Tackling the most urgent problem in the world in 2016

And how you can help

This morning, I received a picture of my oldest grandson, Collin Jason Hicks (14), shown here on a downhill ski run at Burke Mountain (Vermont) last weekend. As is the case with all of my seven grandchildren, I often think about what kind of life they will lead in the year 2100. Sadly, unless some capable world-changing leaders step forward soon, their world at the dawn of the next century may not be very hospitable to humans. Collin will turn 99 that year and his baby brother Lucas Jason Hicks (4 months) will turn 85.

Colin at Burke 2016

Tackling that urgent problem. First, let’s take a look at the big picture when it comes to the most important topic in the history of humankind: the health of our fragile ecosystem that supports our civilization and the sustainability of the human species. Although there has been some progress in parts of the world, the total global numbers for human behavior that damages our ecosystem continues to skyrocket. Here is my top ten list:


  1. Global population now stands at 7.4 billion as of today. We have added over four billion people since I was Collin’s age and we continue to add almost one million people every four days.
  2. Global consumption of fossil fuels has never been higher. (See chart, notice the three categories of fossil fuels still surging ahead of all the renewables.)
  3. In a world of finite natural resources, global consumption of STUFF (made from those resources) has never been higher.
  4. The global CO2 level in our atmosphere has never been higher, having passed the 400 ppm level in March of 2015 for the first time. Fossil fuels just pushed CO2 levels to a 3 million year high.
  5. Global annual automobile production has never been higher and  is expected to top 100 million in 2016. There were 100 million cars on the world’s roads in 1960. In 2010, we passed the one billion mark. We have 1.2 billion on the road today and are expected to hit 2 billion by 2035.
  6. Global airline passenger miles flown continues to skyrocket–from 62 billion in 1960 to  620 billion in 1980 and now over 4 trillion since 2010. (Reported by Dr. Stephen Emmott in TEN BILLION)
  7. The rate of species extinction is now running at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate. (Reported by the Center for Biological Diversity)
  8. Water scarcity has never been higher as we continue to deplete the underground aquifers that fuel the breadbaskets for over half the world’s population.
  9. Over half of our world’s rainforests have been destroyed, primarily for raising animals for us to eat. Experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be destroyed by 2056.
  10. Global consumption of animal protein from meat, dairy, eggs and fish has never been higher, quadrupling from 1961 to 2012 (See chart below). Although meat consumption is trending downward in some countries, the global total continues to soar.
Despite a trend away from meat in a few countries, the global consumption is still surging.

This chart is only meat, although consumption of dairy and eggs is also soaring. As for fish, the situation is far worse as it has increased almost 8-fold since 1950. See chart below. FYI, aquaculture is no bargain for the environment either, maybe even worse.


The Bottom Line. The ONLY pragmatic way out of this mess described above is a rapid shift away from animal-based foods by humans. That’s because it’s the ONLY major driver of our most urgent environmental problems that can be quickly reduced or even completely eliminated.

In contrast, even if EVERY scientist and engineer in the world went to work on reducing fossil fuel consumption, they would likely not even make a dent in the steadily rising total–particularly as population continues to grow at over 1.5 million a week. How quickly can “eating animals” be eliminated? Quite simply, the velocity of change is directly related to the quality and quantity of the leadership devoted to the cause. If Barack Obama and Bill Gates both made it their #1 priority, our love affair with eating dead animals could be completely over in less than ten years.

Hillary and DonaldWhat would Hillary, Trump, Cruz or Bernie do about all of the above? Sadly, none of our global leaders or presidential candidates are taking this big, ugly picture seriously. It seems to be a case of business as usual for the entire globe, with every nation just trying to secure enough food, water and energy to support its people–in the near term. None of them realize the supreme importance of living in harmony with nature–a deadly lesson learned by the Rapa Nui on Easter Island about 500 years ago.

I should add that, in fairness to our nation’s political leaders, they could never get elected if they advocated a plant-based diet. Fortunately, Obama and Gates never have to worry about getting elected.

My game plan for 2016. Here’s how you can help.

In 2016 and beyond, for as long as I may live, I plan to do all that I can to wake up the world’s most prominent leaders before it’s too late. My primary focus is on the ONLY pragmatic solution mentioned above. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Find me some audiences where I can share my big-picture view. As it states on my website speaking page, “Many authors speak about promoting health, a handful speak about the environmental impacts of our diet and even fewer speak about a workable solution to our current environmental dilemma that threatens our very existence as a species. J. Morris Hicks may very well be the ONLY author in the world who speaks passionately about all three.” Please take a look at my newly updated Public Speaking page. It may give you some ideas about what kinds of audiences need to hear my message of promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.
  2. Introduce me to some business executives who’re interested in slashing their cost of healthcare by 50% or more. The name of the game is profitability improvement when it comes to business. By investing in the health of the workforce and their families, the pioneering organizations will reap extraordinary rewards. Eventually, those companies who don’t promote health (with food-based wellness initiatives) will no longer be able to compete with those who do.
  3. AZ jpg Book AdHelp save lives and promote sustainability by giving our book to people you care about. If you wish to re-sell our book (shown here), contact me directly for a special discount code that you can use when you purchase from Amazon. Email me: jmh@4leafglobal.com
  4. Try to get me a meeting (in person or via telephone) with the most influential person that you know. He or she may not be able to change the world, but they might be able to influence someone who can. Just give me a chance to do my best to enlighten them.

The following six books 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. 4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health, powerful new book by Kerry Graff, MD and yours truly
  2. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (my first book)
  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. Primary cause of cancer is not bad luck. Stop Feeding Your Cancer, by John Kelly, MD
  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 you are eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes about two minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course.

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 website, which is now being used by an ever-growing army of enlightened medical doctors who are fed up with “disease care” and want to promote true health for their patients.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmh@4leafglobal.com

—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, Sustainability and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tackling the most urgent problem in the world in 2016

  1. Jim – have you paid attention to Leonardo DiCaprio re “saving the planet”
    – in Jan. 10 PARADE Magazine?
    Leonardo DiCaprio: Man of the World
    Leonardo DiCaprio is in Miami, preparing to leave for Paris to film interviews for his new documentary about the environment. These days the world-famous actor devotes much of his time and money to saving the planet, and this passion, along…

  2. Leo M. Schwaiger says:

    Dr. Michael Greger’s book “Hot Not to Die” a new best seller may be what your looking for when it comes to plant-based diet for our species. It has 140 pages of references. He talks about 15 diseases and how we might prevent them by our food choices. A book which everyone should read so they have a better under standing of how their body functions.

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