The Most Important Topic in the History of Humanity

The title of my presentation on 5-6-16 at the College of the Holy Cross

Slide01Special handout. At my request, two days prior to my presentation, the students were given the following 4-page document about climate change. The professor sent me a summary of their questions prior to my presentation on May 6. Click here to view that 4-pager.

My presentation in the classroom began by asking those college students five questions:

  1. Do you care about your health, your weight and the way you look and feel?
  2. Do you like saving money on things that you buy?
  3. Do you care about the environment, biodiversity and sustainability?
  4. Do you believe that climate change is primarily driven by human activity?
  5. Do you care about the future of civilization and our future as a species?

Building on Common Ground. After getting a 100% unanimous response to those five questions, for the next twenty minutes, I proceeded to build on that agreement in a way that would help my audience become healthier, save money, add more meaning to their lives and become far better stewards of the planet.Slide04

So during the time remaining, I made it clear why my talk lived up to it’s title; explaining that our food choices are without a doubt the most important topic in the history of humanity–because our future as a species is riding on those choices.

By shortening the formal part of my presentation to twenty minutes, there was lots of time remaining for Q & A and discussion. To get the ball rolling in the Q & A period, I asked them for their opinion regarding my title. Not a single one disagreed, although some of their questions signaled that they weren’t ready to do all that I was advocating. But I do believe that my talk will make a difference for the better in many of their lives. The main part of my presentation included these twenty-two questions:

(Click here to view a pdf of all PPT slides in presentation)

  1. Did you know that, on a per calorie basis, on average, foods made from animals require over ten times as much land, water and energy as do plant-based foods? Consider the implications here in terms of world hunger, water shortage and energy consumption.Slide05
  2. Did you know that it requires about two football fields worth of land to feed just ONE person the S.A.D.?
  3. Did you know that there are only 6 billion football fields of arable land on Earth? So if everyone tried to eat the SAD,  we could only feed 3 billion people–and the other 4 billion would starve to death.
  4. Did you know that FOURTEEN plant-eating people could be fed on those two football fields worth of land? Or we could feed all seven billion of us with just one billion football field, freeing up five billion football fields worth of land for reforestation–almost seven billion acres, an area about the size of the USA lower 48 and China, COMBINED.
  5. Did you know that you don’t need to eat ANY animal protein to be healthy?
  6. Did you know that you can get all the protein (and all other nutrients except B12 and vitamin D) from plant-based foods?
  7. Did you know that you can save up to $5,000/person each year, by replacing most of your animal-based food with plant-based food?Slide09
  8. Did you know that there are now many meat and dairy analog products that are high in protein, cost less money and deliver a taste and texture that most people can’t tell the difference from the environmentally hazardous animal foods that they replace.
  9. Did you know that we have been destroying an average of 30 million acres of rainforest every year since 1970? (THE LUNGS OF THE EARTH)
  10. Did you know that 80% of global deforestation is for the grazing of livestock or to grow feed for livestock?
  11. Did you know that deforestation carries a double whammy when it comes to climate change? Virgin rainforest absorbs VAST amounts of CO2. Destroying that forest eliminates that absorption, while releasing enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere as the forest is burned.
  12. Did you know livestock contributes significantly more to climate change than ALL of the cars, trucks, busses, airplanes, trains and ships in the world?Slide12
  13. Did you know that scientists agree that the tipping point for climate change will happen between 2017 and 2020—if it hasn’t already happened?
  14. Did you know that replacing most of our animal foods with plant-based foods is the ONLY pragmatic way remaining for reversing climate change? What about replacing fossil fuels with renewables, you might ask?
  15. Did you know that it would take at least twenty years and $18 trillion to replace fossil fuels with renewables? Fact: we don’t have the twenty years or the $18 trillion and the process today is nowhere near the pace we’d need.
  16. Did you know that half of the world’s population depends on water in fossil underground aquifers (that cannot be recharged)
  17. Did you know that we can learn to live without oil, coal and natural gas—but we cannot live for more than a few days without water?
  18. Did you know that we’re also approaching tipping points in our oceans (THE HEART AND ARTERIES OF THE EARTH)Slide15
  19. Did you know that the coral reefs are disappearing around the world and that they may ALL be completely gone by 2050?
  20. In addition did you know that our oceans are suffering from acidification, warming, dead zones and rapidly declining biodiversity?
  21. Did you know that most of the problems in our oceans are driven by our animal food choices, including fish and shrimp? Little known fact: for every pound of shrimp harvested from the oceans, there are 26 pounds of by-catch: marine life like dolphin and starfish that are killed and discarded in the process.
  22. Did you know that our food choices are the ONLY primary drivers of all these issues that can be changed quickly? Anyone who chooses to switch to a 100% plant-based diet, can literally do it overnight if he/she chooses.


Reaction from the class. At the end of my presentation, there were lots of questions and an enthusiastic discussion–and not a single student disagreed about our 21st century food choices being the most important topic in the history of humanity.

Finally, Dr. Axelson made my day when he forwarded me some unsolicited feedback from one of the students:

Hi Professor Axelson, 

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Jim Hicks’s presentation today and that I thought it was really inspiring to see a man with such compassion. He seems like an awesome guy to know. After class, I immediately called my father and told him I am coming home with a power point in efforts of transitioning our family to a WFPBD and to show them “the big picture.” Again, I just wanted to voice that I really appreciated that Jim took his time to come in today, and that this was an awesome class today!


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

—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 The Most Important Topic in the History of Humanity

  1. Jean says:

    Fantastic presentation – thanks for sharing!!

  2. Carolyn Hogg says:

    Thank you, Jim. What a fabulous presentation which clearly took much time to prepare! Hopefully you will be able to present this at other colleges and universities. You clearly inspired the young man who wrote to the professor after the class, and I’m sure many others. Thanks again for all you do, and for sharing it with us.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for including links to your handout and your Power Point!

    Beth Perera Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition (802) 342-2946

    🍐 Nutrition and cooking classes: Certified Food For Life instructor Certified Food Over Medicine instructor Certified Starch Solution instructor Certified Women’s Health instructor


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