Global depletion accelerates as “Adaptation” yields profits

Some get filthy rich while hastening the demise of civilization.

For years the debate has been about whether or not climate change exists and whether not it is being caused by human activity. But now, we see the debate shifting from how to lessen, stop or reverse climate change (mitigation) to how can we save ourselves while making a lot of money off climate change?

A reviewer on Amazon writes: "Therefore our reaction is going to be shaped bottom-up by people who are thinking of personal profit rather than the global good."

A reviewer on Amazon writes: “Therefore our reaction is going to be shaped bottom-up by people who are thinking of personal profit rather than the global good.”

An article by Vox writer Brad Plumer caught my attention yesterday, Meet the companies that are trying to profit from global warming. In the article (see link below), Mr. Plumer interviews McKenzie Funk, the author of Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming. The article opens by citing a list of money making examples put forth by Mr. Funk in his book. Among them:

  1. Melting ice in Greenland opens the door for more mining, more wealth and possible independence from Denmark.
  2. Dutch engineers who’ve grown up under water are selling the idea of “floating cities” for regions of the world that might soon be underwater.
  3. The land-grab is underway as countries and investors rush to buy up farmland to feed their own population in the future.
  4. Using desalination techniques to build a new generation of snowmakers for ski resorts.

Here’s one passage that I found interesting about making money off the land and water crises. The book’s author, Mr. Funk, states:

Yeah, you see big investment banks, big hedge funds — everyone is in on the land rush. Big American banks like Goldman Sachs, Gulf state governments, Chinese state-owned corporations. They’re buying up land in Brazil, Cambodia, Laos, eastern Russia, Ukraine, in addition to the places in Africa that everyone talks about.

And it’s absolutely connected to water. The thing about water is that you can’t move it around in ships very easily. The idea that you’re going to put freshwater from Alaska into a tanker and take it to India or California — the numbers just don’t work. But you can ship food. So essentially buying up farmland abroad is a way for companies and countries to trade virtual water by moving food around the globe.

While reading, I was struck by the fact that none of these ideas do a damn thing to protect the environment. Just the opposite; they accelerate the process of global depletion while enabling a few wealthy investors to get more wealthy. Instead of sleepwalking off a cliff; it’s now as if we’re all racing toward that cliff, where all will eventually perish.

From beginning to end, their thriving civilization lasted about 1,000 years. Then it collapsed after they used up too much of their finite resources.

From beginning to end, their thriving civilization lasted about 1,000 years, then collapsed after finite resources were depleted.

Like the humans who settled lush and tropical Easter Island and built a flourishing economy that supported ten or fifteen thousand people. They made a very nice life for themselves for about a thousand years, but were using up finite resources at a much faster rate than nature could replace them.

By the time the Dutch found them on Easter Sunday in 1722, their civilization had collapsed and the few remaining Rapa Nui had resorted to cannibalism to survive.

The same thing is happening to us now. In the never ending race to maximize the consumption of more STUFF, we’re using up our land, our water, our trees, our minerals—and in the process, we’ve caused our climate to change and the rate of species extinction to surge to over 1,000 times its normal rate.

Sadly, this powerful book of truth has not been read by nearly enough people.

Sadly, this powerful book of truth has not been read by nearly enough people.

And it gets worse every day. As Stephen Emmott points out so clearly in TEN BILLION, one of our biggest problems is how we’re going to feed ourselves in the future. As our population surges and the average person eats more food, we’ll need to produce more food in the next forty years than ALL food that has been produced for the last 10,000 years—combined.

And the only way we can produce that much food is to totally destroy the remaining rainforest and/or to grow food on land in Greenland or Siberia that was once frozen. Although both of those will push us ever more rapidly toward that cliff, our insatiable greed has already started moving us in that direction.

So who or what do we blame for this mess? And how do we fix it? Over the past year, I have written and spoken frequently about the four major problems we must address:

  1. Overpopulation. Still adding almost one million every four days.
  2. Overconsumption. We eventually need a new economic model, one whose primary function is to protect our HOME, Mother Earth.
  3. Dependence on fossil fuels. We’ve made no real progress on this one, as we continue to consume MORE fossil fuels every year.
  4. Eating the wrong food. The leading cause of most of our environmental crises; yet not mentioned by the large environmental groups—because it would hurt their fundraising. Even those we trust are driven more by money than by truly saving the ecosystem that sustains us. (See

The bad news is that the first three problems will require decades, if not centuries to bring under control. Eventually, we must deal with them, but I have concluded that the ONLY way that will happen is by taking URGENT action NOW with #4—our food choices; thereby buying us the time we need to address all four of these problems.

It all boils down to harmony---all of the compelling reasons for plant-based eating.

It all boils down to harmony—we must quickly learn to live in harmony with nature.

The Bottom Line. With the conversation already shifting from “mitigation” to “adaptation” and personal gains from climate change, it will be even more difficult to stop that money-making juggernaut.

Our ONLY chance is to change what we eat. The good news is that, compared to the first three, that task can be done relatively quickly, easily and inexpensively. But we need powerful leadership who will stand up to the special interests and begin telling people everywhere the complete truth about our food choices—for our health, for our ecosystem and for the longterm survival of our species.

Grassroots change? While grassroots change is great, it’s simply a case of too little, too late this time. We urgently need a MASSIVE, privately-funded, global awareness campaign with a definite plan for repeatedly reaching the most affluent two billion people in the world—those who are eating most of the animal-based foods. That campaign may cost 100 billion dollars or more, but so what?

What good is a pile of money if there is no food, no water and no civilization? Is making money really more important than the livelihood of your grandchildren? — J. Morris Hicks

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.
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