Bill Gates is way off base on MEAT!

As he casually hastens the end of our civilization

bill-gatesToward the end of his 4-21-15 blogpost, Bill Gates sums up the meat situation as follows:

How can we make enough meat without destroying the planet?—one solution would be to ask the biggest carnivores (Americans and others) to cut back, by as much as half. Although it might be possible to get people in richer countries to eat less or shift toward less-intensive meats like chicken, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect large numbers of people to make drastic reductions. Evolution turned us into omnivores.

But there are reasons to be optimistic. For one thing, the world’s appetite for meat may eventually level off. Consumption has plateaued and even declined a bit in many rich countries, including France, Germany, and the United States. I also believe that innovation will improve our ability to produce meat. Cheaper energy and better crop varieties will drive up agricultural productivity, especially in Africa, so we won’t have to choose as often between feeding animals and feeding people.

I’m also hopeful about the future of meat substitutes. I have invested in some companies working on this and am impressed with the results so far. Smil is skeptical that it will have a big impact—and it is true that today the best products are sold mostly in fancy grocery stores—but I think it has potential. 

With a little moderation and more innovation, I do believe the world can meet its need for meat.

My response to this disturbing conclusion by one of the most influential people in the world was posted on his blog-site this morning:

J. Morris Hicks, always trying to focus on the big picture.

J. Morris Hicks, always trying to focus on the big picture.

Dear Mr. Gates,

It’s a real tragedy when one of the most influential people in the world is so terribly misguided on such a crucial topic. To conclude that “with a little moderation and more innovation, I do believe the world can meet its need for meat” is shockingly irresponsible. First of all, the world has no “need” for meat, it only has “demand” because that’s what people want. And unless we drastically reduce that “demand” during the next few years, we’re going to soon render our fragile ecosystem incapable of sustaining us as a species.

I suggest that you seek the counsel of one of Microsoft’s employees on this most crucial of all topics. His name is Dr. Stephen Emmott and he runs “computational science” in the UK. I met with him there in 2013, shortly after his book, TEN BILLION, was published. In that book, he described a terrifying chain of events that is happening right now. And, as he says, unless we make some radical changes in the way we live, our civilization will most definitely collapse well before 2100. He also agreed with me that changing what we eat (specifically animal-based foods) is a HUGE part of the “radical” change that is needed.

You may disagree with Dr. Emmott, but you should at least seek his counsel before posting something that could have such a devastating effect on the future of our species. You must remember that, while you are no expert on this topic, you have the ability to influence the behavior of billions of people–because of your fame, reputation and your own billions of dollars.

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Promoting health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

Finally, I have been researching this topic since 2002 and have concluded that, without a doubt, the most important issue in the history of humanity is our food choices in the 21st century. It’s the only part of the way we live that we can change quickly.

We don’t have time to curb overpopulation, change the way our economy works or ease our dependence on fossil fuels. But we do have time to change what we eat–almost anyone in the developed world can do that overnight AND be a lot healthier for it. And by simply changing what we eat, we can buy the time we need to fix those other unsustainable aspects of the way we humans are living.

Best regards, J. Morris Hicks, author, “Healthy Eating, Healthy World.”

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability | Tagged | 2 Comments

My letter to a U. S. Senator. Subject: Food Choices

Searching for powerful leadership to address the all-important FOOD issue.

Senate SealThis past weekend, I saw a news item about a friend and former business colleague that I have known for over forty years. I had followed the campaign that led to his election and,  now that he’s completed his first 100 days as a member of one of the most exclusive groups in the world, I decided to send him a note.

I am providing this letter as a template for anyone who might want to send a similar letter to one of their own elected officials at any level. If you are successful in gaining an audience with some of those people, let me know if you’d like for me to join you for that all-important first meeting.

I am not mentioning the addressee by name, simply because he is a personal friend and his name is not relevant to the purpose of this letter–to help you reach out to your own elected officials.

May 16, 2015

Hi Dave,

First of all, congratulations on being elected to the U. S. Senate—and successfully completing your first 100 days in office. I am proud to call you my friend. Although I am not one of your constituents (reside in CT), I do have family and many friends in Georgia and I enjoy following your progress there in the Senate.

Just read your note about lack of urgency. That’s something that I write and/or speak about every day. The fact is that NONE of our world leaders are urgently addressing our most critical issues. On that topic, please take a minute to read this one pager regarding the most important issue in the history of humanity. As a Georgia Tech engineer and seasoned business executive, I am sure that you’ll quickly grasp the “big picture” disaster that we humans have on our hands.

One-page Recipe for Saving Our Ecosystem — an industrial engineer’s guide to saving our species; it describes the most important executive search assignment of my career.

To better understand our “big picture” global dilemma, I recommend that you take just one hour to read Dr. Stephen Emmott’s TEN BILLION. He runs computational science for Microsoft (based in the UK) and I met with him in late 2013. He doesn’t describe the solution in his book, but he does a superb job of describing the problem. And he agrees that what I am proposing would have “an incredibly huge positive impact on our ecosystem.”

Finally, I know that you’ve been elected to look after the needs of the people of Georgia, but I ask you, “What could be more important to them than the survival of our civilization?” Since you say you’re not going to become a Washington “insider,” perhaps you could lead a global coalition to start making a lot of noise about all of the above. I continue to reach out to powerful leaders everywhere on this URGENT topic–including Pope Francis. So far, no one has risen to the challenge.

I would be happy to come down to Washington or Georgia to discuss all of this with you in more detail at your convenience. Just let me know. 

Best regards, Jim

Do you know any prominent leaders? I am serious about attending a meeting with you if you think that it would help. Let me know if you have someone in mind.

Senate

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability | Tagged | 2 Comments

My relentless drum-beat continues.

Beginning today with the fact that our solar system is just one of 100 billion.

Planet Earth with moon

And scientists estimate that many of them could possibly support life. So, does that mean that, like in the movie Avatar, we can take over one of those planets after we’ve run out of natural resources here on planet Earth? No, it definitely does not.

While reading E.O. Wilson’s “The Meaning of Human Existence,” I learned that there are an estimated 100 billion star systems out there, with each of them having at least one planet in orbit around it. I also learned that, in order to support life, the planet must be in what scientists call the “Goldilocks” zone–meaning that its orbit is not to far away from its sun and not too close, but rather, “just right.”

So I got to wondering how many of those other 100 billion planets are in the Goldilocks Zone? According to Wikipedia data (see link below), there are a lot more of them than you might think–maybe as many as 40 billion. Surely, a few of them have intelligent life. E.O. Wilson estimates that maybe 4 or 5 of them do. If so, that brings up the prospect of building trading relationships with them or conquering them, right? Not very likely.

The nearest one is twelve light years away. So how long would it take us to travel there? I if we could travel at the speed of light, a round-trip would take 24 years. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, or about 670 million miles per hour. By contrast, the satellites in orbit around the Earth travel at just 17,000 miles an hour.  Even if we could travel at just 1/10 the speed of light (67 million miles per hour), a round trip to that nearest Goldilocks planet would take 240 years.

How feasible is travel to other planets that can support life? Almost nil with today’s travel technology. And even if we could get there and back in 24 years, the likelihood of finding a complete biosphere there that could support us is also close to nil.

My conclusion that I will never quit talking about:

Our Biosphere

Our Biosphere

We only have one planet and we must learn to live in harmony with the overall ecosystem of that planet. That system of nature has four components and our future as a species depends on the harmonious interaction of all four:

  1. Atmosphere (the air we breathe)
  2. Hydrosphere (the water)
  3. Cryosphere (ice and glaciers)
  4. Biosphere (plants and animals)

Under the banner of more people leading a better quality of life, human activity has thrown this entire interconnected system seriously out of balance and it continues to get worse. Much worse. We’re heating and polluting the atmosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere. And we continue to destroy many of the millions of species of plants and animals (our biosphere) with reckless abandon–leading to an unprecedented rate of species extinction, now running at over 1,000 times the normal rate.

We seem to have forgotten that all things are connected in nature as we seem hellbent on destroying our precious ecosystem that gives us life. What’s it going to take for us to return to living in harmony with nature? A lot more than recycling newspapers, taking shorter showers and driving electric cars.

Ten BillionAs Stephen Emmott points out in TEN BILLION, what is needed is a RADICAL change in human behavior. Yet, there are exactly ZERO world leaders who have even begun to talk about radical change. What we have is an overall “system” that is selfishly grabbing what’s left of our natural resources to support a grossly unsustainable way of life.

The Bottom Line.  I have concluded that the ONLY pragmatic way to get us moving in the right direction is to begin an URGENT effort to move rapidly in the direction of a plant-based diet for all humans. You see, our food choices determine how most of the world is being used and we ran out of available farmland many years ago.

It took 200,000 years for humans to get to reach a population of one billion. Since then, with the help of the agricultural and scientific revolutions, in just over 200 years, we’ve added 6.3 billion people and taken over the entire globe to produce our food and other “stuff” that we consume.

Since animal-based foods (on a per calorie basis) require over ten times as much land, water and energy as do plant-based foods, any move in the direction toward more plants and fewer animals will result in HUGE improvements to our ecosystem. And, it just might buy us enough time to work on other issues that continue to drive us away from living in harmony with nature: overpopulation, overconsumption and dependence on fossil fuels.

The cost of global depletion is a tough lesson to learn.

The cost of global depletion is a tough lesson to learn.

The people of Easter Island had a similar situation about one thousand years ago. After they squandered their natural resources, their ecosystem collapsed–followed closely by their civilization. The humans themselves were nearing extinction when the Dutch explorers discovered their island on Easter Sunday in 1722.

We can learn from those unfortunate souls. Like them, we only have one home. (For more on Easter Island, see my first blog on the list below.)

What can you do? Like I said in a recent post, you can start by getting the “animal out of the equation” in your own diet. You can also become a part of this discussion. You can ask other people to look at the simple arithmetic that any 3rd grader could understand. You can challenge the “leaders” that you know about the unsustainable nature of our lifestyle. You can ask them why no one in power ANYWHERE is talking about this most crucial of all topics. Finally, you can invite me to speak at your company, church, university or club.

Why do I continue to harp on this subject like a relentless drum beat every day? One reason is that I am preparing myself for an upcoming meeting that a colleague and I will soon be having with a very prominent and highly respected leader. We believe that this particular man has the requisite combination of integrity, conviction, courage, resources, leadership skills and popularity–to organize and lead a global coalition aimed at urgently promoting the health of our ecosystem that gives us life. If that meeting is a success, you will hear all about it. Maybe he’ll even be able to get us that meeting with the Pope.

Source Information. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia page mentioned earlier. Below this information is a link to that page and a few links to some of my earlier blogs on the topic of sustainability.

Finding Earth-sized Goldilocks planets is a key part of the Kepler Mission, which uses a space telescope (launched on 7 March 2009 UTC) to survey and compile the characteristics of habitable-zone planets.[3] On 4 November 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler space mission data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of sun-like stars and red dwarf stars within the Milky Way Galaxy.[4][5] 11 billion of these estimated planets may be orbiting sun-like stars.[6] The nearest such planet may be 12 light-years away, according to the scientists.[4][5]

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability | Tagged | 2 Comments

“4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health,” our new book

COMING THIS SUMMER TO AN ONLINE BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU

Dr. Kerry Graff contacted me in April of 2014 after finding our 4Leaf materials online. She had seen Forks Over Knives a few months earlier, then concluded that she had been shortchanging her patients during her twenty years of practicing medicine. After deciding to convert her  family medical practice from “sick-care” to true “health care,” she began searching online for tools that would help her share her newfound knowledge with her patients.

And that’s when she found me, J. Morris Hicks, and the 4Leaf Program website that featured the kind of handy tools she was seeking. Since that time, she and I have developed new tools together, rebuilt the 4Leaf website and are about to publish our first book. Pictured here are “working” images of the front and back cover, along with the book’s Introduction.

This powerful new book will soon be available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.

Available summer of 2015 on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.

INTRODUCTION

This 4Leaf Guide contains everything you need to get started down the road to vibrant health. It also addresses the most important issue in the history of humankind—our food choices in the 21st century. In the pages ahead, you’ll learn all about why that issue is so important and why you should be eating a more optimal diet, for reasons that go far beyond your own health.

In the first chapter, Dr. Graff tells the gripping story of her own enlightenment when it comes to the critical task of simply choosing what to eat. She then explains how she leveraged that newly gained knowledge to begin the joyful process of “making good” on the incredible failures of her profession.

In later chapters, she grants you a rare peek inside the physician’s office as she gently guides her patients down the pathway to vibrant health. Throughout the book, we strived to tell you everything you need to know in as few words as possible, such as: “A near optimal diet = mostly whole, plant-based foods.”

You’ll learn all about the simple 4Leaf approach to healthy eating and how to explain it to others. Importantly, you’ll learn how to get started when it comes to things like figuring out what you’re going to eat, getting all of the unhealthy stuff out of your kitchen and tips to remember while shopping. We’ll also provide you with some starter recipes and will steer you to some great online resources for many more.

Most of the chapters are less than five pages with descriptive titles so that you’ll have no trouble finding what you need. In addition to valuable tips for integrating this healthy way of eating into your busy lifestyle, you’ll also learn how to deal with the plethora of questions, criticisms and unsolicited advice you’ll be receiving from your friends, family and colleagues–as many of them may think that you have lost your mind.

Throughout the book, you’ll enjoy reading a number of success stories as told by Dr. Kerry Graff. Finally, you will appreciate the Epilog by J. Morris Hicks, as he chronicles how we got into such a mess in the first place, when it comes to the staggering global consequences of our poor dietary choices.

4LG BACK jpeg COVERNow it’s time for you to meet Dr. Kerry Graff, who wrote half of the chapters, including the final one, “Calling All Doctors.” That title refers to a letter (included in the chapter) to medical practitioners everywhere–imploring them to learn, understand and embrace the incredible health benefits of whole-food, plant-based nutrition and, in turn, enthusiastically promote it to all of their patients. Given the mountain of evidence supporting its efficacy, for physicians to not share this life-saving, plant-based message with their patients is simply unconscionable. Here is Dr. Graff’s background summary that appears on our 4leafprogram.com website.

Dr. Kerry Graff, Chief Medical Officer, 4Leaf Global, LLC

The owner of Lake Country Family Medicine in Canandaigua, New York, Dr. Graff is the first medical doctor to make extensive use of all 4Leaf materials, while helping her 800 patients take charge of their health. In her own words:

I spent the first half of my career treating patients’ diseases with medication. I am dedicating the second half of my career to treating what causes the disease in the first place–primarily the woeful, typical Western diet. I am having a ball helping patients regain their health and get off their medications!

Dr. Graff graduated from Cornell University summa cum laude as a biology major in 1990.  After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center cum laude in 1994, she completed a three-year Family Practice Residency at UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh, PA.  Following completion of her residency in 1997, she relocated to Canandaigua, NY and was employed by Thompson Health, providing primary care including obstetrics at the Honeoye Family Practice.

In 2006, she opened her own practice in Canandaigua that allowed her more flexibility in the way she practiced medicine. After watching Forks Over Knives in 2013, she adopted a whole food, plant-based diet and experienced huge improvements in her personal health. She then earned her certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and began incorporating the 4Leaf Survey as a teaching tool to help patients transition to a healthier diet.

The results have been absolutely amazing. 4Leaf for Life has become an integral part of the way she practices medicine today, as the future of medicine has begun. You can read more about Kerry in this blog that I posted about her in October, 2014. The Future of Medicine Starts Here—Canandaigua, NY.

*************

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability | Tagged | 3 Comments

Did you know we just added another 100 million?

World population topped 7.3 billion earlier this year.

I was born in Memphis, TN, on February 21, 1945, during the WW2 Battle of Iwo Jima (maybe that's why they named me Jim).

I was born in Memphis, TN, during the WW2 Battle of Iwo Jima (maybe that’s why they named me Jim).

Just to put it into perspective, when we add 1/10th of a billion in a little over a year, it’s a number equal to the combined population of our four most populous states: California, Texas, New York and Florida.

When I was born in 1945, there were less than 2.5 billion people on this planet. During my lifetime, our population has tripled. And, if I live long enough, it may even quadruple during my watch.

Let’s take a look at population growth numbers since humans emerged as a species 200,000 years ago:

  • It took us 199,800 years to reach one billion in 1804.
  • But only 123 years to reach two billion in 1927; then, we needed just:
  • 32 years to reach 3 billion in 1959
  • 15 years to reach 4 billion in 1974
  • 13 years to reach 5 billion in 1987
  • 12 years to reach 6 billion in 1999
  • 12 years to reach 7 billion in 2011
  •  4 years to reach 7.3 billion in 2015

The good news is that the number of years it takes to add one billion people appears to have stabilized at twelve or thirteen. The bad news is that, if we continue adding one billion every 13 years, we’ll reach TWELVE BILLION in 2076, when the average age of my grandchildren will be 70, which is my age today.

April 12, 2015, after surviving my first and LAST pond-skimming experience of my life. Wachusett Mountain, MA.

April 12, 2015, after surviving my first and LAST pond-skimming experience of my life. Wachusett Mountain, MA.

To celebrate my 70th this year, I skied down a mountain and across a pond; well, partway across a pond (See video below). I wonder what my grandkids will be doing when they turn 70? What kind of world are we leaving for them? I say “we” because most of the damage inflicted by humans on this planet’s fragile ecosystem has occurred during my lifetime.

To clarify, I am not just talking about population growth. That is just part of the problem. The other part is the way we live–as millions of people start to eat meat, drive cars, fly in jet airplanes, use air conditioning and live in big homes–the rate of depletion of finite natural resources keeps rising. In a recent blog, I posted some of those numbers from Emmott’s book, TEN BILLION:

  • In 1960, we flew 62 billion passenger miles. In 1980, we flew 620 billion miles, and in 2012, the number was 4 trillion.
  • As for automobiles. In 1960, there were 100 million on the road. In 1980, there were 300 million. Now there are one billion.
  • It gets worse, we’re currently on track to produce four billion cars in the next forty years–after it took us 112 years to produce the first two billion.
  • We’ll also need to produce more food in those forty years than we have produced in the past 10,000 years combined.

Time out for one minute. Enjoy!

Meanwhile, back to the harsh reality of the 21st century on planet Earth.

Doom and Gloom? NO! Sometimes, I feel like I am repeating the same message with every article or chapter that I write. But I am not a “doom and gloom” kind of guy. I am generally an optimist, but first and foremost, I am a realist.

And the REAL DEAL about all of the above is there is no way that we can support 12 billion people on this planet–without radically changing the way we live. Stephen Emmott summed it this way in his book:

Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. These driving issues of our times are the result of one huge problem: Us.

Ten BillionAnd since he doesn’t see any urgent move in the direction of “radical” change, he has concluded that the human civilization as we know it is now in its last century. But I think there is still hope.

And that hope hinges on figuring out a way to “radically” change our food choices. By simply taking the animal out of the equation, we can easily feed the world’s 7.3 billion with 75% less land and water, while reducing energy consumption by up to 30 percent. Just think about the ecological impact of those three things.

As all of that land (formerly used for growing food animals) is returned to nature, we take a big step in the right direction when it comes to healing our fragile ecosystem. We also buy ourselves enough time to solve the more difficult challenges of overpopulation, overconsumption and over-dependence on fossil fuels. Even Stephen Emmott agrees that moving toward a plant-based diet for humans would result in a HUGE positive impact on our environment.

The beauty about changing our food choices is twofold. First, it would have a greater positive ecological impact of ALL other possible initiatives combined. Second, since any person can change their food choices overnight, this powerful initiative can happen very quickly. Other challenges, like curbing overpopulation or overconsumption, will take many decades, if not centuries to resolve.

What can you do? You can start by getting the “animal out of the equation” in your own diet. You can also become a part of this discussion. You can ask other people to look at the simple arithmetic that any 3rd grader could understand. You can challenge the “leaders” that you know about the unsustainable nature of our lifestyle. You can ask them why no one in power ANYWHERE is talking about this crucial topic. Finally, you can invite me to speak at your company, church, university or club.

For more information, take a look at a few of my earlier blogs on this topic. Let’s not let our entire “world” go the way of Easter Island (second article below). The first article is about my grandchildren’s lives–in the last half of this century.

Coming Soon, Our New Book: 4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability | Tagged | 3 Comments

Elon Musk, “green” energy and beyond…

Why are our leaders not looking at the most “obvious” of all solutions?

Elon Musk as he appeared in Business Week

Elon Musk as he appeared in Business Week

The world definitely needs smart, “big picture” thinkers like Elon Musk, CEO of TESLA and SpaceX. He has been on my radar screen for several years–because I believe that this man could accomplish almost any challenge he chose to undertake. Last week, he formally introduced the TESLA battery in the 17-minute video, below.

It’s actually a pretty impressive presentation as he skillfully described TESLA’s answer to the world’s energy dilemma. Obviously we can’t burn fossil fuels forever. Two reasons: First, there is a finite supply of them and second, if we did burn all of the known fossil fuel reserves, we’d have no chance whatsoever of avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Quite a conundrum.

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Promoting health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

My beef on this topic is that this brilliant man never mentions the most obvious of all solutions to the majority of our environmental issues–our food choices. And it’s not like I haven’t tried to get his attention. I sent a letter to him two years ago and put a copy of that letter in a blog to him later that week. (See blog link below.) I got a one-sentence response from his secretary saying that he was too busy to take on any new projects. Here’s a brief excerpt from that letter:

Elon, I am writing to request a meeting with you. As you say, “We need to figure out how to have the things we love and not destroy the world.” Right now, we’re destroying the world by the way we eat. And the problem is getting worse every day.

While watching the video, you’ll find yourself thinking that his TESLA battery could be the answer to our energy crisis. But the problem is not only energy. It’s all the STUFF that we make that requires not only energy but the steadily increasing use of finite natural resources.

Drawbacks to the Solar Solution as outlined by Dr. Stephen Emmott in TEN BILLION:

It is difficult to imagine existing green-energy technologies solving our energy demands at scale. For example, the next generation silicon photovoltaic cells require intensive mining of numerous metals and rare earths. Mining such metals involves processes that are anything but “green.” Many of these metals are at severe risk of what is known in the trade as “cumulative supply deficits”— that is, they’re running out.

And the production of the new generation of solar panels involves nitrogen triflouride— one of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth. Secondly, even if green-energy technologies were a solution, which they’re not, we would need to be embarking on a planetary-wide green energy program right now. And we’re not.

Stephen Emmott's book will help the pope understand the unprecedented planetary emergency we face.

Stephen Emmott with his book that all leaders must read

Another big problem with all possible solutions to our environmental crisis is that it’s not a static problem. It continues to get worse every day. For example:

  • In TEN BILLION, Emmott stated that in 1960, we flew 62 billion passenger miles. In 1980, we flew 620 billion miles, and in 2012, the number was 4 trillion.
  • As for automobiles. In 1960, there were 100 million on the road. In 1980, there were 300 million. Now there are one billion. It gets worse, we’re currently on track to produce four billion cars in the next forty years–after it took us 112 years to produce the first two billion. We’ll also need to produce more food in those forty years than we have produced in the past 10,000 years combined.

The Bottom Line. We need a lot more than solar batteries to save us. Eventually, we need a global economic model that is not built on maximizing the consumption of STUFF in a world of finite resources. And that’s going to take some time.

While visiting with Dr. Emmott in October of 2013, he seemed to agree with me that we will never learn to live in harmony with nature without almost completely taking the “animal” out of the food equation. The good news is that if we can do that, we just might be able to buy ourselves enough time to solve other pressing issues like overpopulation, overconsumption and saying goodbye to fossil fuels.

Why do our greatest leaders not understand that?

Will someone please forward this blog to Pope Francis? 

(arguably the most influential person on the planet today)

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability, Video Included | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Pope and the “Protein Myth”

Ignoring the elephant in the “Climate Change Situation Room”

Pope FrancisWho is going to tell the world that we don’t NEED to eat animal protein to be healthy? It could very well be Pope Francis–if only he were to become enlightened about the cold hard facts regarding the devastating consequences of our food choices.

On Monday, we heard about him taking a stand regarding the need for all nations to get serious about addressing climate change. And he’s dead serious when he says:

“We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family.”

But no one has told him exactly what we must do to “care for the earth.” No one has told him that our toxic western diet (with meat, dairy, eggs and/or fish at almost every meal) is about the ONLY primary driver of climate change that we can reduce soon enough to make much of a difference. No one has told him that the “protein myth” is simply not true.

The Protein Myth. The mistaken belief throughout the world that we humans NEED to eat animal protein to be healthy.

It is that myth that is preventing the greatest Win-Win opportunity in the history of humanity–for our health, for our ecosystem, for our civilization and for the longterm sustainability of the human species. Once enough people understand the proven truths about animal protein, the sooner we can get about the business of taking the best possible steps to “caring for the earth.”

A brief summary of the “protein truth.”

Per calorie, spinach has more protein than sirloin.

Per calorie, spinach has more protein than sirloin.

  1. We do need protein, just like we need carbohydrates and fat in our diet.
  2. We need about ten percent of our calories from protein, but most westerners average closer to 20%–because of their love affair with animal-based foods.
  3. Plant-based foods have plenty of all three of the macronutrients, in just the right proportion for optimizing our health.
  4. Animal-based foods are associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and a host of other chronic diseases that need never exist in humans.
  5. Animal-based foods (on a per calorie basis) require over ten times as much land, water and energy as do plant-based foods.
  6. According to the FAO (U.N.), the raising of livestock causes more climate change than ALL of transportation combined. Some experts believe it causes more than THREE times as much GHG as all of transportation.

Think about that last fact and think about how long it would take to actually even BEGIN to reduce the GHG produced by transportation. With millions in the developing world just beginning to drive cars for the first time, just stopping growth in this sector would be a HUGE success. Actually reducing GHG in the transportation sector anytime soon is virtually impossible–regardless what the pope and all of the world’s governmental leaders have to say.

What can be done? ALL of our world leaders are completely missing the ONLY way to actually fight climate change quickly–simply by urging people everywhere to begin replacing as many of their meat-based calories as possible with plant-based foods. Anyone can change what they eat overnight and doing so will contribute to an immediate reduction in GHG.

Pope Francis NYTBusiness as usual. Until a widely respected global leader (like Pope Francis) steps forward and tells the world all of these truths, it will be business as usual throughout the world when it comes to climate change. The NY Times editorial board described that business as usual thusly:

Though there is broad scientific consensus that global temperatures are rising, in large part because of the emission of greenhouse gases, international efforts to do something about it have been secular, political and largely unsuccessful. Conservative skeptics have actively campaigned to depict climate change as a hoax, while governments, especially in emerging economies, have been loath to take steps that might hamper growth.

Calling All LEADERS! When is one powerful leader going to wake up and understand the third grade math about climate change, world hunger and water scarcity? When that happens, all three of these global issues (and many more) can be solved, but we must have LEADERSHIP. (See source articles below the elephant in the room.)

How much longer can we ignore this guy?

Elephant in the room

Source articles

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf Program and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

Posted in Activism & Leadership, Climate Change, Protein Concerns, Sustainability | Tagged | 3 Comments