SOS #4    J. Morris Hicks    (5-9-19)  
Pondering the impacts of an ice-free Arctic
What can we expect and when?

Most climate scientists predict that an ice-free Arctic will happen well before 2100. But no one knows exactly when. Some of them who are predicting that it will first occur between 2030 and 2040, do not rule out the possibility that it could happen as early as this August. 

Actually, most people in the developed world think that an ice-free Arctic would be good for tourism and international business, especially in countries like Russia that are closest to the Arctic Circle. They figure that it will open up new, more efficient  shipping lanes and, of course, more places to drill for oil.

But in reality, it will be a nightmare for all concerned. Today I am featuring a top-ten-list of self-reinforcing feedback loops that  will be triggered by the first ever blue ocean event in the Arctic, possibly as early as this summer.

Top 10 Courtesy of Dave Borlace (Just Have a Think)

Note that I am now providing weekly climate updates related to various items on the above list. Those updates appear near the end of this SOS memo.

For now, I just want to touch briefly on Item #1 - Latent Heat. In his video, Dave mentions that as ice melts in a glass, the water temp stays at 0 degrees C until there is no ice remaining. Then the same amount of heat that it took to melt the ice will now raise the temperature of an equivalent amount of water from zero to 79 degrees C.   

In other words, once the ice melts in the Arctic, all of the absorbed heat from the sun would then shift to warming the water, so the water gets warmer much faster, then more ice is melted, which causes more heat to be absorbed by the blue ocean...and the self-reinforcing feedback loops continue to make things worse. You get the picture. 

Now, instead of digging into that complete Top Ten list,  I want to focus on two terms that are often mentioned together when discussing climate change: mitigation and adaptation.
Mitigation. On 4-29-19, a presidential candidate made the news when he announced a $5 trillion climate plan to take the USA to net zero emissions by 2050.

Not so fast, Beto! The problem with independent, non-globally-coordinated plans like this one are that they're simply not addressing the big picture even in the USA, much less throughout the world.

The danger is that even if his goal is reached within budget, the fully-executed plan will accomplish very little when it comes to reinventing the way all humans live throughout the world.

So, here are four reasons why Beto's plan has no chance of pleasing Mother Nature:
  • It will not bring the world's human population down to sustainable levels. 
  • It won't replace capitalism with an economy that provides incentives for consuming less. 
  • It won't do anything to remove the vast quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere, a move that scientists agree must be a part of a workable plan.
  • It won't get people away from the harmful, wasteful and  grossly unsustainable habit of eating animals.
What about adaptation? To be clear, mitigation refers to our efforts to slow or lessen the worst effects of climate change, whereas adaptation is the process of modifying our lives so as to enable us to survive within a warming world. 

What kind of living arrangement can we create for ourselves such that we can survive comfortably on a much warmer planet? Well, it's kind of like walking and chewing gum...we can do both at the same time.

We must devise a global plan for mitigation and adaptation at the same time. 

And that's what GRATOLA is all about: moving rapidly toward the development of an ultra-efficient way of life for humans on this planet such that our presence would be tolerated, or even welcomed, by nature indefinitely.

The first of four envisioned corridors where only "green" lifestyle options exist and where 300 million people could live comfortably in an area the size of Oregon

Sadly, none of our leaders are sounding the alarm and just a handful of our journalists are. One of them is Dahr Jamail and another is David Wallace-Wells, the author of the newly released Uninhabitable Earth . Here are two of my recent blogs referencing each of them.

Both of them do a great job of writing about the horrors of climate change, but neither seems to have a plan (or even an idea) for what we must actually do to survive.
The Bottom Line. I believe that we're running out of time when it comes to the topic of getting serious about totally reinventing our civilization.

For that reinvented civilization to have a chance of saving us, it must begin with a workable vision of a futuristic way of life for humans that will resolve these five issues:
  1. Overpopulation, still growing by a net 230,000/day 
  2. The inability of capitalism to coexist with nature
  3. Continued reckless use of fossil fuels
  4. The grossly unsustainable practice of eating animals
  5. Urgent necessity of CO2 removal from the atmosphere 
My conclusion is that whether our future way of living looks like Gratola, or some other vision that might work better, it must be designed with a mandate of minimizing human interference with nature.

I actually believe that we should strive to err on the side of being too kind to nature -  by creating a new civilization that features slightly more spartan conditions than we think nature requires.

As Dr. James Lovelock says, for us to have a chance, the natural Earth must improve because of our presence. So how is that working out for us?

That said, I will continue to focus on all of the above - in my writing, my blogging and my speaking. 

As for speaking, I continue to search for mainstream audiences who may have an interest in learning more about a realistic message of hope for our future. 

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 expenses and a modest honorarium.

Recently scheduled: An event with Dr. Joel Fuhrman at his   Golden Gate Summer Health Getaway  in California in July and at 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.

Or maybe we'll see you at the world's first Plant-Based EXPO next month. Our 4Leaf team has a table and will be administering 4Leaf Surveys to the public. Click on this image for more info:

Finally, the Weekly Climate Updates 

I have two key climate updates this week:

1. Weekly Arctic Update. The latest data is for yesterday, May 8, 2019. Sea ice extent continues to track at all-time record low levels for this time of year. During the past seven days, the average daily loss was just over 66,000 square kilometers, which is close to average losses for early May.

The bad news is that the current Arctic sea ice extent is almost 900,000 square kilometers less than it was on the same day in 2012, the year that the all-time minimum sea ice record was set on September 17.  

That means that right now, there are an additional 900,000 square kilometers of heat-absorbing blue ocean than there were on this date seven years ago. That's an area more than twice the size of California. We will continue to watch this situation closely.

2. Weekly CO2 ppm Update.  Another record high was reported one week ago: 414.94 ppm, the highest of several readings above 414 ppm this month. Prior to 2019, there had never been a reading over 413. This key indicator will probably hit a seasonal peak later this month or in early June.

What 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 to 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.

Be well,

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

I welcome your feedback and/or questions at:

Need  a speaker for your group?  My updated topic for 2019:  Saving our Civilization -- Earth as a "System"

 (now contains 5-minute video of me speaking in Tucson) 

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, and at a lakeside health conference in  South Haven, Michigan and most recently in Buffalo, NY, and at the University of Scranton.

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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