The origin of the Great Big Northern
(GBN) "idea" dates back to September 17, 2018, when I described my vision of a possible solution to humanity's sustainability crisis to Outcry co-author, Stuart Scott. That original vision was labeled GRATOLA before it morphed into the "GBN" about a year later.
Although we have been talking about, writing about, and publishing a book about the GBN for the last two years, I had never seen or heard anything even remotely-similar to the idea until last Sunday -- in a magnificent article about forced migration here in the USA.
That piece appeared in the NY Times Magazine
and was written by Abrahm Lustgarten
, a senior environmental reporter at ProPublica
. The exceptional piece was entitled:
Wildfires rage in the West. Hurricanes batter the East. Droughts and floods wreak damage throughout the nation. Life has become increasingly untenable in the hardest-hit areas, but if the people there move, where will everyone go?
This article, the second in a series on global migration caused by climate change, is a result of a partnership between ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center.
Lead image: A wildfire on the foothills of the San Gabriel Canyon that border the Mountain Cove gated residential community in Azusa, California. The Ranch 2 Fire burned over 4,200 acres.
As I neared the end of this powerful, well-documented piece, my heart skipped a beat when I saw what he had to say about what is likely to happen here in the USA:
Vast regions will prosper; just as Hsiang's research forecast that Southern counties could see a tenth of their economy dry up, he projects that others as far as North Dakota and Minnesota
will enjoy a corresponding expansion. Cities like Detroit, Rochester, Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use.
Then, it was while reading this next sentence that I actually cheered out loud
-- as I was thinking that maybe the author had read our book or had seen this SOS Memo
that we published on January 14, 2020. He wrote:
One day, it's possible that a high-speed rail line could race across the Dakotas, through Idaho's up-and-coming wine country and the country's new breadbasket along the Canadian border, to the megalopolis of Seattle, which by then has nearly merged with Vancouver to its north.
As I reflected on the article, I was thinking that finally -- someone in the mainstream, environmental media is thinking outside the box -- and talking about an idea that is incredibly similar to the GBN. That "idea" is also featured in our book and was first mentioned in this SOS Memo in September of 2019. Why Don't We Dream BIG? Solutions like the GBN?
So, how do we make that futuristic GBN, or something inspired by it, a reality? We do it by urgently promoting a global conversation about a vision of what is possible using today's technology. Here is a slide from my latest PowerPoint deck where I talk about such a vision.
Want to see all 45 of the PPT slides in that deck? Click this link below:
The Bottom Line. I am totally convinced that we must promote massive, systemic change in every aspect of the way we live -- in order to maximize our chances for survival as a species.
Willy-nilly, uncoordinated efforts by billions of people to live more sustainable lives sounds great -- and just might buy us the time needed to generate the groundswell of support that will be essential for any such massive, world-changing project.
But those billions of uncoordinated efforts will NOT, by themselves, result in a civilization that will be even remotely acceptable to Mother Nature. For that, I am totally convinced that we must have massive systemic change.
For only with massive, systemic change will we be able to develop and install a system like the GBN -- one that is capable of eliminating over 90% of all automobile, truck and airplane traffic in the USA -- all while returning millions of square miles to nature.
I call it maximizing quality of life while minimizing our overall footprint on the natural world -- as we systematically go about actually working to improve Earth's biosphere that keeps us alive.
Full Disclosure. We readily acknowledge that the ultimate, fully-sustainable, future living "system" in the USA may not look anything like the GBN. But that's not the point.
From the beginning, we have always considered the GBN to be just an idea and a "visual" aid -- to help spark an intense global conversation about radical lifestyle changes that are not only necessary -- but also technologically feasible.
Oh, and by the way, that futuristic living corridor will feature a highly-desirable new way of living with ultra-green features -- that will make our harmful, unsustainable and highly stressful lives of today look particularly disgusting to the children of the future who will study about us in their history classes.
We also recognize that a massive project like the GBN will take many decades to design, build and populate. The time for urgent action toward that goal is NOW!
Get the book and help jumpstart the crucial "conversation"
about how humanity can begin moving rapidly toward a way of life that is acceptable to Mother Nature. Just consider our book a handy conversation instigator.
Also, let's talk.To help jumpstart a global conversation
that I keep encouraging, I am now offering to conduct private Zoom conferences free of charge to groups of almost any size. I look forward to Zooming with you and your group sometime soon.
In preparation for those sessions, I have developed a one-hour format consisting of an opening statement followed by a 20-minute slide show and then ending with a discussion and Q&A with the attendees. The sessions you organize will be far more interesting and productive if attendees have read Outcry in advance.
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, does not kill any trees 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.
Upcoming talks: There are lots of open dates on my calendar and I look forward to the opportunity of tailoring my presentation to best suit an audience you may have in mind:
Universities, churches, book groups, legislative bodies, think-tanks, 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? 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.
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 VegFest
Fort Myers, at vsh.org 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.
Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth
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