I will get to those billionaires shortly, but first a dose of environmental reality during this holiday season. Three things:
Regarding climate change, the
COP25 ended with a thud
last week, reinforcing the urgency for sparking the global "conversation" that I keep promoting. I am talking about humanity's need to take a "big picture" look at exactly how we must live in order to have a ghost of a chance of surviving past 2100.
a recent article
New York Times
about the monumental task of replacing the electric grid in the United States. Not that it doesn't need replacing - but moving forward with such a task before carefully re-thinking and re-inventing how we're going to be living in 2050 seems like a totally irresponsible move to me.
Three. The disturbing
four-minute video below was posted on 10-3-19 and has only been seen 3500 times. It is a compelling monolog by David Wallace-Wells on the speed of climate change. A
The Uninhabitable Earth,
in this short video he describes the runaway freight-train type of situation we have today with climate change - beginning with this troubling factoid that you've probably heard:
Half of all the emissions that we have produced in the entire history of humanity from the burning of fossil fuels have come in the last 30 years.
And what that means, is that we've done all of that damage, half the damage that we've ever done, knowingly.
(Knowing that what we were doing was wrong)
Stoking the fire of urgency in under five minutes
Considering the acceleration of climate change, I propose that we NOT busy ourselves with the daunting task of replacing that entire electric grid in the United States until we answer a few questions:
- When will we accept the simple 3rd-grade arithmetic fact that we must replace our "grow or die" economy that depends on an expanding population to drive steadily increasing levels of consumption of stuff in a world of finite resources?
- Are we ever going to get serious about completely re-inventing and replacing the most wasteful and harmful civilization in the history of the world?
- What will our future civilization look like and what will be its energy needs fifty years from now?
Those are tough questions, and without answers, it would be foolish to start rebuilding a nationwide power grid without knowing where and how people will be living in 2070, what they will be eating, what kind of transportation systems they will be using and whether they will STILL be consuming STUFF at a grossly unsustainable rate.
In short, we must have a plan.
Let's begin with just the USA. My vision, which I readily admit is nothing more than a fantasy at this point, is that more than 300 million Americans could live in one, 25-mile wide, living corridor running about 3,000 miles from Seattle to Boston.
I have dubbed that envisioned, ultra-green human habitat the
Great Big Northern
, or the GBN for short - and it could easily house all of us in an area about the size of Oregon. I liken it to 3000-mile-long city featuring housing density 70% less then Manhattan.
American Green Region Authority would oversee the GBN (Great Big Northern)
Here are a few pieces of that vision that would drastically lower the amount of power we would need - whether it be from fossil fuel, wind or solar.
- With a 3,000-mile, multi-tube, HperLoop system, we would eliminate the need for over 80% of all motor vehicle and domestic airline travel - and that would be just the beginning of the massive cuts we would be making to our aggregate carbon footprint, enough that our final product just might be acceptable to Mother Nature.
- The best minds in the world, coupled with the power of artificial intelligence, would be charged with making the world's first totally green habitat for humans a reality. Here's a link to the first piece that I wrote about that vision on 9-21-18. It was entitled: Creative Idea for Saving Our Civilization. It has evolved a bit since then but the concept is still the same.
Why do I think it should start in the USA?
Because I seriously doubt that the leaders of 195 countries, 4,000 religions and thousands of think-tanks, universities and economists will
agree enough to accomplish anything of lasting value when it comes to planning how people will live sustainably on this planet in 2050 and beyond.
That's why I have concluded that our best chance is for the USA to take the lead and get things rolling here in America. We should develop the prototype of a sustainable civilization here in the USA - a "model" that the other nations could modify to suit their own circumstances.
Design and build it here...and they will follow.
As our "big picture" plan takes shape, we'll share it with the world - while we are developing our multi-trillion dollar implementation plan. Do you question why we should URGENTLY begin this project now? Go back to Wallace-Wells' four-minute video near the beginning of this memo.
How do we get the ball rolling? That's where those ten billionaires come in. This entire concept could begin with a highly publicized "conversation" among a small group of well-known, widely respected, highly influential American billionaires.
In imagining the dream-team of well-known billionaires who collectively have the knowledge, skills, experience and brainpower to tackle almost any imaginable project, I return to the same group that I wrote about earlier this year.
As I was imagining who should be in that group, I was looking for the best possible combination of name recognition, track record of success, wealth, creativity and diversity. With a combined net worth approaching a half-trillion dollars, I sincerely believe that this gang of ten would be capable of tackling almost any challenge - certainly one aimed at sparking a "global conversation" about humanity's most crucial challenge since we emerged as a species about 300,000 years ago.
What about the "wow" factor? Rest assured that whatever future human habitat this gang of ten might envision and promote together, the two superstars in the lower right quadrant would make sure that it will be...
...exciting, beautiful, stylish and fun.
From the top left: Bezos, Musk, Buffett, Melinda & Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Bloomberg, Cameron, Oprah & Ralph.
Now for the reality. To my knowledge, the ten people pictured above have never expressed any interest in joining forces to help spark a crucial global "conversation" about this or any other topic.
But what if they did?
The entire world would be talking about it within days. And our gang of ten wouldn't even have to spend any money to get that
started as most of the PR would be free - and it would be abundant.
Last week, regarding this topic, I drafted a chapter for
my upcoming book, OUTCRY. As I focused on how these ten billionaires might get things rolling - writing that chapter inspired the content for this memo today.
So let's play a little game of "what if." Here are two paragraphs from that chapter, describing how that crucial "global conversation" might get started:
What if Oprah convinced the other nine to have a two-hour, video-conference call, followed by a two-day retreat, during which they commissioned a captivating 20-minute video of the ten of them talking candidly about the need to totally rethink the way we are now living in the developed world? What if they were to suggest that we in the USA envision, design, and start building, a modern human habitat that brings together all of the best ideas for living sustainably on this planet? And, finally, what if they were talking about a near-term working pilot right here in the USA - a model that the rest of the world could copy, modify and implement in each country or region?
First of all, every news organization in the world would be scrambling to get interviews with all ten of these "bigger than life" personalities. Then, as the initial video went viral, within a matter of days, everyone in the world with an internet connection (almost five billion) would know about this idea and would want to be learning a great deal more about it soon.
And that essential global "conversation" will have finally begun.
The Bottom Line. As for reinventing every aspect of our current lifestyles, we must remember that it may not even be possible to restructure our civilization soon enough, and to the extent necessary, to survive the worst effects of climate change.
We may have waited too long to get started, and that is why we must greatly expand our efforts as we create a new civilization that is even greener than we think our biosphere requires. Consider this question and the mind-boggling breadth of the challenge we face.
It is imperative that this global conversation get started soon. For even if we're unable to do enough, soon enough to prevent the near term extinction of our species - maybe we'll be able to delay our demise another hundred years - enough time to give the kids alive today a chance to lead comfortable, meaningful and full-term lives.
Finally, if its not those billionaires who will get this long overdue, global conversation started in earnest, then who will it be? The U.S. Congress? The President of the USA? The U.N.? The Pope? Union of Concerned Scientists? The World Bank? The G7? The NGOs of the world?
For my money, I would bet on the billionaires.
PS: there's still time for ultra-green, e-book
buying for the holidays. And you won't need wrapping paper or postage to send a $10 book that just might help to motivate more people to work on helping to save humanity. Just click the title to buy these books for those on your list. In so doing, you will be playing a big role in getting that long overdue conversation started.
- James Lovelock, Rough Ride to the Future, What are our chances to survive? 2015 e-book for $9.99
- James Lovelock, Novacene, A way forward with the help of artificial intelligence. 2019 e-book for $12.99
- E.O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence, A "big picture" understanding of humanity. 2014, for $8.74
- E.O. Wilson, Half-Earth, Our Planet's Fight for Life, He does his best to save humanity. 2016 e-book, $9.40
- T. Colin Campbell, The China Study, Powerful 2005 book on the incredible power of food. E-book, $9.99
- T. Colin Campbell, WHOLE, Powerful 2013 book that challenges all of health care. E-book for $10.99
- Peter Wadhams, Farewell to Ice, The bottom line on the rapidly melting Arctic. 2017 E-book for $9.99
- Guy McPherson, conservation biologist, Only Love Remains, dire predictions, e-book for $8.99
- Stephen Emmott, His 2013 book, TEN BILLION, A one-hour read you'll never forget, E-book for $11.99
- David Wallace-Wells, rare mainstream sustainability author of The Uninhabitable Earth, E-book for $13.99
A final comment about books
. To see the latest on the 2020 book, OUTCRY, that I am now writing,
As always, here are a few links to earlier SOS Memos that I have written on the all-important topic of totally reinventing the way we live.
You can find all of my SOS Memos at this link.
Here are a few of them:
FYI, I need more speaking engagements in 2020.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.
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.
My first blog on the crucial topic of totally reinventing our civilization was
posted 9-21-18 and
heads the list below. It was all about GRATOLA, an acronym that refers to the "green region" corridor running from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
Since then, I have posted more than forty additional pieces on that topic, including
this one on 9-4-19
in which I introduced the GBN (Great Big Northern) - one 25-mile wide corridor along the USA's northernmost border that would theoretically be capable of sustainably housing ALL 300+ million Americans in an area the size of Oregon.
As always, I will continue to focus on this crucial topic - in my research, my writing and my speaking.
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:
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.
What else can you do to help?
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.
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
In the past two years, I have spoken at a
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
and at the Dr.
Golden Gate Health Getaway
near the Silicon Valley.
Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth
If you got this blog from a friend or found it on our website and want to
receive more of these Bite-Size Blogs?
Join Our Mailing List
Want to get started nurturing your own health and the health of our planet? Take our survey at
to learn more about this free online dietary assessment tool.