Easier to change what we eat—than our global economy

But, ultimately, the rules of our global economy must change!

ClimateMarchNewYorkChanging what we eat may buy us the time needed to transform our running-roughshod economy into one that operates in harmony with nature. But changing what we eat will never happen in a big way until we get some powerful, mainstream leaders behind it. And that simply ain’t happening.

In the aftermath of the big Climate Convergence conference at the U.N. and the massive 300,000-person march—I didn’t hear a single mainstream person mention the need to address our food choices. NO ONE! Not the nation’s #1 climate activist, Bill McKibben, no one.

But author Naomi Klein got it right about one thing. “It’s easier to imagine turning down the temperature of the sun,” Ms. Klein said, “than changing the rules governing our economy.” But “these are the choices that we have before us, this is why climate change changes everything,” Ms. Klein said. Further, from the 9-23-14 New York Times (see link below):

In her book, Ms. Klein argues that the root cause of climate change is capitalism, emphasizing that if no profound and radical changes to the system are made, a climate catastrophe is inevitable. “The bottom line is what matters here: Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war,” Ms. Klein writes. “Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”

And right she is. For the past six months, I have been writing, speaking and blogging about the fact that the rules of our global economy must eventually change. We cannot continue to pursue unlimited consumption of STUFF in a finite world much longer—particularly when we add over 230,000 new people everyday.

We hear a lot about the “green” progress that is being made with wind and solar energy around the world. But when you look at the “big picture” trends regarding the burning of fossil fuels, the stark reality comes into focus. Yesterday, while preparing for an upcoming presentation, I found this simple chart:


No matter what progress we’ve made in renewable sources of energy, there have been no savings on the bottom line. In fact, it continues to get worse every year. That’s because while we’re adding windmills and solar panels, we’re also adding more people, consuming more stuff and more people are beginning to eat animal-based foods for the first time. The way I see it, we must find systemic fixes for four critical problems:

  1. Overpopulation and the way we live (still going up about seven million a month)
  2. Overconsumption of STUFF made from finite resources (also steadily rising)
  3. Our dependence on fossil fuels (primarily driven by the first two)
  4. We’re eating the wrong food! (for human health and the health of our ecosystem)

First the Bad News. The first three problems will take many decades, if not centuries to fix.

Leveraging the simple concept of maximizing the percent of your calories derived from whole plants

Leveraging the simple concept of maximizing the percent of your calories derived from whole plants

Now for the GOOD NEWS! Changing what we eat can be done relatively easily, quickly, and inexpensively. By replacing most of our meat, dairy, egg and fish calories with healthier, plant-based options—we address the leading cause of global warming along with almost every other environmental disaster we face.

We also promote human health worldwide and slash trillions out of the global cost of healthcare. From my “one-pager” referenced below:

As people everywhere begin to learn the whole truth about their food choices, millions will start replacing most, if not all, of their animal-based calories with healthier and “greener,” plant-based alternatives.

As we begin working on the “demand” side of the equation, markets will quickly respond, people will begin getting healthier, the cost of healthcare will plummet, water will become more plentiful, trees can be planted on the freed-up land and our fragile ecosystem will begin to heal.

Eventually, we must also deal with overpopulation, over-consumption and the excessive burning of fossil fuels—but those tasks will take many decades, if not centuries. Taking URGENT action NOW with our food choices can buy us the time we need to address them all. — J. Morris Hicks

GREEN” Economy? What does a truly “green” economy look like? How do eight or nine billion people ever learn to live “comfortably” in harmony with nature on a planet of this size? And how do we figure that out before our civilization collapses?

I’m not sure how we get all that done, but unless we significantly change our food choices in the next ten years, our civilization is probably doomed—as predicted by Stephen Emmott in TEN BILLION. FYI, (when we met in October of 2013) he agreed with my plan, but doesn’t think we’ll be able to execute it soon enough.

But I disagree. All we need is the right leadership. And we need it soon; I explain in my One-Page Recipe for Saving our Ecosystem

A Glimpse into the future—Today in Stamford, CT

Dense living with public transportation will be integral parts of the "green" economy of the future.

Dense living with public transportation will be integral parts of the “green” economy of the future.

This is my home. I took the photo above earlier this month—during one of my sunrise walks around the neighborhood. The outdoor deck of my residence and office is just above the light pole in the photo.

Living on the sixth floor in 724 square feet, I look out over the Stamford skyline and the Fairway Market, shown here. (arguably, the finest supermarket in the world.) There are currently two restaurants in my building and a new Le Pain Quotidien across the street. And my bank, dentist, package store and dry cleaners are just steps away.

My new Harbor Point neighborhood in Stamford, CT. You can see I-95 and the trains from my office.

My new Harbor Point neighborhood in Stamford, CT. You can see I-95 and the trains from my office.

In the newly developed Harbor Point neighborhood of Stamford’s south side, I have a six-minute walk to express trains to Manhattan or Boston. My annual heating bill is less than $50 and my practically new Fiat 500 (parked in the basement) is hardly ever used. Just think about the environmental economies of this way of living.

Since hearing Andres Duany speak in Atlanta in 1999, I have been a big fan of dense, mixed-use, neighborhoods with work, transportation, shopping, dining and entertainment nearby. In that speech, he led off by saying: “Congratulations Atlanta! You have one of the highest standards of living in the world. The problem is that you have a fairly low quality of life.”

My new car is also a 4Leaf-er. A "green" Fiat 500 that gets over 40 mpg.

My “green” Fiat 500 that gets over 40 mpg.

He went on to say that the average Italian office clerk enjoys a richer quality of life than the six-figure executive living in Atlanta.

After all, what good is a 3,000 square foot home in the sprawling suburbs if you have to spend three hours a day commuting and must get into your car to do almost anything? As a man who’s owned multiple homes in the past, I agree with Mr. Duany as I am now enjoying the richest overall quality of life—EVER.

How quickly can the developed world move in this direction? Not soon enough to make much of a difference. We’re going to need many decades to solve our incredibly wasteful, suburban sprawl mess—which is why we must buy some time by urgently changing what we eat NOW.

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. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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 jmorrishicks@me.com. 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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3 Responses to Easier to change what we eat—than our global economy

  1. Sal Liggieri says:


    What if you are wrong about finding that one leader, then what? In one of your blogs, you
    mentioned Ted Turner, I would venture that not 1% of the people know who he is and couldn’t care less.

    Seriously, Jim, do you think any leader can change the world? Why? I don’t think even a consortium of all the Gods can make mankind change.

    The only way change might happen: It would have to be forced on us through some catastrophic disaster putting mankind on the brink of extinction.

    And when that happens, all the wailing, all the prayers, all the heavens, all the Gods – it will be too late . . . bye, bye mankind, you screwed up . . . now the animal kingdom can rejoice.

    Sal Liggieri

    • Mitch says:


      I think you may be looking at this the wrong way. The “one” leader will not change the world. The “one” leader will be able to get people together to start a revolution. It is us, the people that can and will change the world. Hey, we’ve changed it already except it’s been for the worse. time to reverse that trend and start changing it for the better.

      So again, it’s not the one leader who will change the world, it is us, the people, that will. The leader will just help take charge of the revolution.

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