Six weeks ago, renowned vegetarian author and Soquel resident John Robbins was painfully reminded of what he's always known to be true.
Robbins, the Soquel resident who walked away from the Baskin-Robbins fortune to seek a simple life grounded in sustainable food practices, lost his entire life savings in the $50 billion Ponzi scheme headed by alleged Wall Street fraud baron Bernard Madoff.
"I know at this moment more than ever that our real wealth is in the love in our hearts, and the people we care about and who care about us, and in the quality of relationships to the spirit and natural worlds," Robbins, 61, said in an interview Thursday.
Robbins, the best-selling author of "Diet for a New America" and "The Food Revolution" said he and his wife of 42 years, Deo, lost 98 percent of their net worth in the vast investment sham that has sapped international banks, movie stars and charitable organizations. As a famous longtime resister of what he calls the "toxic mythology" that "self worth is defined by net worth," Robbins acknowledged the inescapable irony of losing more than $1 million in a market-driven scheme fueled by old-fashioned greed.
"We are all part of the system, I've always known that," he said. "There is no truly cruelty-free lifestyle. We can minimize the damage, and increase the level of respect we manifest toward others, and in our economic dealings, try to be as socially responsible as we can be. I believed I was doing that."
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