That’s all we need to save our ecosystem, our civilization and our species.
There are millions of species of creatures living on this planet. All are living in harmony with Nature—except for ONE. That would be US: the human species and all of the other species that we use for our food, our pets and our entertainment.
In just the past two hundred years, our population has exploded from ONE to over SEVEN billion. At the same time, we’ve built a global economy based on unlimited consumption in a finite world. Now we’re rapidly approaching environmental tipping points and must take urgent action soon.
Today’s blog features an invitation to collaborate that I sent to Danielle Nierenberg, one of the movers and shakers in the world of sustainable agriculture.
The president of FoodTank and a very well-connected activist in this arena, I am confident that, working together, we could find and influence that one powerful leader and a few caring billionaires to “catch the vision” and help us create positive change quickly. This was emailed to her on May 24, 2014.
My name is J. Morris (Jim) Hicks, author of “Healthy Eating, Healthy World,” and I was introduced yesterday to you on Twitter by my friend Paul Peacock (who I copied on this message). Then, I saw just this morning that I am now one of the 110,000 that you are following. My Twitter handle is @jmorrishicks. And I’m now proud to be one of your nearly 10,000 favorites.
With your astronomical volume of tweeting and following, my guess is that you must have a staff to assist you with tweets, research, follow-up and dealing with an incredibly large amount of email traffic. So, if this message finds its way to one of your staffers, I sincerely hope that it will soon find its way to you.
For our ecosystem, for our civilization and for our future as a species.
The remainder of this first email to you contains three concise sections which will only take you a few minutes to read. After you walk through it, I would like to suggest that we schedule a visit—in Washington, New York, Chicago—wherever you choose.
After cruising around the internet for a bit, I discovered a few things about you, beginning with my first introduction to you on your Twitter page. (@DaniNierenberg)
- You have 114,000 Twitter followers. Impressive.
- You joined Worldwatch Institute in 2001 about the same time that Lester Brown was leaving.
- You’ve been a vegetarian since you were a teenager. (Wikipedia)
- You’ve got a MS degree from Tufts in agriculture, food and environment.
- On your LinkedIn page, I noticed you have ONE shared “connection,” Dr. Connie Sanchez, who also appears on the MD Help page of my website: a place where people can find medical advice from a doctor who “gets it” about the health-promoting power of whole, plant-based foods.
- Your “Happier Meals” paper caught my attention and, as I perused through this impressive piece of work, I was wondering if your opinion has changed during the past nine years…as the livestock industry has continued to explode around the world and hundreds of millions of acres of rainforest have been destroyed to produce them.
- After reading all about you for an hour or so, I found myself thinking that you are probably among the five most knowledgeable people in the world—on the topic of the urgent need for sustainable agriculture.
- As a vegetarian you know that eating meat, dairy, eggs and fish is unnecessary and, as an environmentalist, you know that it is grossly unsustainable for much longer.
The question is how do we change it soon enough to make a difference? To avoid the collapse of our civilization that is predicted by many?
2. The way I see things
Here is a list outlining my thought process and conclusions about the single most important topic in the history of humankind. Not sure if you have looked at any of my work yet, but you can quickly see from my home page (hpjmh.com) that my primary emphasis is on sustainability. What could be more important than that? For without sustainability, there is no health, no wealth and no peace.
It all began with my study of industrial engineering, my career as a strategic business consultant, as a senior corporate executive, as an executive recruiter and most recently as a writer, speaker, and activist promoting health, hope & harmony on planet Earth.
Working in business by day, I have spent most of my free time over the past 12 years studying all about the consequences of our food choices: on our health, our ecosystem and our future. My engineering and business background coupled with my dozen years of studying the global human feeding model has yielded a rare “big picture” understanding of this crucial topic that is shared by few people. It has also enabled me to envision a difficult, yet workable, plan of action for moving humankind swiftly back in the direction of living in harmony with Nature.
Just for you on Memorial Day weekend, I drafted this 31-point summary of my understanding of “the big picture” issues we face and the urgent action needed.
- On average, meat, dairy, egg and fish (MDEF) calories require over ten times as much land, water and energy as do plant-based calories.
- The two billion most affluent people in the world eat over 70% of the MDEF in the world. And well over half of them live in five regions: China, Europe, USA, Russia and Brazil. But the other five billion are moving in that direction.
- After doing a bit of extrapolation, I computed that for every American or European moving in the direction of more plant-based eating, there are ten people in the developing world moving in the other direction.
- During the past 8 months, I met with two authors who have written alarming books about the gross unsustainability of our current way of life. Stephen Emmott (Ten Billion) and Lester Brown (Full Planet, Empty Plates).
- Neither author advocated trying to drive the human feeding model away from animals, but when they heard my premise—(from me in person), both agreed that it would result in a HUGE benefit to the Earth’s ecosystem.
- My premise: We must encourage, educate, motivate and empower those two billion wealthiest people out there to begin replacing as many of their MDEF calories with plant-based as possible. (I explain how we get that done later.)
- When I saw your Happier Meals piece, I was reminded of the last piece ever written by Dr. Robert Goodland of the World Bank, it was also entitled Happier Meals.
- A few months ago (in February), I attended Robert’s funeral in Washington, DC, where I heard the U.N.’s Achim Steiner deliver a eulogy and where I met Lester Brown.
- I also met Jeff Anhang that night (World Bank climate specialist), who was Robert’s co-writer on most of his recent work. I now consider Jeff a good friend and ally when it comes to promoting the ecosystem-saving benefits of eating much more plant-based foods.
- Together, Goodland and Anhang published this 2009 article in Worldwatch. Livestock and Climate Change. What if the key actors in climate change are cows, pigs and chickens?
- In the above piece, they concluded that the raising of livestock accounts for AT LEAST 51% of human-induced GHG. That means that all those animals we choose to eat are by far the leading cause of global warming—LARGER than ALL other causes combined.
- A few months ago, I dedicated a blog to Dr. Goodland. Food Choices. The primary cause of global warming?
- In February, I saw an advance version of Cowspiracy, a powerful documentary that will be released next month. The trailer can be seen at conspiracy.com
- The two young producers in that film focus on the not-so-well-known fact that the largest environmental groups in the world are not telling us the truth about the #1 cause of global warming. Because, as Michael Pollan explains in the movie, “it’s a political loser to be identified as anti-meat, and it would hurt their fundraising.”
- So, rather than tell the world how ALL of us can easily fight the #1 cause of global warming, they quietly take our donations, pay their own salaries and work on a host of projects that pale in comparison to the elephant in the room—what humans are eating.
- What we choose to eat determines how the Earth is used. And the way we’re eating is a HUGE waste of Mother Nature’s finite resources. Emmott and Brown predict the collapse of our civilization before the end of this century. And I agree with them unless we take URGENT action soon.
- Climate change has upped the stakes in this deadly game of sustainability and has shortened the time we have remaining to get back on the right track to living in harmony with nature. My website tagline reads: Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.
- To my knowledge, there is only ONE prominent researcher/writer/environmentalist who is completely focusing on the grossly unsustainable global depletion of choosing to eat trillions of animals (if you count the fish). Richard Oppenlander writes about it extensively in his two books; the first of which is “Comfortably Unaware: What we choose to eat is killing us and our planet.” This book is featured in a blog that I posted about him last summer. The TERRIFYING repercussions of our DEMAND for meat
- From a sustainability standpoint, we have four big problems. Three of them will take many decades, if not centuries to fix and we simply don’t have that much time. (1) Overpopulation (2) Over-consumption and (3) Our fossil fuel energy model.
- The Good News. The fourth HUGE problem, in fact, the one causing more damage than the other three combined is our collective choice to eat MDEF three meals a day, a diet-style that is becoming more and more popular around the world.
- Why is that good news? Because what we choose to eat can be changed quickly. Any meat-eater can choose to change what they eat overnight. And the markets will respond—and our ecosystem will begin getting healthier everyday.
- Sure, millions of jobs are lost, but there will be millions of new jobs replacing them. And by attacking this single biggest problem first, we can buy enough time to work on the other three for the next 100 years.
- Incredibly simple solution. All we have to do is work on the “demand” side of the food business and do our best to begin taking the animals of the equation when it comes to the human feeding model. How do we do that?
- Massive Global Awareness Campaign. We have to educate the world’s people in a big way and this is exactly what I want to talk about with you when we meet.
- For an event that I initiated with a well-known billionaire, a group of 21 of us met in Santa Barbara this past November. The group included many names that you may know (a photo of that group is provided below): T. Colin Campbell, John Robbins, Eric Pooley, Craig McCaw, Caldwell Esselstyn & son Rip, Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Richard Oppenlander and others, including the billionaire and his wife.
- I was hoping that the 11-24-13 meeting would result in the URGENT launch of that MASSIVE campaign. So far, it hasn’t.
- In February, I met with the daughter of a VERY well-known billionaire. My blog about him now appears on his own website at tedturner.com. (Check the Newsroom tab). There was interest there, but still not much action.
- The ONLY solution in my opinion. And until someone else comes up with a better workable plan, I am going with mine.
- Recruit one globally recognized powerful leader who “catches the vision.” With his/her help, bring in a few “caring billionaires” and begin to plan the biggest awareness campaign in history. And with the unprecedented way that the world’s most affluent two billion are connected electronically, there’s never been a better time in history to get this done.
- This campaign would be never ending and would probably cost hundreds of billions of dollars, maybe a trillion or more. It would almost certainly take tens of billions just to cover the legal fees required to defend ourselves from the large number of special interest groups that would not like what we’re doing.
- Whatever it costs is a bargain. Even if we spent two or three trillion on this campaign for the next five years, it would be a bargain. For if our civilization collapses, there is ZERO money anywhere and our planet becomes a pure hell for all remaining humans as they fight with each other for food and water. A thriving civilization collapsed on Easter Island one thousand years ago; it can happen again.
3. Invitation to Collaborate.
Danielle, people everywhere talk about taking URGENT action but none of them are attacking the single biggest problem in any kind of meaningful way. My engineering and business background tells me that what is happening today is simply not going to get the job done. That being the case, what I have outlined above is what I believe to be our only chance.
I sincerely believe that you and I can get this done! Let’s talk about it.
After posting over 800 blogs (on many food related topics) on my blog since early 2011, in the past year have I shifted my singular focus to sustainability. I explain why in this blog, posted on 1-25-14. Since then, I’ve posted another 20+ blogs on this crucial topic.
In April, I started an ongoing campaign to attract the attention of Bill & Melinda Gates. I have been posting comments on Bill’s blog and have included a link to my March 21 letter to them So far no response. In fact, their moderator has now started removing my comments.
Perhaps with your help, we can get through to the power and money needed to save our civilization. I look forward to hearing from you real soon about getting together for an initial visit.
Be well, Jim
PS: I heard back from Danielle two days later and we may be able to meet in June.
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
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD
- 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.
- What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
- A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
- Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unaware, by Richard Oppenlander.
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
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