How old is the Grand Canyon? And what can we learn from it?

Two billion years old—and its history might help jolt us into action

A great many people (probably more than half) in the United States do not believe any of the scientific information about human-generated greenhouse gases and their impact on global warming. They seem to feel that the world is a big place and that there’s no way mankind can change that great big world in any significant manner. I strongly disagree with those people.

In recent weeks, I have been focusing on our planet’s continued ability to provide longterm sustainability of the human race. During that time, someone asked me two questions that got me to thinking:

The majestic Grand Canyon was here millions of years before there were humans on this planet.

Question #1: What caused the melting of the glaciers that gave us the Grand Canyon and many other canyons, etc.?

My response. I do not know about the melting. But after a little research I learned that the canyon has been there long before there were humans on this planet. About 10,000 times as long. (See facts below).  Scientists report that life began on our planet about 4 billion years and we humans have only been here for 200,000 of those years. That’s just 5/1000th of one percent of the life of the planet that we’ve been here—a mere blink of the eye in history. Let’s look at that number in a different way.

For every 100 years that there has been some kind of life on planet Earth, humans have been here for less than two days.

Yet now, 7 billion strong and growing, we humans have taken over all of her land and are rapidly squandering her natural resources. We are systematically taking away our planet’s continued ability to sustain us. That’s because the sustainability of us johnny-come-lately humans depends on a harmonious combination of water, biodiversity, sufficient land, and a climate that supports all of the above. And I have concluded—with near certainty—that we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to sustaining that needed harmony.

Fact Check From the National Park Service website: How old is the Grand Canyon? That’s a tricky question. Although rocks exposed in the walls of the canyon are geologically quite old, the Canyon itself is a fairly young feature. The oldest rocks at the canyon bottom are close to two billion years old. The Canyon itself – an erosional feature – has formed only in the past five or six million years. Geologically speaking, the Grand Canyon is very young.

Our next president is going to be one or the other; unfortunately, neither has said anything about the longterm sustainability of the human race.

Question #2. What action would you recommend the U.S. President take in relation to “rising ocean levels,” in light of other countries, such as China, Brazil, India, etc., given the fact that so, so many others have almost no regulation against emissions, pollution, deforestation, etc.?

In a word, “education” about the #1 cause–the food that we choose to eat. People everywhere need to understand that none of us “need” to eat ANY animals or animal products—EVER. Not only are those products killing us; they’re also destroying what’s left of the harmony & the ability of the planet to support the longterm sustainability of the human race.

The 2006 U.N. Report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, spelled out the incredible damage being inflicted on our planet by the raising of livestock to feed the wealthiest 25% of humans.

According to the 2006 U.N. report shown here, livestock is by far the #1 driver of global warming—which is what is causing those sea levels to rise. After being educated, many will keep eating whatever they like and can afford, but millions of others (including some powerful leaders) will recognize the urgency we face and will urgently start leading us in the right direction.

Just think what would happen if we could return half of the current farmland in the world to forests, prairies and natural habitats—opening the door for the biodiversity of the planet to get back on track. And what about our oceans if we stopped robbing them of billions of creatures for our dinner plates each year?

The Bottom Line. The planet’s longterm ability to sustain human life is being seriously compromised by us modern day humans, and our future descendants’ lives are at stake. In addition to stabilizing our population, we simply must learn to live in harmony with nature—again. I am convinced that the single most powerful move that we can make in that direction—is for all of us to adopt a health-promoting plant-based diet as soon as possible.

617 consecutive daily blogs (numerals courtesy of the Boston Red Sox)

Not only will be doing ourselves & our families a favor, but we’ll be saving water, land, energy, forests, ecosystems and the climate needed to sustain all of the above. When humans change what we eat—we dramatically change how the entire planet is used. And that will have a HUGE impact on our planet’s ability to sustain our species indefinitely.

The planet will survive. But we may not.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

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. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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