“You’re Screwed” or “We’re F_ _ _ _ D?” Take your pick.

Even Jimmy Kimmel knows we’re in trouble.

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel

Last week, I posted a blog about an Oxford scientist/professor who paints a pretty bleak picture for the longterm survival of our species. Imagine my surprise when I saw essentially saw the same message on Jimmy Kimmel Live (7-11-13 telecast).

Only Jimmy chose the more politically-correct “You’re Screwed” to the x-rated “We’re F_ _ _ _ D” version used by Dr. Stephen Emmott.

Jimmy’s 3-minute video would be entertaining if it weren’t so true.

Good News, Bad News. The good news is that awareness of our self-induced global dilemma is growing. The bad news is that we’re making a joke out of it, or in Jimmy’s case,  blaming all of the world’s woes on the U.S. Congress.

Congress is NOT the organization that can tackle the biggest problem in the history of humankind. That will require a hefty combination of global leadership, power, and MONEY.

Congress is NOT the organization that can tackle the biggest problem in the history of humankind. That will require a hefty combination of global leadership, power, and MONEY.

As the video started, I was struck by the similarity of the conclusions reached by two diametrically opposite types of organizations: a comedy show and a senior Microsoft scientist/Oxford Professor. Then I thought of the three stages of the acceptance of new truths.

So what is the new truth that I am talking about? The blinding flash of the obvious solution to the mess we’ve created—a well-planned, deliberate move in the direction of a plant-based diet for all humans. Without that crucial step, which will take powerful leadership, power and money—I am afraid that I would have to agree with their similar conclusions: “We’re screwed.” As for the stages of new truths, let’s begin with a quote:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. —Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

The big problem right now is that almost everyone seems to be aware of a gigantic dilemma down the road for all humans, but only a tiny few are talking about a realistic solution. As for the aforementioned truth—we’re currently in the ridicule stage and must successfully pass through the difficult violent opposition stage before we accept this new truth as self evident and finally get some traction. And for that, we need powerful and committed LEADERSHIP.

Dr. Stephen Emmott as he appears in the Forbes article referenced below.

Dr. Stephen Emmott as he appears in the Forbes article referenced below.

The pathway out of this mess. Dr. Emmott does a magnificent job of describing the global issues that we face yet, like others before him, he makes no mention of the single most powerful “behavioral change” that we could make to alleviate many of those dire realities. Like practically all of our most brilliant scientists, he probably believes that we truly “need” to eat animal protein in order to be healthy.

Once he realizes that we don’t need ANY animal protein, he will quickly grasp the staggering benefits of using 90% less land, 90% less water and 90% less energy to produce the same number of food calories. Maybe then he will see the ray of hope that I see—a plant-based pathway out of this horrible mess that our species has created.

Full of water-wasters. The bacon, the cheese and the eggs.

Would you pay $50 for this popular breakfast? Full of water-wasters. Bacon, cheese and eggs.

A plausible solution. In yesterday’s blog, I floated the idea of “cap & trade” type of solution for water. Essentially requiring that the food industry pay for the water that they use. Even at a ridiculously low price of 1/10th of a cent per gallon, it would add $3 to the price of quarter pound burger. (See yesterday’s blog, Are you ready for a $35 burger?)

When the price of a burger quickly jumps from $5 to $8 — and the prices of other water hogs (chicken, eggs, dairy) see similar increases, a shift to more plant-based eating will begin to happen. And when the price of water gets all the way to one cent per gallon, that burger will cost $35. People everywhere will become healthy because they can no longer afford the food that is making them sick.

The Oxford scientist/professor. Microsoft’s head of Computational Science (based in Cambridge, UK), Dr. Stephen Emmott recently presented the world with a terrifying wake-up call. And his message is simply this. Unless we make some HUGE changes in the way we live and reproduce, our future descendants are in deep trouble.

His book description. 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.

Water, our most precious of natural resources.

I don’t think one cent a gallon is too much for our most precious natural resource.

The Bottom Line. Awareness of our self-induced global problems is growing. But the “best and brightest” haven’t yet figured out the obvious solution. That’s because they’re all still trapped in the old protein paradigm that we “need” to eat some animal foods to be healthy. We need global leadership to urgently get busy working on a workable solution.

First, to begin dispelling the “protein” myth and second to organize a system for putting a price on our most precious natural resource—water. Those two steps will put the power of global economics in motion and billions of people will begin to eat healthier—in spite of themselves.

And maybe we won’t be “screwed” after all…

Just think of the ripple effect of benefits that would ensue: healthier people, lower cost of health care, global warming is curbed, finite fossil fuels last longer, water shortages are a thing of the past, world hunger ends, rain-forests are restored and the suffering of billions of animals in factory farms is almost non-existent.

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

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf 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 jmorrishicks@me.com

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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.

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

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—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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2 Responses to “You’re Screwed” or “We’re F_ _ _ _ D?” Take your pick.

  1. CJ says:

    Jim, thanks for the laugh! Jimmy Kimmel has always been hysterical, and I was a kid in the school house rock days so I could appreciate that cartoon even more, plus the insightful irony behind it. I always appreciate the realism / pessimism in your posts, this topic of the fate of the future generations and the planet is so interesting to me. I agree with Jimmy’s cartoon that we are likely “screwed”, as people won’t really act until we’re absolutely up against the wall. It’s that old story of the frog in the hot water who doesn’t realize it’s too hot until it’s too late.

    At least you pointed to some positive, plant-based diet affirming news with the Kaiser report, their closing line stating that the culture must change in order for people to “get it”. That sadly will take too long and we will miss the opportunity / last chance to save ourselves from destruction. In the documentary “Plan B” I mentioned in your last post, they call out the world’s quickly growing desire for meat, dairy and eggs, and how disastrous this is. These are the very things which we here, who follow your work, all know will continue to expand the environmental disasters which are already on our doorstep.

    So, I’m in agreement with you, Lester Brown, Dr. Emmott, and many others that what is needed is a WW-II war-time / asteroid-buster style project mobilization of the greatest minds, our entire economies and the collective will of everyone to tackle this problem. This is discussed very nicely in the the documentary “Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization” http://video.pbs.org/video/1864227276/

    I read “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman back in 2006 and it changed my entire world-view, I didn’t have the big picture on how far our country had fallen compared to other countries, and I’m a fairly well-read person. That same year I realized the truth of climate change as a problem and actually saw Al Gore present his “Inconvenient Truth” presentation live at a nearby university, and began researching the topic further. So many have advocated a huge restructuring of our economies to take on the global challenge. As this topic interests me more and I like Friedman’s writing style, I just ordered his “Hot, Flat and Crowded”, to help get more perspective as well. I hope change will come, I just saw a really powerful documentary, “Chasing Ice” on Netflix, which shows the disappearing of sea ice and glaciers around the world, the time lapse photography is shocking. Highly recommended: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Chasing_Ice/70229919?locale=en-US

    Anyways, Jim, I appreciate what you’re doing through your inspiring letters and efforts to influence the leaders of the USA and global corporations on the importance of the change in diet — both health and cost savings. These are really the only things that can likely turn heads these days towards this important connecting of the dots. I agree that the change needs to come from the top… it’s likely the ONLY way there is going to be real change through national and global leadership / action.

    Sadly, as Jimmy’s cartoon points out… we have the most pathetic, ineffective government representation in the history of the country right now, and if they try (like with healthcare), we get pathetic, ineffective results. Last year’s Copenhagen climate talks were similar — pathetic. Yes, sadly we are likely screwed… but I still want to keep trying and appreciate your showing people ways to make a difference through your work. Thanks, Jim!

  2. Leo S. says:

    On page 43 in Lester Brown’s “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization” he states that California farmers are selling water to cities. They probably don’t have to plant, fertilize, spray pesticides and/or herbicides, harvest crops or spend money on those activities or fuel to run their equipment. Maybe it is more profitable and less time consuming to sell water than raise food.

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