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In the latest episode of Vkind Connects we meet Klaus Mitchell, Founder & Co-Director of Plant Based News (PBN). Since 2018, PBN has held a 100% approval rating from NewsGuard and is recognized as a reliable news source.
Founded in 2015, PBN is a mission and impact-driven media platform focused on elevating the benefits of the plant-based diet and bringing them into the mainstream narrative through evocative story-telling that unpacks the data around some of the most pressing issues of our time including diet, climate, and ethics.
From humble beginnings of filming weekend vlogs in the greenhouse of his parents back garden, Klaus, his co-founder and director Robbie, and the brilliant team they’ve assembled along the way, PBN now boasts the following social media stats (as of August 2022):
- 1.2M Instagram followers
- 550K YouTube subscribers
- 676K Facebook followers
His journey demonstrates that when you’re passionate about and willing to consistently channel your efforts to spreading information about a just cause, you can grow a following of other passionate people to create real and measurable positive changes in the world.
Prior to beginning his studies to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biosciences followed by a Masters in Genetics of Human Diseases, Klaus sustained a leg injury and while recovering, completed a 5-month bike tour of South America.
During his tour, he explored the benefits of a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet after learning in depth about T. Colin Campbell’s “China Study”, which concludes that cultures following a whole foods plant-based diet are the longest lived, and that such a diet can further assist in reversing the effects of prior unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Klaus had fully transitioned to a plant-based diet by 2013 after witnessing how much his own recovery from DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) was supported through his nutritious diet. Impassioned by his experience, he donated to organizations spreading the message, specifically The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).
While donating filled his heart, it emptied his wallet and he soon realized that if he wanted to continue feeling like he was making a contribution to lasting global change through the power of sharing life-saving information, it would require a grassroots effort to leverage the power of social media to make it happen. Over time, he made friends, grew followers, and as he says, “The rest was history.”
Klaus shared with Shabnam, “The hardest thing is seeing your friends and family throw away their health whilst claiming that they know what they would need to do to get healthy… which is actually the complete opposite of what they would need to do. “
He revealed more about the fatigue he has experienced arising from the delicate dance of trying to debunk the misinformation others are suffering from while encouraging them to try a healthier way without making them feel forced or judged.
Desperate to help his father adopt a plant-based diet and lifestyle, he placed “The China Study ” on his fathers desk and was elated upon returning a week later to find his father had explored the first few pages (and is now fully plant-based!). This taught Klaus the importance of planting seeds of truth for others to find the moment they become curious.
Klaus was published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition. His study concluded that by reducing the average person’s blood pressure by 5 mm of mercury, it would result in a 23% reduction of stroke-related death across the UK, which taught him the power of making incremental change.
Small changes make a big difference over time.
This awareness helped Klaus understand that even the smallest change a person makes based on factual information can have a far-reaching impact and drove home the importance of celebrating even the smallest acts of reducetarianism.
Shabnam and Klaus continue the interview discussing climate change and reminiscing on how they connected over the statistic: 83% of Earth’s farmable land is used to grow a mere 18% of the calories we consume.
Klaus highlighted the inefficiencies of animal agriculture in discussing feed-to-meat ratios such as the requirement of 25 calories of feed necessary to produce 1 calorie of beef and the hope he finds from the emerging cultivated meat industry.
He believes if we meet people where they’re at and focus on making the food system more efficient with technology, people could shift away from animal agriculture without even knowing it. When Shabnam asked if he truly believed a world free of animal agriculture was possible, he responded, “It always seems impossible until it’s done, right?”
Shabnam concludes the interview by discussing Klaus’ advice for aspiring vegan entrepreneurs and change-makers. He shares about the importance of growing a team by attending plant-based events, where opportunities to explore synergies with mission-aligned individuals often present themselves.
Finally, he discusses the value of persistence in staying the course vs worrying over algorithms and advises other activists on the best methods he’s discovered for spreading the vegan message. After discussing Klaus’ 10-year vision for PBN and reminding viewers that PBN is ALWAYS on the lookout for vegan talent, Dr. Islam closes the interview with gratitude.
Discover PBN: http://plantbasednews.org
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