It depends on how we deal with many of our "cultural norms" that are working at odds with the natural world.
As we continue to follow those
cultural norms, we are all collectively guilty of
killing our mother -- the biosphere that gave us birth. As such, there is a pretty good case to be made that the sooner we are dead and gone, the sooner
our mother can get back to overseeing a totally natural world where all species coexist in complete
harmony with nature.
This SOS Memo was inspired by a comment from one of the readers of a Charles Blow column two days ago in the
New York Times
. The piece was entitled:
Yes, Even George Washington
And yes, Mr. Blow was talking about the slave-owning father of our country. And he jumped right into the heart of the matter in the first three sentences:
On the issue of American slavery, I am an absolutist: enslavers were amoral monsters.
The very idea that one group of people believed that they had the right to own another human being is abhorrent and depraved. The fact that their control was enforced by violence was barbaric.
To which I ask: Is it now okay for the more advanced and
more privileged sentient beings to own and/or exploit other sentient beings? A reader from Virginia took it a step further with his comment -- one that ends with an exceptionally powerful conclusion. You may wish to read
in order to grasp the full meaning.
This was the Virginia reader's comment about that column:
There may come a day when people pull down statues of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama because they were monsters that ate the flesh of sentient beings.
Were you going to say that there is a huge difference between people and lower life forms? That gorillas don't have emotions? That whales don't feel pain? That cows don't l
I am a
Does that make me a monster? Is it just because I live in a
society that I do not comprehend the horror I inflict?
Cultural norms may not
excuse behavior to the morally superior among us, but they do help explain it.
(I will get back to those "cultural norms" in a minute)
As for "living in harmony with nature." A scant few of the nearly eight billion humans on this planet are even talking about it -- nor are many of us showing much interest in understanding what what it really means.
What it means to me is how Dr. James Lovelock, who turns 101 next month, describes our chances for longterm survival as a species:
If the Earth improves because of our presence, then we will flourish. If it does not, then we will die off.
That powerfully simple statement completely explains nature's rules of the game we are now playing -- the game of survival. But hardly anyone is listening. The image below conveys the self-destructive attitude we have chosen to embrace instead.
Back to the title question: Do we Homo sapiens deserve to survive as a species? My answer is yes and no. Yes, if
we take Dr. Lovelock's definition of sustainable living seriously -- and then do all that we can to move in that direction just as rapidly as possible.
But the answer is no -- if we continue down the path of reckless, wasteful and destructive living that we have chosen in the developed world for the past few hundred years, a mere blink of the eye in geologic terms.
On a more uplifting note.
In our book, Outcry
, we describe and promote a "vision" of a lifestyle that we believe could someday be green enough for us to be welcomed by Mother Nature as residents in perpetuity.
Also in that book, we talk about certain human behaviors that are perfectly fine when viewed through the lens of our own cultural norms of today -- but lead to a death sentence for humanity when viewed through the unforgiving lens of the biosphere that gives us life.
Our "cultural norms" are on shaky ground. Just as we have rationalized, via those
cultural norms -- our harmful, wasteful and grossly unsustainable habit of eating animals, we have also rationalized a number of other grossly unsustainable
cultural norms. Here are five of them:
that we humans can actually
parts of the Earth and that we are more important than the natural world and all of its creatures
- The cultural norm that we humans can continue to maximize the consumption of stuff in a world of finite resources -- a necessity when playing by the fairytale rules of a never-ending growth economy
- The cultural norm that we can steal land from nature so that we humans can enjoy a vast array of sporting and recreational activities for our own pleasure
- The cultural norm that we can create and actually own other sentient beings for our own pleasure -- innocent animals that we created to be our servile companions but who would all quickly perish if humanity disappeared
- The cultural norm that we humans can continue to add seven or eight million people to our population every month, with no end in sight
The Bottom Line. Full disclosure, I have personally participated in all of the grossly unsustainable
listed above -- and many, many more. My defense is that we were all born into this set of living arrangements; we did not create them.
But now, armed with specific knowledge, understanding and artificial intelligence that were unavailable to our forefathers, we are in a unique position to do something about the cards that we have been dealt.
As for me, I am now trying to help atone ourselves and our forefathers by challenging all of humanity to quickly come to grips with our situation -- and to actually do something about it -- for the billions of innocent children who deserve a much better future than the unsustainable one that we are in the process of leaving them.
As for our own atonement, in
Outcry, Stuart Scott and I have described an envisioned way of comfortable living by humans that at least has a chance of being accepted longterm by Mother Nature. We are not sure how good that chance might be, but we are certain that what we have described, or something inspired by it, could deliver a far better chance of long-term human survival than our grossly unsustainable lifestyles that have brought us to the precipice of extinction.
Our envisioned way of sustainable life will come with new, greener pleasures that will be appreciated by all humans -- but, as you must certainly expect by now, it will also mean learning to live without much of the stuff and many of the activities that we currently enjoy.
As we explain in the book, we believe that it is possible, using today's technology, to design and build an entirely new human habitat that can totally replace the grossly unsustainable manner in which we are living today. But sadly, hardly anyone is even talking about it.
Toward that end, our goal is to help spark an urgent global
conversation on the topic of replacing our civilization -- a process that we believe is essential to our survival.
PS: To help jumpstart that essential global conversation, I am now offering to conduct
conferences free of charge to any group of six or more people.
with you and your group in the near future. Shoot me an email and let's get started.
In preparation for those sessions, I have developed a one-hour format consisting of an opening statement followed by a slide show, discussion and Q&A with the attendees. The sessions that you organize will be far more interesting and productive if attendees have read
Our book, for a host of environmental reasons, is
only available as an e-book on Amazon
. As such, it contains hyperlinks to hundreds of references and videos, is less expensive and does not have to be manufactured and delivered.
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 where you can see how my vision has evolved since that first "creative idea" on 9-21-18:
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.
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.
: There are lots of open dates on my calendar as my next scheduled public talk is
in Black Mountain, NC, on August 15, a "live" week-end affair that has been converted into an online, virtual event instead.
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, family, neighbors
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
, at Dr.
Golden Gate Health Getaway
and at the
Healthy World Sedona
Health and Sustainability Conference in AZ.
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