A Litmus Test for Sustainability Sanity

“And a little child shall lead them” – Isaiah 11:6

Dear All,

Jeff Bezos is hawking carbon neutral cow’s milk at 170 Whole Foods stores around the country. His sales pitch is that environmentally conscious consumers don’t have to give up consuming cow’s milk products to solve the global climate crisis:

They just have to pay more. A lot more. About $11 a gallon. And rest assured that all that extra money is going into the right pockets, thanks to a certification process.

In other news, my alma mater, Stanford University, proudly announced the launch this fall of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, the first new school at the university in 70 years, to accelerate solutions to the global climate crisis.

The byline of the press release read, “Investments of $1.1 billion from John and Ann Doerr, along with gifts from other philanthropists, catalyze interdisciplinary efforts to tackle urgent climate and sustainability challenges facing people and ecosystems worldwide.”

How do we make sense of all this “good news” in the global North even as Indians bake and Kenyans starve in the global South?

I use a simple litmus test to verify the sanity of any sustainability claims in the mainstream press. I call it the “Two Front Teeth Test.”

Back in the 90s, a good friend and colleague told me that all human intelligence is concentrated in our two upper front teeth.

I was taken aback and asked him to explain. He replied,

“Imagine listening to a speaker who is missing his two upper front teeth. He could be saying the most profound things ever, but no one would hear him. They would be staring at the gap in his teeth and dodging the saliva spray coming through it.

Therefore, all human intelligence is concentrated in our two front teeth – QED.”

I had to admit that he had a point.

Now we can deploy Jim’s wisdom in a litmus test for sustainability sanity.

Does the sustainability claim overturn
1) the False Axiom of Consumerism, that the pursuit of happiness is best accomplished by stoking and satisfying a never ending series of latent desires, the “Greed is Good” rule, and
2) the False Axiom of Supremacism, that Life is a competitive game in which those who have gained an advantage may possess, enslave and exploit animals, nature and the disadvantaged, in their false pursuit of happiness, the “Might is Right” rule?

If it doesn’t, then the claimant has no upper front teeth and you can start dodging the messy saliva spray coming through the gap in his teeth while ignoring everything he utters. Just as Newton could never have dreamed up the theory of gravity as long as he believed that the Sun goes around the Earth, we can never have a sustainable civilization as long as we believe that “Greed is Good” or “Might is Right” are the proper foundations of a sustainable civilization.


Jeff Bezos’s claim of carbon neutral cow’s milk fails the Two Front Teeth Test miserably. Carbon neutral cow’s milk overturns neither false axiom.

As for the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, it has to prove that it will get serious about overturning the False Axioms of Consumerism and Supremacism before it passes the Two Front Teeth Test. I have sent the Dean, Prof. Arun Majumdar and John Doerr an email with a link to a slide presentation explaining the situation. I trust that they won’t make the same mistakes that other Schools of Sustainability around the world have routinely made.

I would strongly advise students at such schools to band together and demand truth in education so that they are not spending their precious time incurring huge debts absorbing a bunch of nonsense about things like carbon-neutral cow’s milk production. They might want to apply the Two Front Teeth Test to everything that they are being taught and correct their Professors when they fail the test.

Perhaps it is time for these institutions of higher learning to acknowledge that,
1) we cannot invent our way out of our global ecological predicaments without changing any foundational axioms, and
2) learning has to transform and become a collaborative process across generational boundaries. After all, my greatest teacher has been our granddaughter, Kimaya, and she did much of her teaching before she turned six.

I highly recommend learning or rather, unlearning from a child. It is so much fun and there is so much to unravel in our educated conditioning.

PS: After reading last week’s Mother’s Day article, Dr. John McDougall made me an incredibly generous offer that I couldn’t refuse. I’m truly grateful to be enrolled in the 12 day McDougall program for ensuring optimum heart health starting today and intend to take full advantage of it.

Thanks to Dr. McDougall and to all of you for your outpouring of love and support. How can Mother Earth not heal when she has children like you?

PPS: We all want a Vegan World by 2026! We all know how critical this is for climate healing, animal justice and health. We want to tell everyone how powerful this simple lifestyle change is!

Yet when we try to speak about this with the people we care about, we are left frustrated because we are met with resistance and pushback.


We, at Climate Healers, are happy to share that we have a partner to help us with solutions to this challenge!

weDIDit.Health is offering us free tools and strategies so we can all be more effective inspiring our friends, loved ones and even acquaintances to be curious about the undeniable impact of a vegan lifestyle.

These tools and strategies are much needed to achieve our vision for a vegan world by 2026!

We encourage you to accept their free e-book “Plant-Based for Health – 7 Best-Practices to Inspire Your Loved Ones to Go Plant-Based” authored by psychologist Angela Crawford, Ph.D.

The e-book is yours as a thank you gift for answering the simple, 1 multiple-choice question: “How is your health benefiting from a plant-based diet and lifestyle?”

weDIDit.Health is a community that offers many other resources to support us in our mission for Vegan World 2026.


Let’s have the courage to be kind to all life and let’s make this greatest transformation in human history happen sooner rather than later.

Eat plants.
Plant trees.
Love animals.
Heal the planet.

It’s that simple.

All the best,

Sailesh Rao on behalf of Vega, Cow and Climate Healer and the Climate Healers team.

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