Racing past environmental “tipping points” in 2015

That’s what appears to be happening per latest scientific study.

Planetary BoundariesA new scientific paper published this week triggered alarming headlines around the world. But, as always, these alarming stories describing critical emergencies do not include any clarity whatsoever about what must be done to save our civilization. From the Washington Post article:

At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world.

The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries.” They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.

Washington PostA few of the headlines from around the world:

  1. Washington Post article. Scientists: Human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine “planetary boundaries”
  2. Chart of boundaries. Planetary boundaries: Gauging the limits (Washington Post)
  3. Scripps Institution of OceanographyEarth Has Crossed Several ‘Planetary Boundaries,’ Thresholds of Human Induced Environmentaal Changes
  4. Reuters. Humans push planet beyond boundaries towards “danger zone”
  5. Daily Science Journal. Humans Crossed Four Planetary Boundaries, Study Says
  6. Humans needs to change course to stay within planetary boundaries
  7. New Zealand HeraldEarth pushing ‘planetary boundaries’
  8. Business GreenWorld in ‘danger zone’ as four planetary boundaries crossed
  9. The RegisterFERTILISER DOOM warning! ‘Planetary boundary’ breaches to END CIVILIZATION
J. Morris Hicks, always trying to focus on the big picture.

J. Morris Hicks, always trying to focus on the big picture.

Since no CLARITY regarding the solution was provided in any of the articles above, I will provide some here. The simple answer is that we MUST learn to live in harmony with nature, yet we continue to get further away every year. I recently described our dilemma with this mental image:

Imagine an enormous freight train, loaded with all 7.2 billion of the world’s humans, adding another million passengers every four days and racing like a rocket toward a gigantic rock wall at 100 mph—constantly gaining more speed. What I am describing is an URGENT situation; one that requires URGENT action.

We have four primary issues that must be addressed for us to live in harmony with nature: overpopulation, overconsumption, dependence on fossil fuels and our harmful and wasteful typical western diet with some combination of meat, dairy, eggs and/or fish three meals a day.

The urgency is driven by the fact that we simply don’t have the necessary time to address the first three. They will take many decades (if not centuries) to resolve and we may be down to just a few years as the experts agree that we’re rapidly approaching or passing certain tipping points, beyond which there is no possibility of avoiding the worst effects of crossing all these planetary boundaries.

Stephen Emmott's book will help the pope understand the unprecedented planetary emergency we face.

Emmott’s book is a great one-hour read describing the horrifying dilemma we’re in.

That leaves our harmful, wasteful and unsustainable diet. That’s the only one of the four issues that can be addressed quickly. But we haven’t even started. Consider this little factoid from my friend in the UK:

Simply to feed ourselves for the next forty years, we will need to produce more food than the entire agricultural output of the past 10,000 years combined. — Stephen Emmott, “TEN BILLION”

The Bottom Line. There is no possible way that we can learn to live in harmony with nature without radically changing what we’re eating—ultimately taking the animal out of the equation. Not only are plant-based foods far healthier for us than animal foods—on a per calorie basis, they also require about 1/10th as much land, water and energy. Here’s my conclusion and appeal for world leaders to step up and help prevent the greatest mass extinction in the past 65 million years:

Things that we value most—family, health, freedom, happiness, friends, peace and wealth—do not exist without sustainability. In other words, if we don’t quickly learn how to live in harmony with nature, life will be nothing more than a hell on Earth for those few of us who survive. — J. Morris Hicks

A few of my earlier blogs on this crucial topic. Check out the cartoons in #7.

  1. NOTHING is more Important than Sustainability! By comparison, all else shrinks to insignificance. 1-25-14.
  2. Tearing down the single biggest roadblock to sustainability My “locked brains” article. 10-23-14.
  3. Food Choices. The primary cause of global warming? Dedicated to the memory of the great climate specialist Dr. Robert Goodland. 2-4-14.
  4. Cancer. Heart disease. Global warming. Water scarcity. Warning, this one may make you angry. 2-6-14.
  5. Were humans the “infestation” of Easter Island? I believe that they were and think that you will agree. Contains two great videos, 1-minute and 7-minutes. 8-9-13
  6. “Living in Harmony with Nature” by Ted Turner. Perhaps the world’s last chance to save us all from the horrors of global warming. 2-26-14.
  7. “Not-so-funny” cartoon series. Saving our ecosystem. There is no FUN way to describe what we’re doing to our planet. This is VERY serious stuff. 3-3-14.
  8. Now that I am officially an activist…This post features my Bill & Melinda letter and was inspired by someone telling me to “persevere.” 4-9-14.
  9. They say that Nero fiddled while Rome burned…Most humans think that life has never been better on this planet. Reminds me of Easter Island. 4-19-14.

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. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at

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 Program 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, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Sustainability and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Racing past environmental “tipping points” in 2015

  1. Sal Liggieri says:


    Of all these supposed leaders that you have mentioned or dealt with, how many of them don’t eat animals or dairy products?

    The Pope, a man of the cloth, – does he eat animals? Most of the Catholic Hierarchy that I know of are either fat or obese. Even Cardinal Dolan of New York is obese.

    These men speak of peace, compassion, and good will to all and yet they accept the brutality inflicted on the animals they eat.

    Sal Liggieri

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s