And I explained why in a letter to his daughter on Tuesday.
As an executive recruiter since 1999, I have been operating in what I like to call The Leadership Business. The first step of any assignment is studying and understanding the executive role that’s needed, then determining the type of leadership required, followed by identifying “candidates” who exhibit that kind of leadership and finally—recruiting the best possible candidate for the role at hand.
When it comes to saving our ecosystem and our civilization, there is no better candidate on the planet than Ted Turner. And once he fully understands the magnitude of what’s at stake, he will know what to do. And I would cherish the opportunity to help him do it.
Maybe he would put me in charge of recruiting many more great leaders for his team.
Here’s my letter:
June 17, 2014
As you may know, I have begun focusing on the sustainability of our civilization. Central to all of my writing is the emphasis on the importance of having at least “one powerful leader with the resources of a few caring billionaires.” With that combination, I believe that almost anything can happen.
As Ted stated in the video of his talk with the Stanford MBA students, “We’ve got to start living in harmony with nature.” In my work, I have summarized the four “things” we must do in order to bring us back to “harmony” before it’s too late:
- Get overpopulation under control (one of Ted’s big topics)
- End the era of maximizing consumption in a finite world (Stephen Emmott)
- Switch our energy model to renewables (Bill McKibben)
- Change the way we eat. (Robert Goodland, Richard Oppenlander & J. Morris Hicks)
Without a doubt, we need to do all four. The bad news is that the first three will each take many decades, if not centuries to accomplish—and we don’t have that much time. Captain Cousteau told your father that many years ago, after concluding that humanity was doomed.
Ted disagreed and so do I—but for different reasons.
The good news is that changing the way we eat can happen very quickly. Any person who chooses to replace many (or all) of his/her meat, dairy, egg and fish (MDEF) calories with plant-based alternatives can make that change overnight. And if enough people make that change soon enough, we can buy us enough time to work on the other three. How so?
On average, MDEF calories require over ten times as much land, water and energy as do plant-based calories. The positive impact of a rapid shift in the direction of plant-based is staggering: reducing soil erosion and deforestation, slashing the #1 user of water, cutting out up to 30% of the world’s consumption of fossil fuels and greatly reducing the #1 cause of global warming.
All we need is one powerful leader and a few caring billionaires. Like everything else, it all starts with leadership. Here is my short list of the five most influential leaders in the world—all of whom could make a huge difference if they “caught the vision.” In no particular order, here are my top 5:
- Pope Francis (there are 1.2 billion Catholics)
- Reverend Joel Osteen of Houston (the face of Christianity with a HUGE audience)
- Bill Gates (world’s wealthiest human and largest philanthropist)
- Barack Obama (president of the world’s most powerful country)
- Ted Turner (known around the world for his courage, integrity & generosity)
If I could choose just one leader from the above list, it would be Ted. I have concluded that your father has the best overall combination of the following attributes:
- Integrity (driven to do “what’s right,” despite the consequences)
- Audacity (means extraordinary boldness, courage or chutzpah. Wikipedia)
As of today, none of these five leaders have a complete “big picture” understanding of the dilemma in which we find ourselves. Some have more than others, but none understand the complete magnitude of what’s at stake.
But, Ted, more than any of the other leaders, has that total “it” factor that will be needed to lead a HUGE campaign of influencing billions of people to change what they’re eating. And I believe that when he fully understands the complete magnitude of what’s at stake, that he will know the right thing to do.
But what about his Montana Grill, you might ask? Like I said, once he understands the complete magnitude of what our food choices are doing to our ecosystem, he will know what to do with his Montana Grill. And knowing Ted, he will figure out a way to turn it into a positive and what a powerful PR event it will be when he does. I can just hear Charlie Rose talking about what the amazing Ted Turner has done to the menu at his Montana Grill.
I think it’s time for us to meet again. You name the date. Almost anytime in Atlanta or New York will work for me. Oh, by the way, as Winton Churchill advised, “I will never give up.”
Finally, please take two minutes to watch this latest trailer of Cowspiracy (provided below). Then watch it with you dad. I know some of the people behind the scenes and can arrange for Ted to meet them if he would like.
In the full length movie, Michael Pollan is asked why the big environmental groups of the world are ignoring the #1 cause of most of our environmental problems? He responds,
Well they probably focus-grouped it and concluded that it was a political loser to be identified as anti-meat and that, being membership organizations, it would hurt their fundraising.
I can just imagine what Ted would say to all the CEOs of Sierra Club, Greenpeace, etc.—as they hide the brutal truth from the innocent public while paying themselves handsome salaries, drawn from public donations aimed at protecting our planet. I for one, would stand and cheer the man of great integrity—as he called them all out on international television.
After doing that, Ted may then schedule a one-on-one with each of the other four people on my list. Then he might want to meet with people like Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook, who I wrote about yesterday. Ted could make a HUGE difference in a very short period of time.
Be well, Jim — J. Morris Hicks
writer. speaker. activist. board member T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
I write a great deal about leadership. What does “leadership” mean to you? What’s the difference between leaders and managers? This list may help you understand why the world needs genuine leaders like Ted Turner instead of career politicians like Al Gore.
- Managers concentrate on strategy — Leaders nurture culture
- Managers wield authority — Leaders apply influence
- Managers consider dangers — Leaders seek opportunity
- Managers seek markets — Leaders serve people
- Managers control people – Leaders empower people
- Managers employ consistency — Leaders elicit creativity
- Managers see complexity — Leaders see simplicity
- Managers refine — Leaders revolutionize
- Managers are skeptical — Leaders are optimistic
- Managers perform duties — Leaders pursue dreams
- Like Ted, Tim Cook also has integrity. Posted 6-16-14. What does “doing what’s right” mean to Apple’s Tim Cook?
- Leaders. Billionaires. The future of our civilization.
- Infestation, civilization, problems, predicaments & leadership
- Just ONE powerful leader and a few caring billionaires
- “Living in Harmony with Nature” by Ted Turner
- NOTHING is more important than SUSTAINABILITY!
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.
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: