What does it take to change the world? Maybe less than you think.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

-—Margaret Mead

Sometimes, my readers make my daily blog much easier; this is one of those days. After posting yesterday’s blog about the challenge of “reaching the 95% who still eat meat,” I received some great feedback; all of it encouraging, although some more optimistic than others. The first one was from Susan who sent me the quote shown above; I love it. Here are a few of the others:

From Jane. Don’t give up. I’m an elementary teacher, and our children want to learn about food and nutrition. AND, they’re willing to try new things with our encouragement and our assurance that they don’t have to change all at once. Really. They’re just like most of us when we were first “blinded”. 
Faith, Patience and Persistence.

From Stephen. We agree that existing communication methods, while a commendable start, will not get a healthy diet into the mouths of the masses. One good reason for this is the drastic change in the social landscape in our lifetime which has rendered over ninety percent of the public unable to cook for themselves…Therefore, if the public is going to eat healthy, their meals will have to be prepared for them.

From Sal. Your blogs are so inspiring to me but then I’ve been a believer for over thirty years. Your message is difficult to develop into a course of action that will have an impact on the “garbage eaters.” To quote from the Broadway song: The Impossible Dream. That is what all of us, the plant eaters of the world have to contend with. Ten, twenty years into the future…it will never happen. The world will still be slaughtering, butchering, and gorging on the flesh of the innocent creatures. How tragic. (Sal is older than I am and doesn’t see this change happening in his lifetime; but, don’t let his post here mislead you — he definitely has not given up.)

From Barbara. I read a very interesting book about facilitating change. It was called “Switch” and was written by Chip and Dan Heath; professors at Stanford and Duke respectively. Maybe good background reading before the meeting, if you aren’t familiar with it already. (I have taken a look at it and will probably order a digital version of it soon.)

From Brian. Change takes time, persistence and continual education! Excited to hear about project Harmony and let me know what I can do to help.

First, I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. To re-cap my thinking: I am 100% confident that an eventual shift back to a plant-based diet is inevitable. That’s simply because our Western diet of today is grossly unsustainable — in so many ways.

Leveraging the simple, yet powerful concept of maximizing the percent of your daily calories from whole, plant-based foods.

Will it be easy to change? No; but I believe the first step is incredibly simple. In my mind, dispelling the “protein myth” is the key that opens the door for more great thinkers to begin questioning the plethora of harmful, wasteful and unnecessary consequences of our love affair with meat and dairy three meals a day.

A look at the numbers. Let’s imagine that we’re successful in reaching one billion of the world’s wealthiest people over 18 years of age. Let’s imagine that they all hear the “message” about the sufficiency of plant-based eating enough times to start believing it. How many people will make changes? Here’s one possible scenario:

  1. 700 million people (70%) totally ignore the message as they really don’t care about the planet or the cost of health care; they just can’t imagine giving up their favorite foods
  2. 150 million people (15%), all who claim to be environmentalists, begin to add a few more whole plants to their meals and start experimenting with things like “Meatless Mondays.”
  3. 70 million people (7%) start getting serious about eating mostly plants; they now know that it’s the right thing to do, but it may take them some time.
  4. 40 million people (4%) “get it” regarding the message of health and environmental issues and start eliminating animal foods one at a time; replacing them with whole plant-based foods.
  5. 30 million people (3%), most of whom are under 40, read a few books on the subject, experience a “blinding flash of the obvious” and climb aboard the 4-Leaf train in a matter of weeks.
  6. 9 million people (less than 1%) really “get it” and become leaders of change in their communities)
  7. One million people (1/10th of 1%), among the brightest and best educated people (those great thinkers) in the world, begin writing, speaking, organizing and planning the urgent change that will be needed to avoid economic collapse, chaos or worse.

So there you have it; the majority of the people ignore the message initially, although some of them will come around later, once the leaders of the world start doing their thing. But I am most excited about the 40 million people described in # 5, 6 and 7. Less than 5% of our initial target audience, they’re the ones that will have the greatest impact.

Authors J. Stanfield Hicks and J. Morris Hicks , working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

The Bottom Line. I would be happy if we just reached that 1/10th of one percent in #7 — harkening back to Margaret Mead’s small group of thoughtful, committed people who can change the world. 

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page.

And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

SHARE and rate this post below…One more thing, occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard.

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. Leveraging his expertise in making complex things simple, he is now seeking corporate clients who are interested in slashing their cost of health care. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, where he also sits on the board of directors.
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2 Responses to What does it take to change the world? Maybe less than you think.

  1. Denise Welsh says:

    Someone who was in the peace corp once told me. “I knew what had to be changed to make a healthier standard of living for these people I was sent to help. I knew that the adult community would have a hard time with this change. so….I started with educating the children….while incorporating the adults as to the reasons why. A few years later change has started.” Education is the key. Children are our future.

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