SOS #17    J. Morris Hicks    (8-7-19)  
Greta Thunberg brings the passion...
How can we adults build on that passion? We can honor her courage and leadership by urgently promoting radical, systemic change in the way we live.

This SOS Memo was inspired by an 8-2-19 opinion piece in the NY Times, entitled:

The Problem With Greta Thunberg's Climate Activism
Her radical approach is at odds with democracy. 

First of all, I resent the author being critical of Greta, but I appreciate the fact that his observations helped to open my eyes relative to how we can build on Greta's passion to achieve the global, systemic changes we need.

Greta speaking at World Economic Forum in Davos

In his piece, Christopher Caldwell stated that Greta's politics rest on two things.  Simplification and sowing panic. 

He went on to describe how she provides what people want, saying:  People have had enough of perspective. They want single-minded devotion to the task at hand. 

Later in the piece, he addresses the elephant in the room that I have been writing about for eleven months:

What kind of civilization do we want, and at what level of technological complexity? On a planet of eight billion people, it is not just destination weddings that require considerable expenditure of energy. 

So does food. So does clean drinking water. So does communication.

Precisely. We will never achieve harmony with nature by simply urging people to recycle more of their waste, buy greener products, install solar panels on their rooftops, drive electric cars, fly less frequently on airplanes, eat less meat and so forth.   

In truth, even if everyone in the world followed all those rules and much more, it would not be nearly enough. That's because our overall "system" of living must be changed, and individuals cannot change systems. 

Remember the donkey and the spaceship analogyThat kind of thinking applies here. We must start over and design a completely new system.

As for starting over, we as  individuals,  or activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, can demand that a new, totally sustainable, global lifestyle  system be urgently developed, tested and  deployed. And in order to do that, we must have a visual of that sustainable way of life that can be easily understood and promoted:

A simple visual of how a sustainable civilization might look and how a truly sustainable global economy might work 

I believe that most reasonable people intuitively know that just tweaking our existing way of life is not going to deliver sustainability, particularly when two huge elephants in the room are hardly ever mentioned: population control and the need for a global economy that puts nature first.

It is clear that we need a simple visual for how we can address all of our grossly unsustainable habits at the same time. 

As Dr. W. Edwards Deming may have concluded, we've got to optimize the complete Earth system, particularly the most disruptive part of that system - human civilization.

The author of last week's NY Times piece hit the nail on the head when describing the problem, but he failed miserably when it comes to helping young Greta Thunberg leverage her passion to jolt the adults of the world into action. And this is what I've got to say about that:

It's not nice to criticize Greta!

Instead of criticizing her approach, he should praise the brilliance of her vision, her leadership and the steadfastness of her resolve to never give up. 

Instead, he closes with this depressing paragraph: 

Democracy often calls for waiting and seeing. Patience may be democracy's cardinal virtue. Climate change is a serious issue. But to say, "We can't wait," is to invite a problem just as grave.

In my opinion, Greta has done an incredible job of contributing to a growing sense of urgency throughout the world. Now, all we need are simple visuals that make it easy for everyone to grasp the gravity of a seriously flawed way of life that will never satisfy Mother Nature.

Greta has come a long way in less than a year.

Here are six visuals, or conceptual designs, that ordinary people need in order to grasp the "big picture" of drastic action that is urgently needed:
  • They need a visual for illustrating how we can eliminate over 80% of all road vehicles instead of just driving more and more electric cars.
Relevant Factoid. In 2014, reported that there were 1.2 billion motor vehicles on the world's roads, and like airline traffic, that number is expected to double by 2040. Speaking of which...
  • They need a visual for illustrating how we can eliminate most air travel without eliminating travel itself, whether for business or pleasure.
  • They need a visual for illustrating how an economy might work that answers first to the biosystem instead of one that is based on maximizing the consumption of STUFF in a world of finite resources.
  • They need a visual for illustrating how a new form of government could reward those who consume less stuff, thereby providing an essential foundation for changing the way we think about associating success with the accumulation of possessions. 
  • They need a visual for illustrating how we can easily feed the world on a fraction of the land now being used - while shifting to a nutritional plan that could eliminate the need for most healthcare spending.
  • They need a visual for illustrating how we can peacefully bring our global population down to a sustainable level - a far cry from our current practice of adding a net 230,000 new people on our planet every single day.
Finally, they need a visual for how all of the above can be accomplished in a completely re-designed lifestyle model that will feature a comfortable way of living without the excesses associated with the shortsighted, unsustainable economics of today.

Imagine how easy it would be to live sustainability if we lived in a world where ONLY green lifestyle options existed.

A picture is worth a thousand words

We must find a way to totally transform our way of living into a sustainable model - while also promoting an enriched lifestyle for all - with a genuine appreciation for the  arts, science, higher education, fine dining, meaningful careers, entertainment, sports & the pursuit of happiness. 

It is now August of 2019 and I have been writing about that collective visual  for eleven months. With Greta's help, we can generate the global traction that this visual needs and deserves.
The Bottom Line. Some say that my audacious vision for GRATOLA is naive thinking, while others tell me that it is the most workable sounding plan they have heard. Below is an inspirational note from one of my favorites:

The most credible authority who thinks GRATOLA is a workable plan is this renowned scientist, who is arguably the world's leading authority on the relationship between climate change and sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In December of 2018, he sent me these highly encouraging words:

Incidentally, I think your "green region" approach    in your latest blog    is one of the most perceptive analyses of our present situation, and the way out, that I have seen.

Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Ocean Physics, The University of Cambridge. 

Apparently Dr. Wadhams appreciates the simple visuals that are provided in the AGRA/GRATOLA concept. Maybe Greta and her team will appreciate them as well.

And if so, in appreciation for Greta's passion, persistence, and leadership - maybe we should consider re-naming the combined "AGRA - GRATOLA" visual after her. How about this acronym?

G. R. E. T. A.

Green Region Exemplifying Transformational Adaptation  

End note. When it comes to climate change, we must continue to work on all forms of mitigation while focusing primarily on transforming our incredibly harmful and wasteful way of life into one that can co-exist indefinitely in harmony with nature.

In so doing we combine the best of simultaneous mitigation and adaptation - as we develop a new way of life that can survive a global average temperature increase of 3 degrees Celsius or more.  

Click here for a list of all of the SOS Memos (Save Our Species) to date. Also, here are two terms that I have been using in those memos:
  • AGRA is the American Green Region Authority which could eventually oversee four or more corridors. Obviously, a new form of government will be required, the specifics of which are far above my pay grade.
  • GRATOLA is the envisioned first corridor (Green Region Atlanta to LA). Think of this first corridor as a model where our new sustainable civilization can be tested - providing a real-life example that the rest of the world can then emulate. 

My first blog on this crucial topic appears first on the list below. Since then, I have posted another forty pieces on my GRATOLA topic since 9-21-18 and you can find all of them at this page on my website. Here are a few of them:
As always, I will continue to focus on this crucial topic - in my research, my writing and my speaking.   

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 only ask for travel expense reimbursement and a modest honorarium.

Recently scheduled: A  VegFest in Sedona, Arizona in January.

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,  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.

Be well,

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

I welcome your feedback and/or questions at:

In the past 12 months, 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 and at the Dr.  Joel Fuhrman  Golden Gate Health Getaway  in California near the Silicon Valley. 

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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