No, this is not a "bah humbug" article about Christmas. This is an article about the longterm survival of humanity as I urge you to think
over "Consumerism" this holiday season. Here's my own definition of
The never-ending process of improving and optimizing the integrated system of humanity living in harmony with nature. A process that Mother Nature demands.
Maybe this year, more and more people will begin to connect the dots between our outrageous consumption levels and the steady deterioration of the biosphere that gives us life. As the UN's IPCC kicks off its annual climate change meeting in Madrid this week, we in the USA should choose this holiday season as the one in which we take a hard look at our out-of-control tradition of spending and giving vast amounts of STUFF.
Really? Somebody needs to get a life.
Question. Do you have any idea how HUGE the Christmas gift-giving habit is in just the United States?
April 2019 report in Statista
, in the USA alone, the retail industry generates over three trillion dollars during the holiday season and represents almost 20% of all annual retail spending.
YES! Over Three Trillion Dollars!
And remember, that enormous amount of money is related to the manufacturing and distribution of a vast mountain of STUFF (See photo above), much of which is not needed,
or even wanted by the recipient.
So, what can you do
about all of that overconsumption that drives such a large portion of our nation's carbon emissions?
For starters, you, your family and your close friends can decide together to give only one gift to each person on their lists.
You can start the process by sending a copy of this SOS Memo to everyone on your gift list - along with a proposal that your entire group adopt a GREEN plan for all future gift-giving occasions, including birthdays, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, anniversaries, religious holidays,
After fully-understanding the new gift-giving guidelines with your family, here are four totally-green ideas for that single gift to each person:
- Give an e-book, an item that requires zero energy to manufacture, does not need any wrapping paper, will never become garbage and if it's a sustainability book like E.O. Wilson's Half-Earth (pictured above), it could help to save the world if it prompts us to start giving half of the planet back to nature.
- Give a thoughtful item that you already own. Example: For his 4th birthday this year, I gave my youngest grandson, Lucas (who loves trains) a framed antique picture of a steam locomotive with a personal note from me on the back. And I didn't wrap it; I just handed it to him in a cloth bag. This is also an example of what I call a "forever" gift - a meaningful item that he will enjoy for the rest of his life.
- Give a green personal service that you will schedule during the upcoming year. You might take someone to a museum, a sustainability lecture or some other event that will help her/him learn to live a greener life. Or offer to thoroughly clean and restock the kitchen of an older friend or relative.
- Give a newspaper or magazine e-subscription to people who you know will use, enjoy and appreciate it throughout the year. It's a gift that keeps on giving, and one that my grown daughter (a journalism major) cherishes: a daily e-copy of the NY Times, including the mini crossword puzzle, with her elapsed time beating mine 99% of the time.
If you can't find anything that works for you among my green suggestions above, just give people on your list one of their favorite non-perishable consumables: items like wine, coffee or liquor. You will not disappoint them and you can be sure that your gift will not be re-gifted to someone else. Also, forget the gift cartons and wrapping paper - just tie a ribbon around it.
Also, consider the fact that these gifts can be a learning opportunity for the recipient as you subtly influence them to adopt the same
for everyone on their list for all future occasions. Just think of what this new gift strategy will save in wrapping paper alone; per this recent article.
One more gift idea.
You could give everyone on your list an e-copy of our book below, a powerful tool that will help them learn about healthier and more sustainable eating habits that will enable them to prevent, slow or reverse most chronic diseases - including some cancers, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The last three are completely reversible in over 90% of the cases. As a bonus, all of that disease prevention/reversal comes with a body that naturally begins to seek its ideal weight.
I love several things about e-books. They are searchable, they are forever, they are always on all of your electronic devices and you can copy, paste and send excerpts to friends and family. They're also less expensive.
No gifts for me.
I told my entire family many decades ago to never give me ANY gift
it was Christmas, Father's Day or my birthday. They should only give me something when doing so makes them feel warm inside. It really is a lot more fun to receive a special gift that you weren't expecting rather than open a pile of presents amidst a sea of wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
My personal gift policy has saved my family a lot of money over the years and has made me feel more relaxed around the holidays. Some of them still choose to give me one of my favorite non-perishable consumables - and that is just fine with me.
Tell Your Recipients in Advance.
If you decide to adopt this Earth-friendly, gift-giving routine, then you should probably tell all of your gift recipients what you're doing ASAP. That way, you may influence all of them to join you in adopting this new, much
Just imagine the stress reduction for millions of people after we shift completely to an Earth-friendly arrangement for exchanging gifts. From a mid-December article two years ago:
Depression tends to increase during the holidays due to an increase in demands (perceived as stressful), family issues, and being unable to manage expectations.
One final benefit. The fact that you won't ever have to stress about feeling obligated to wear that ugly shirt or sweater that your aunt Bertha used to give you every Christmas.
But what about the economy? You may be worried that spending less for the holidays will damage our economy, and it probably will. But not to worry, just consider it the first step along our long overdue journey from capitalism to Earthism.
Moreover, it's high time we acknowledge that an economy that depends on perpetually increasing the consumption of needless STUFF in a world of finite resources - is an economy that will soon spell the end of humanity on this planet.
Coast to Coast in Three Hours via HyperLoop across the GBN
In those futuristic green living corridors, all of our lifestyle options will be
including gift-giving, vacations, food choices, clothing, sports, entertainment and travel. And once we adjust to all of the above, stress levels throughout the world will shrink to an all-time low.
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
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 12 months, 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.
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