SOS #44    J. Morris Hicks    (2-11-20)  
A very "delicate" subject for millions 
What to do about our pets in a totally GREEN world

But before I begin to address that "delicate" subject, I want to share a question that I received from a reader in North Carolina regarding my SOS Memo last week on the topic of recycling. She wrote:

I n all of this, did you see anything on what's actually working with recycling, and what's not? I've been told I'm stupid for recycling because the stuff ends up in the landfill anyway. I still do it, but the source is reputable and I fear right. S houldn't that be addressed too? 
Wishing you all the best.

My response:    Hello and thanks for your question. I believe that we should all continue to recycle to the best of our ability but we must understand that recycling alone is not going to solve our global sustainability issues. Even worse - pursuing "excellence" in recycling can lead to complacency, which  would make  us even less likely to address the elephant in the room - a global economy that depends on maximizing the consumption of stuff in a world of finite resources.

My primary purpose in my weekly SOS Memos, and in the book that I am now writing, is to help spark the conversation around the world regarding the need to totally reinvent almost every aspect of the way we live on this planet. Sadly, that conversation has not yet begun as we all continue living in a manner that will not be acceptable to Mother Nature for much longer. Thanks again and be well, Jim

Now, for that Delicate Subject: In last week's memo, I made a statement about living totally green in the GBN Corridor of the future.  To put it simply, I stated: 

Living green in the GBN will be effortless because all lifestyle choices will be built into a sustainable system - in a marvelous place where only green options exist.

Unfortunately, "owning" living pets of any kind will not be one of those green options - perhaps a fate worse than death for some people and, for that reason, I am pretty sure that those folks will not be among the first few million people who choose to move to the GBN.

Please read the content of the following slide carefully, then tell me how we can justify continuing to allow the "owning" and feeding hundreds of millions of pets in a society that could be teetering on the brink of extinction within a few more decades. 

So what next? Erring on the side of living even greener than Mother Nature demands, as suggested on the above slide, means that some things (or creatures) that we love dearly simply cannot be included in the master plan going forward for various reasons. 

Since success is not guaranteed in our quest to live in complete harmony with nature, we simply mustn't shy away from obvious non-starters like pet ownership. 

Let's take a look at the staggering numbers in just the USA:
  • The total pet population in the USA is 393 million.
  • Pet owners in the USA spent $69 Billion on pet products, including food, in the year 2017.
  • Most of the eleven million tons of dog waste, along with its one-use plastic disposal bags in the USA, goes to landfills and the rest is left on the ground. 
What does eleven million tons look like? How many half-ton pick-up trucks would it take to haul it away? 

Twenty-Two Million Trucks in just the USA 

And that's not counting any of the waste from all of the other pet categories like cats, turtles, birds, pigs, rabbits, fish, pigs, ferrets, lizards, hamsters, horses, goats, sheep, iguanas, and so forth.

If we include all the pets in all of the countries of the world, we're probably looking at more than a hundred million tons/year of waste - a vast amount that would require two hundred million half-ton pick-ups to haul away.

Full disclosure. I grew up with a dad who absolutely loved animals of all kinds. During my childhood years in the delta region of Mississippi, in addition to our food animals like pigs, dairy cows and egg-laying hens, we also had lots of pets over the years: dogs, cats, rabbits and horses. We even had a pet donkey for awhile. My sister and I named him Stubby because he was so stubborn, we could hardly get him to move. 
So, I get it about pets, but as you can clearly see from the numbers above, there is no way that billions of pet animals can be a part of a truly comprehensive global effort to live as greenly as we possibly can. Like I keep saying, we're only going to get one chance to get this right. Mother Nature will not give us a do-over.

So what do we do?  After carefully thinking through the realities of pet ownership when it comes to the ultimate target of living totally in harmony with nature - most people will understand the right thing to do about this extremely "delicate" subject. 

Here's the way I imagine that this situation will probably be resolved over time in a very humane manner:
  1. Many people who're not willing to give up their pets won't be in the first wave of applicants wishing to move into the fabulous new GBN.
  2. Many pet-lovers will fully grasp the ethical argument and will decide to move to the GBN only after their current, and last pet, dies a natural death. 
  3. Some may decide to give their pets to family or friends if they wish to move to the GBN during the early years of its existence.
  4. Some will decide to never move to the GBN because of the no-pet policy. I am sure that there are millions of Americans who'd rather die than give up their pets.
  5. But most will eventually accept the fact that our pets did not evolve naturally to their current states of existence. They were our own creations for our own pleasure and should be allowed to slowly and painlessly fade away with dignity.
Now that we have covered that very delicate topic let's tackle one other feature of our current lifestyles that will not exist in the Great Big Northern. 

The Ubiquitous Self-Storage Industry. Did you know that there are over three times as many of these storage facilities in the USA as there are McDonald's? We now have over 50,000 of these facilities.

Here is a slide from my talks where I base this question on Dr. James Lovelock's definition of sustainable living. If the Earth does NOT improve because of our presence, he says that we will die off. Ask yourself:

Does the Earth improve because of our never-ending retention and storage of excess, and mostly worthless, stuff? 

This is not the way we'll spend our weekends in the GBN

Capitalism is not our friend. Back to the recycling topic from last week, one of the elephants in the room is the mountain of stuff we all buy, throw away or keep forever. In our governance and economic models of the future, we must develop an overall "system" that rewards all humans for consuming less  - a process that is far above my pay grade. I call it Earthism: 

A form of  global commerce and governance that depends on a single  guiding  principle for the entire planet: our supreme need to significantly improve our relationship with the natural ecosystem that gives us life - a process that must continue in perpetuity.  

So how is Earthism going to work? For that, I turn to my  friend, Stuart Scott, the founder and executive director of - and is knowledgeable on the topic of global economics. He is now writing a chapter for our upcoming book on that subject. After graduating in 1969 from Columbia University, where he majored in math and computer science, he began his career on Wall Street where he became intimately versed in what he calls "the sham" that the world's investment community represents. 

Stuart tells me that this experience was his eye-opener to the world of money, banking and finance that became a fundamental building block in his world view of economics. His bio referenced earlier begins with this picture of him meeting Greta Thunberg for the first time outside the Swedish Parliament in October of 2018, just before he introduced her to the world stage at the COP24 in Poland, also shown below.

Stuart met Greta in Sweden and invited her to COP24

Having recently returned from COP25 in Madrid, Stuart just posted a video from that conference wherein he spoke candidly about America's globally pathetic role in battling climate change. He calls that 25-minute video Rollbacks.

If you'd like to reach out to Stuart and thank him for introducing Greta to the world, I know he would appreciate it:

Global Conversation Needed. Before we can figure out what kind of economy will best suit our needs in the future, we've got to spark a much-needed global conversation about the absolute necessity of reinventing just about every aspect of the way we live. 

And when we finally get that done, I am confident that our new way of living will end up being a virtual paradise on Earth, as Dr. E.O. predicts is possible.

The Bottom Line. So what's it going to take to spark that global conversation? I have mentioned a  Gang of Ten American Billionaires in several of my earlier SOS Memos. You can scroll through all of those memos  on this page

You also may want to refer your friends and family to that same page, where they might see something that helps to spark their interest, enthusiasm and action. In conclusion,  I choose to believe that we can turn the climate change monster into a lifeline of sorts for moving urgently toward a sustainable civilization.

In closing, I believe that if we can get this process started here in the USA, that the rest of the world will follow. That said, we should welcome environmentally-conscious leaders from other countries to join us in the design process.

Click for the latest on our 2020 book, OUTCRY

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks

PS: You may be wondering how you can help promote the never-ending search for a way to save our species. You can get me in front of some audiences who you think might be ready to hear about the long-overdue, global "conversation" about our survival.
You can join my mailing list and/or find all of my previous postings by visiting the SOS Memos page on my website Here are a few of them:

As always, I am just trying to spark a global conversation about what is needed. By sharing a vision of what I believe is possible, I hope to influence others to think bigger, better and bolder.   


As for speaking, I continue to search for mainstream audiences who may have an interest in learning more about a realistically hopeful vision for our future - and their role in making that vision come true.

As such, I will travel anywhere for an opportunity to speak to one or more groups in each city that I visit. I will create a custom presentation for each audience and I only ask for travel expense reimbursement and a modest honorarium.

In the months ahead, I will continue to focus on the urgent need for a totally reinvented greening of our civilization - beginning with a model in the USA that could be applied globally over the next fifty years. 

Upcoming talks : There are lots of open dates on my calendar as my next scheduled talk is  at Camp Plant-Stock in Black Mountain, NC, in August.

As for the specifics of my topic, I invite you to  contact me directly  about how I might tailor my presentation to best suit an audience you may have in mind: 

Universities,  churches,  think-tanks, legislative bodies, environmental  organizations, alumni associations, leadership clubs, PTA's  and/or civic groups who may appreciate a message of reality and hope for our future. 

Please let me hear from you directly regarding any ideas or questions you may have.

What else can you do to help? Three things:

1. Live as greenly as possible while doing all that you can to raise the awareness of "big picture" solutions that are crucially necessary for saving our civilization.

2. Share this BSB and my  "Mama Ain't Happy" BSB with prominent journalists, thought leaders and/or elected officials whom you respect. They need to learn a lot more about the many reasons why  Mama ain't happy.

3. Here are a few more GRATOLA-related blogs that you can share with your most powerful friends, leaders, journalists and movie producers.

Click here for links  to all blogs and SOS Memos since 2016

Until next time, just remember...

Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.

This SOS Memo series was created by:

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks 
CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC

I welcome your feedback and/or questions at:

In the past two years, I have spoken at a  VegFest in
Fort Myers, at  in Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, the   College of the Holy Cross  in Worcester, MA, a  Plant Powered Manhattan  event in New York, at a lakeside health conference in  South Haven, Michigan, in Buffalo, NY, at the University of Scranton, at Dr.  Fuhrman's  Golden Gate Health Getaway  in California and at the Healthy World Sedona Health and Sustainability Conference in AZ.

To schedule a presentation at a venue near you, please contact me at

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Moonglow J. Morris Hicks

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