Activism is not a dirty word—it’s an essential process…

For changing our global feeding model—before it’s too late

Yesterday, I opened my speech at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, with a “Jeopardy” question. It appears at the bottom of this opening slide:


The answer of course — “What is activism?”

I then told them that I had recently become an “honest-to-God” activist myself and would use the following title the next time I order business cards: Writer. Speaker. Activist. I then mentioned that it had taken me 68 years to become an activist and that it was my hope that some of them would do so in the next 60 minutes.

And guess what? At the end of my talk, while I was signing books for students—several of them indicated that they would. That, my friends, inspired me to go ahead and change my title on this website. Take a look above the top banner on my website. I added “activist” TODAY.

How did my talk have that kind of result? Because I told them the truth about a desperately serious situation. Due to a combination of overpopulation, overconsumption and eating the wrong food—many prominent scientists are now predicting that our civilization will collapse well before the before the end of this century. Two of them wrote books about what is happening, although neither of them offered a viable solution. But, I did.

As my title slide stated, this presentation was all about the “ONLY pathway to the longterm sustainability of humanity.”


Synopsis of my presentation. Our planet now has far too many people consuming far too much stuff. We are rapidly depleting our finite natural resources and are proceeding down a road that is grossly unsustainable for very much longer. We have three main problems:

  1. Overpopulation. It took the human species almost 200,000 years to reach a population of one billion. In just 200 years, we added another six billion.
  2. Over-consumption. The way we live, work, play, and trade—our entire economy is built on maximizing the consumption of STUFF around the world.
  3. Eating the wrong food. The most affluent two billion people in the world are eating the wrong food. Not only is it making us sick, but it is the leading cause of virtually ALL of our most urgent environmental problems, beginning with water scarcity and climate change.

Now for the Good News. Not only is our “eating the wrong food” causing the most problems, it is the ONLY one of the three that can be changed quickly. It will take many decades (if not centuries) to get the first two under control—but any individual can change what they eat overnight.

And if enough people make big enough changes, we can quickly change that global feeding model mentioned earlier. And how do we do that? ACTIVISM! Let the “vigorous campaigning” begin.

Some may argue that we’re hunters and gatherers and that the absolute best diet for humans is one that contains a great deal of animal protein. My argument is simple. Even if they were right—which they are NOT, that kind of diet is grossly unsustainable. If all 7.1 Billion people ate like we do in the USA, we’d need over TWO planet Earths to feed us all—and we only have one.

Slide03Leadership, Credibility and Money. I agree with Dr. Emmott that our current situation is an “unprecedented planetary emergency,” and as such, we don’t have time for a gradual change led by governments, institutions or corporations. I have concluded that the ONLY solution that will enable us to avert those upcoming climate change tipping points—is a MASSIVE global awareness campaign.

We need to bypass all the bureaucracies of the world and take our powerful, civilization changing message directly to the consumers—the people who’re driving the demand.

My style of activism. Leveraging my unique background as an engineer, senior business executive and corporate recruiter—I am in the process of “recruiting” that powerful leader who has the conviction, the reputation, and the wealth to make that massive global awareness campaign a reality. How much will it cost? Tens of billions? Hundreds of billions? What difference does it make if it will prevent the collapse of our civilization?

How can those students help? Here was my closing slide—with their homework. I told them to start the process by tackling steps 1-5 below. Then, they can start spreading the message themselves and/or help getting me in front of more audiences: other colleges, radio, television, etc. The first step is to catch the vision. Then, each person can leverage their own individual knowledge and skills for the greater good.


In #8 above, I admitted that we had screwed things up on my watch (in the last 69 years) and that I was now imploring them to help me get out there and and find the powerful leaders to get us back on the right track—while there is still time.

On the way home following my presentation, I thought about the great Dr. W. Edwards Deming and meeting him in the summer of 1990 at George Washington University in Washington, DC. After his presentation that day, he wrote a comment on a business paper that I had shown him. I still have it framed today in my office; he wrote:

Keep on learning. Study optimization of a system. — W. Edwards Deming

Dr. Deming taught me all about the "optimization of a system," a concept that played a prominent role in my getting my arms around the huge, inter-connected -- and incredibly wasteful system, employed by humans in the western world to feed themselves.

Dr. Deming, the father of TQM, total quality management, was one of my greatest mentors in thinking about “the big picture.” He passed away three years after I met him at the age of 93.

And that’s exactly what I did. Shortly after realizing that “we’re eating the wrong food” back in 2003, I thought of Dr. Deming (quality guru) when I realized that I had discovered the greatest process-improvement opportunity in the history of the world.

Unfortunately the “protein myth” had locked the mind of even this outstandingly brilliant man. Like so many others, the idea of not eating animal protein seemed so foreign to him, that it never made it to the table for consideration.

By simply shifting to a whole food, plant-based diet—we can all take charge of our health while averting climate change, easing the water crisis & soil erosion, ending world hunger, and buying us enough time to work on our other primary sustainability issues:

    • Solving our overpopulation dilemma.
    • Switching our global energy system from fossil fuels to renewables.
    • Creating a new economic model that enables us to live in harmony with nature.

Speaking of harmony. When I signed all those books yesterday, I wrote H3 (H cubed) on all of them—my shorthand for promoting health, hope and harmony—telling the students that the greatest of these is harmony. Because without harmony, there is no hope, there is no health, and ultimately, there is no civilization.

Want to see a complete set of PPT slides from my presentation? Click here.

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 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

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 page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at 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

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.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Activism is not a dirty word—it’s an essential process…

  1. CJ says:

    VERY inspiring, Jim! Well done as always… thank you for the important work you do.

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