We can never solve problems without fully understanding the causes.
While in Atlanta this week to visit my brand-new granddaughter, Evvy Laura (shown here), I had the privilege to meet with the daughter of a powerful world leader. During that meeting, we discussed the almost certain collapse of our civilization before the end of this century—unless we take decisive action now—throughout the world.
After an excellent “big picture” discussion of what we must do to save our civilization, I left her a copy of Stephen Emmott’s TEN BILLION and encouraged her to share it with her father. When I handed it to her, I mentioned that it was not selling very well—probably because most people don’t enjoy reading about what appears to be doom and gloom. She agreed, saying that it was important to present information so that it inspires optimism and action.
I replied, you’re right—if your goal is to have a best-seller. That was not Dr. Emmott’s goal. His goal was to reach the most powerful leaders of the world—the few thousand individuals who have the power to lead immediate change that will prevent the disasters that are now appearing almost certain. His goal was to describe our URGENT dilemma as simply and concisely as possible. If leaders don’t completely understand the problem, they won’t be able to solve it.
This book is for LEADERS—not the masses. As such, Dr. Emmott didn’t provide ANY specific, suggested solutions. He only talked in generalities, saying that we must make HUGE changes in how we are living; we must consume radically less and conserve radically more. He left it to the powerful leaders to figure out a plan of action.
And those leaders must have a REALISTIC understanding of exactly what is happening in the world—and the ensuing consequences of inaction. Those leaders must hear the complete truth regarding the fact that we simply cannot continue to maximize consumption of STUFF in a finite world. They need to grasp the complete TRUTH about our dilemma—before they can design and lead initiatives to get us back on the right track.
So what about the solution? What can we do? Take a look at the review of TEN BIlLION that I posted January 14, 2014, on Amazon:
After discovering Dr. Emmott in July of 2103, I was one of the first to read this book when it was published in September. As a “big picture” guy myself who always strives to make complex things simple, I was blown away by the power of this one-hour read. With abundant CLARITY, he describes the grossly unsustainable path that we humans have taken for the past one hundred years. And as a realistic scientist, he concludes that while he hopes that he is wrong, he doesn’t think that we have a chance of reversing this unsustainable trend before our civilization collapses later in this century.
After reading his book in September, I had the privilege of visiting with Dr. Emmott in London in October. During that 75-minute meeting, he expressed optimism that my premise (shared by my colleagues James Cameron, T. Colin Campbell, John Robbins and others) just might work. That premise is this: “Shifting to a whole foods, plant-based diet will do more to ensure the longterm sustainability of our species than all other possible initiatives combined.” J. Morris Hicks
Only one viable short-term solution. As I discussed with Dr. Emmott in October, we have three big problems in the world, but only one can be solved relatively quickly. It will take many decades to get overpopulation under control—or to change the way we all live, work, travel and consume STUFF. But any individual can change to a planet-saving diet almost immediately. We just need to tell them exactly why they should do it—and how they can easily make the transition.
For the sake of newborn Evvy Laura, my five other grandchildren and all the children of the world, we simply can’t allow our civilization to collapse.
Not when we know how to prevent it!
The problem right now is that only a relatively small percentage of the world’s seven billion citizens currently have that knowledge. And we need a lot of help to convert that knowledge into enough ACTION to make a difference.
We must immediately enlist the support of enough powerful leaders—those with the credibility, courage, conviction, integrity, wealth and power—to take BOLD, decisive action now.
In search of the TRUTH. In recent months, I have written about the fact that our largest environmental groups are not telling us about the single largest driver of our most serious problems: climate change, water scarcity, soil erosion and deforestation; to name just a few. So why are they keeping this crucially vital information a secret? A combination of two things:
- Comfortably Unaware. Most are probably not fully aware of the fact that our most serious environmental problems are being driving by our food choices; specifically meat, dairy, eggs and fish on a regular basis.
- Concerns about Fundraising. For those who ARE fully aware, they choose not to share that world-saving information with their members because being perceived as “anti meat” would not be good for their fundraising.
Both are simply unacceptable; particularly #2. I can forgive them for not having learned the complete truth about what we should be eating. Because I know first-hand that it is a very well-kept secret—and was 58 years old before I stumbled across it myself.
But I cannot forgive them for #2. Speaking for Evvy Laura and for all the children of the world, I find #2 to be the most despicable thing that I have ever heard. To jeopardize the future of our civilization so that they can keep raising enough money to pay their salaries sounds criminal to me.
We’re going to need some powerful leadership to turn this thing around. And we’re going to need it real soon!
A few of my recent blogs on this crucial topic:
- 1-25-14. NOTHING is more important than SUSTAINABILITY! All else shrinks to insignificance.
- 2-5-14. Solitude of the cemetery; a place for soul-searching For those of us who care about the future of our children and their children.
- 2-6-14. Cancer. Heart disease. Global warming. Water scarcity. Warning, this one may make you angry.
- 2-13-14. SUSTAINABILITY. Our generation’s responsibility. We created the mess; now we must FIX it. And to do so, we must know the TRUTH.
Six from Hicks —for your health, your planet & the future of our species
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s latest book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
- ENVIRONMENTAL Bonus. Comfortably Unaware by Richard Oppenlander. Eating for your own health is also best for the sustainability of our ecosystem.
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 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 email@example.com
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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 page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.
Got a question? Let me hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:
Jim, thanks for this post. When it comes to seeking the truth, and even fundraising, it does indeed bring up a moral question. After people have received the right information (your step 1), after being educated properly as to the science then the way each person chooses to eat is then essentially an ethical, moral question. After learning what is best for all — eating a solely plant-based diet — do we then choose to eat in a way that will compromise our health, and place unnecessary burdens on our families and society, and destruction on our planet and fellow species?
I like Irene’s point about reaching out to religious leaders. For ethical questions the religions of the world have their place in pointing to the right path. As we all know well, religious leaders are not without their flaws, but I do think that people do gravitate to changes in lifestyle and feel strengthened when feeling they are going against the prevailing culture and norms, when they know that the underpinnings have an ethical, moral foundation. I went primarily vegan after reading the China Study back in 2011, and it’s been wonderful to know that one of the spiritual leaders that I look to these days — a simple Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh, known as “Thay”, an internationally renowned author, scholar and lecturer – he is vegan and is doing a wonderful job of promoting a vegan diet and the importance of it for ourselves, our fellow beings and our world. He and the monks and nuns of his order are very well informed through their spirit of engaged Buddhism. I was raised catholic, but find immense wisdom and inspiration in the work and teachings of Thay’s order. Thay was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.
So I suppose my point that it would be excellent for you to reach out to Thay and then to the many religious leaders who would be best inclined to consider all of the elements of concern we face. Can you imagine if Pope Francis and other religious leaders around the world went vegan? Can you imagine the leadership by example and the wake up and shake up that would occur? Yours is a moral message and you’re on the right track, people need to hear the message and then discover that once heard, the living of this truth of a plant-based diet and lifestyle is one that brings true peace, and helps lead to the much needed inner transformation of the person and outer transformation of our planet.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s body of work is enormous, and his teachings on mindfulness and engaged buddhism are incredibly important and powerful. Just want to share a few of his works and resources on the environment and mindful eating to help you get some ideas:
“Love Letter to the Earth”, a nice short book on our actions and climate change: http://amzn.com/1937006387
“Savor”, great book on mindful eating: http://amzn.com/0061697702
Thich Nhat Hanh at Google, you can jump to the lecture which starts at minute 33:00: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijnt-eXukwk
Thay’s primary mindfulness practice center: http://plumvillage.org/
Some select articles and links from monks of his order:
Last but not least, one other excellent engaged buddhist teacher is Bhikku Bodhi, an American author and scholar. He has excellent blog posts here about food scarcity, and this one leads with Lester Brown: http://buddhistglobalrelief.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/like-moths-circling-a-flame/
Best wishes, Jim, and thanks for all you do.
I agree with Sal that the world’s leaders don’t seem to be interested… but maybe there would be some hope if Jim approached Pope Francis. He seems to be a thoughtful man who will stand up against some of the status quo. Most people with power would see this movement affecting their bottom line, and politicians wouldn’t get the donations from them for their campaigns. As bleak as things sometimes seem, don’t give up getting the message out there. It may be that the Millenials will listen and take action
You are a noble person, with lofty dreams.
It’s been several years you have been active in this pursuit of saving our civilization. Are you aware of any change, any change at all that you are making progress. Who is listening, who will lead us out of this morass . . . is there any hope?
If only you can share your passion with some messiah with the vision to bring about change.
But alas, no one, not even the worlds religious leaders, nor the worlds power brokers appear to be interested.
Maybe we need another guru, book, lecture, and on and on until dooms day.