getting a free pair of Asics 21s, my story, and photo was in the November 2009 issues. The original story as a wrote it and sent to Men's health is below.

There are a few moments I have experienced or achievements I have made
that I am quite proud of and will remember forever. Some were rather
memorable like being a apart of the National Championship baseball
team when I was 13. Then there are the ones taken for granted like
graduating from high school and getting my college degree. Initially I
was going to bullet list them here but it just looked too gaudy, even
for me. So, I'm going to jump right into what is literally the thing
that I have done that I am the most proud of--losing weight.

In my younger days I was always quite active. I am living in Australia
now, but grew up in Canada and played top level baseball successful at
the Provincial level for many years. In high school I also played
varsity basketball, some of which I served as the team captain and
MVP. In the 12th grade however things changed quite dramatically. I
broke my ankle in the summer and spent the entire first semester on
crutches. This is when I pretty much hit the wall in terms of health
and fitness. I pretty much spent all 6 of those months watching TV and
eating. Once I got the cast off I started playing again, but having
lost so much ground, I lost a lot of the competitive edge that kept me
going in the past and became more of a casual sportsman who rarely
broke a legitimate sweat. At the end of the 11th grade I weighed
consistently between 195-200 lbs [89-91kg]. One year later I was
closer to 220 lbs [100kg].

Throughout university the trend continued. 4 years of burying myself
in books, eating cheap fast food every day, poor sleeping habits, a
terribly painful on-and-off relationship spanning a couple of years,
and paper-thin athletic activity slowly but surely brought my weight
up to over 120 kilos. I was a mess. Socially and in school and at work
and such I was still fine, it didn't really affect any external aspect
of my life, but internally I was in a real bad way. I did all of the
typical things overweight people do to look less fat such as grow out
my facial hair to hide my chins.

I received my degree in Economics in 2007 and during the summer of
that year my friends and I drove down to New York City for the weekend
to watch some live professional baseball and championship boxing. We
also took the time to tour around a little bit. It was a good weekend.
Anyways, back at home the next day upon looking through the photos, I
came across this one [see attached - photo 1]

This is me on June 16th, 2007, outside of the world famous F.A.O.
Schwarz [think Tom Hanks dancing on a piano in the movie "Big"]. Upon
seeing this I was honestly disgusted. The boobs, gut, and the "I'm
fat, give me a pizza" expression on my face were absolutely repulsive.
Heinous. If you look like this, make no mistake about it. You look
horrible. I know that looks aren't everything  and you may be happy,
live a great and successful life and be in general a wonderful person,
but don't be mistaken, you look horrible. Not to mention the fact that
because of how unhealthy you have let yourself become, the tail end of
your life will most likely be very very painful. I know this may be
quite mean, but these are the thoughts that motivated me. I did not
like the person I had allowed myself to become. And it was only when I
accepted that I was in this rut because of me did I realise that I
could actually climb my way back out.

Within the next few days I printed off that photo, framed it, and
drove to my local gym. I bought a 6-month membership [as I was leaving
for Australia in January], and purchased 4 weeks with a personal
trainer. Oh, and I weighed myself. 274 lbs [124 kgs] and wrote it down
at the top of a blank sheet of paper that I would leave beside the
bathroom scale. June 19th 2007 - 274 lbs [124 kgs]. I would then weigh
myself every single morning and record the weight and track my
progress. I called this "Project 196" since I had officially started
on the 19th of June and there were 196 days [by my count, I only
counted once, so I might have been off] until the beginning of the
next year. Workout regimens were pretty basic. My trainer and I agreed
that what I wanted to do involved long-term changes, so we took small
steps with light circuit-oriented weight routines and modest yet
constantly progressing adjustments to my nutrition. As the as the year
ended the single sheet of daily weighing became a small booklet, but I
remember what I weighed at the end of the Project, 215 lbs

I felt good. Losing close to 60 lbs [27 kgs] in less than 6 months
isn't bad at all. As far as how I did it, what the experts say is
true. Losing weight and being healthy isn't about diets or hardcore
workout regiments, it's about making a long-term change in your entire
lifestyle. I worked out regularly, ate much better, and relaxed on the
alcohol intake. Sure enough, the weight melted off, clothing fit
better, and blah blah blah. To really emphasis the transformation, and
because I thought it was funny, I put on the same clothes and took
another photo. Take a look [97 kgs] [See attached - Photo 2].

Over the next year and a bit my life continued on even more changes.
In January of 2008 I moved here, Australia--the city of Townsville to
be exact, in the heart of "tropical North Queensland". Such a change
has had [and continues to have] a seemingly infinite amount of impacts
on me, but I know I've been rambling, so I'll stick to those related
to health. In a nutshell, I've managed to not only maintain my status,
but improve upon in quite a bit. Yes, I kick arse.

Here's a brief rundown of why. With the weather so nice and my wallet
so empty, I knew another gym membership wouldn't be well-suited for
me.a So, I took up running--thanks in part to the atmosphere of my
part time job at The Athlete's Foot running shoe specialists. It's
become a pretty regular and significant part of my life. Health
benefits aside, I get the best thinking done while running. In most
cases, it was not a productive day if I did not run [given it wasn't
an OFF day]. Obviously there has been ups and downs over the past year
and a half, but on average, I would say I am good for a bare minimum
of about 20 kms a week. "Being able to run 5 kms a day, 5 days a week
routinely" was an item on my bucket list. Some weeks I clock more,
some less, but regardless, I am happy to say that that has been
confidently crossed off. Also, being on my own enabled me to eat what,
how and how often I wanted. This covered, for the most part, the two
main areas of this journey--nutrition and exercise. Factor in the
beautiful scenery, the heat and humidity, the weekly races by a local
group "The Townsville Roadrunners", my inability to afford a car and
thus having to cycle or walk everywhere, the inspiration of a loving
girlfriend, my aforementioned distaste of fat people, and all the
ample space to run and cycle and I have all the motivation I need to
keep going.

Long story long, I am still making these moves. Today is August 8
2009, 781 days since I have started, I am currently weighing in at
about 85 kgs [188 lbs]. The last photo is one of me taken yesterday.
I had finished the 10.5k event for the
Townsville Running Festival. I ran the same event last year in 56:50.
My goal this year is 47:59. It was quite ambitious to try to take 9
minutes off of my time, but you know what they say about shooting for
the stars. I finished the course this year in 50:55 so I didn't come
anywhere close to my goal, but hey a 6 minute improvement in one year
is still pretty good. I even get to cross another item off my bucket
list [being able to maintain a sub-5 minute pace over 10 kms]. So I
may not have done as well as I hoped, but I did my best which was
still pretty damn good and still have something to work toward. It may
sound petty, but I don't really care. This is a major aspect of my
life that I felt was out of hand so I made strides to take control
over my life. No lie, just know I chose my own fate. I ran by the fork
in the road and went straight.

11 October 2015

Request to the Townsville Bulletin, please report on Aurizon job cuts for Townsville and Rockhampton

Dear editorial staff at the Townsville Bulletin

Please report on the future job cuts recently announced by Aurizon. On 7 Oct, 2015 ABC Online, and various other major regional  news media outlets ran stories explaining that rail group Aurizon will be cutting 74 jobs from its Rockhampton and Townsville maintenance facilities - 34 of them coming from Townsville. Consultation is to begin by the end of the month with the actual job cuts being processed over the next three years. Verifying with a search on the Bulletin website has confirmed that no story has been published and this is a concern.

A search on the Bulletin website for "Aurizon" did not yield any of the grim, but absolutely important, job-cut news broken by other news outlets. 

The reason for the job cuts have to do with a “touch economic environment for Aurizon’s customers…The changes are part of the Company's ongoing transformation program, announced in mid-2013, to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and to focus for customers on the core business of rail freight.” Beyond Townsville and Rockhampton, Sydney Morning Herald reports that Aurizon is cutting more than 800 jobs across all divisions as part of $380m in savings needed to curb slumping resources demand world wide.

As the leading source for journalism in the Townsville region, your publication has a responsibility to the people of Townsville to provide important information they need to better assist and run their daily lives. The reality that Aurizon, a rail group integral to the Townsville’s economic strength historically, is facing tough economic times and are responding with cost-savings in the form of job cuts is news the local community needs to be made aware of - especially those involved in rail, shipping and resources industries.

This news is especially significant given that there may be confusion around the performance of Aurizon as well as Townsville as a whole economically. Recently, the Bulletin reported on the $40m Aurizon rail allocation to from the CBD to Stuart, describing the story as a positive boost for Townsville. While there is little argument against the positive outlook this move has for the city, without also reporting Aurizon’s announced job cuts in the local community, there could be confusion over the job security for Aurizon workers.

As a duty to keep your audience adequately informed about issue that are important to them, if steps are not already taken, please begin producing content on this information for Bulletin readers. The people need to know, or be reminded, that on balance, the resources sector is in decline and is expected to be for quite some time, and that a major employer in Townsville is responding by letting workers go.

Thank you

09 October 2015

Coal and oil companies hate renewable energy

How widely known is it that ExxonMobil has spent billions over the last 30 years to deliberately discredit the impacts of fossil fuel burning has on global temperatures?  I feel like not enough people are aware of how much coal, oil and gas companies invest in arguing against human influence on climate change. The biggest competitor to these industries are renewable energies and while there are definitely some levels of embrace and innovation within them, a greater portion of corporate muscle goes to suppressing new, cleaner technologies from advancement. In other words, rather than adapt and adopt renewable energy as a new source of capital, older energy companies have chosen to fight.

It has been reported that Exxon was warned about the harm it was doing to the environment and the social and economic ramifications for decades. Source: InsideClimate News

Pulitzer Prize winning publication Insideclimate News has been following litigation related to ExxonMobil's efforts to suppress academic research since the 1980s. Click above for the details, but the short of it is that in the 1970s, Exxon (not Mobil yet) commissioned scientists to look into the impact the burning of fossil fuels had on the environment. Not only did the studies indicate what we know now about human caused CO2 emissions influencing global temperatures, but their own researchers warned them to diversify their energy sources (into renewables) and begin to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. The benefits would be not just to diversify and future-proof their business models, but to avoid contributing to the catastrophic climate related problems of today (drought, food shortages, rising sea levels, water quality and all of the political, social and economic challenges that are occurring as a result). Jumping back into present day and, becoming well known around academic circles, and hopefully becoming more mainstream, is the reality that in the face of sound economic advice and urgent scientific warnings, Exxon chose to confuse the issue in order to defend itself against competition alternatives.

The good news is that they're losing this battle, the bad news is that it's taking so long. Surprise, ripping coal and oil out of the ground and burning it for energy is doing irreversible damage to the environment and are resulting in catastrophic events that are beginning to show themselves in very real, practical way.

Still, with most of the academic and cultural world in agreement on this, there seems to be a new obstacles in the way of focusing resources to the growth and permeation of renewable energy into contemporary society. The new debate centres around the efficiency of renewable energy generation as a whole. There's a strong platform of those that view solar, water and wind power generation to be not as economically viable as fossil fuels. While this may be a valid question - economics and scientific research is currently looking into this - it is still unreasonable for this argument to be use to justify pulling resources away from renewables. Industries built on solar and wind power, not being able to generate as much as coal, or as cheaply as oil, should be viewed as a reason to push more investment behind them rather than less. Economies of scale have not yet been reached for the renewable energy industry which means that future investment will only serve to increase the sector’s efficiency.

The world is trending in the right direction. Recent measures are starting to point to renewables surpassing fossil fuels when it comes to gigawatts produced by new power plants in the United States as noted in the previous link. In Europe, electricity generated by renewable sources has grown by 84% from 2003 to 2013, with the same positive data trends emerging from Asia & Oceania.

The key is to make sure our governments don't let up. The debate has turned from environmental to economic with the argument no longer being against climate change but against "costly" renewable energy in favour of cheaper fossil fuels. As government budgets continue to be tightened and public concerns about costs of living increase,  it's crucial to remember that renewable energy is in its infancy and that gains will be made in increasing scale, rather than stunting investment in favour of old technologies. It's good economics to lead the rush in clean technology from the ground up.