This SOS Memo was inspired by a period of depression that I suffered earlier this month. All is good now.
A little background. During the early 90's, I once sought the help of a psychiatrist regarding my occasional bouts of depression. Fortunately for me, he did not prescribe medication, but rather coached me a bit and suggested a few exercises that I might want to try when I felt the need.
His advice worked. My first visit to his office in Ridgewood, NJ, turned out to be my last. Fast-forward a decade or so. I was in a bookstore in Atlanta looking for a gift when I spotted a book with a title that read something like, The Healing Power of Depression.
I read and re-read that book a few times and became comfortable with the idea of being depressed from time to time -- knowing that it was a temporary inconvenience that my body could handle while it was doing a little internal maintenance.
Note: I no longer have that book and may not remember the exact title -- but it's powerful message has become part of who I am.
Just realizing that my depression could be a good thing actually became the first step toward embracing it during the times when it visited me during the last twenty years.
This month has been one of those times. For two reasons:
- The political turmoil in our nation and all that goes with it -- including the fact that almost no one in power (on either side of the aisle) ever even mentions the grave sustainability crisis humanity is facing this century.
- The fact that Elon Musk appears to have little to no interest in unleashing his exceptional knowledge and skills on the crucial mission of helping humanity learn how to live "green enough" to avoid the collapse of our civilization and/or the extinction of our species before the year 2100.
As for political turmoil, which has been front and center for the past five years -- hopefully we have turned the corner.
As for Elon Musk, the video below was posted on YouTube just before New Year's Day and a friend referred it to me. During the first seven minutes, Elon talks about his most shocking predictions for 2021.
As a huge Elon Musk fan for fifteen years, you would think that I would have loved this video. But, instead, it was very depressing for me. Why? Because he never mentioned a single word about the necessity of us quickly learning to live in harmony with nature.
You can watch the first seven minutes of this 14-minute video to get the details, but here is a quick summary of those five predictions in the title:
Back to my depression
- Full self-driving will be here in 2021.
- His satellite internet system will roll out this year. He has permission to launch 12,000 more satellites and that's compared to the world's total of just 3300 operational satellites today.
- He says that 2021 will be the year that we return to the moon.
- He also predicts 2021 will be the year that solar energy truly shines; growing even faster than electric vehicles.
- World's wealthiest man. Finally, this is not a prediction that Elon himself is making -- but it is almost a certainty: Musk will move ahead of Jeff Bezos as the world's richest man. Per the video, Amazon is growing fast, but Tesla is growing 20 times faster.
. Since first watching the above video about two weeks ago -- coupled with the assault on the U.S. Capitol building along about the same time -- this has been a painful month for me.
So why is the Elon Musk list of 2021 predictions in the video depressing for me?
It's because that list is a stark reminder that he will not be unleashing his incredible powers anytime soon -- on the most crucial emergency in the history of humanity: our rapid demise as a species.
What a pity! I posted an SOS Memo on this topic this past October. A link to it is provided here.
In that memo, I made the case that Elon Musk is more capable of personally tackling our human extinction dilemma than any single human alive today.
But, as we all know, he is primarily driven by a fast-track colonization of Mars -- as the primary vehicle for saving humanity. And he credits his way of looking at problems: First Principles Thinking vs. reasoning by analogy, which is the way most people think.
First Principles Thinking. According to Elon himself, this way of thinking has been the bedrock of his success in all of his ventures. So what exactly are those principles?
This six minute video explains it in a manner that any high school graduate could understand. In a nutshell, the voice behind the video explains that you simply:
Boil things down to their fundamental truths
and reason up from there.
For more details, just click on the image below to watch this superb video:
My Question of the Ages for Elon
Dear Mr. Musk,
As for your laser-like focus on colonizing Mars -- instead of figuring out how eight or ten billion people can survive on this planet -- I say, "Why not tackle both projects at the same time?"
You've already proven that you're likely the most talented multitasker who ever lived.
Given the way you built SpaceX, Tesla, StarLink & Solar City in the past twenty years -- I sincerely believe that you are capable of multi-tasking as much as needed and that you may very well be the only person on the planet who could handle both projects at the same time.
Plus, even if you get people living on Mars in the next 20 years, they will continue to need many resources from this planet for a very long time -- maybe indefinitely.
In practical terms, even if you are successful in colonizing Mars, how many people do you really think will actually be living there by 2050? By 2080?
And what about the billions of children who are living on this planet now -- plus the billion who will be born during the next seven years? What about their future?
After studying human sustainability for over fifteen years, I have learned from the likes of Jacques Cousteau, Frank Fenner, E.O. Wilson and many other "big picture" scientists -- that we Homo sapiens will very likely go extinct within 200 years or less -- if we don't quickly figure out how we can learn to live in harmony with nature.
Consider that we are the only species out of trillions of species on this planet in the past four billion years -- that has not lived in complete harmony with nature. Now, we, plus our extended family of species that we have created for our food, servants and entertainment -- are all in big trouble if we don't quickly learn how to live as greenly as is physically possible.
We must also consider the fact that, no matter what we do now, it may already be too late. Even so, we must assume that we still have a real chance and we must NEVER give up. The last two or three generations of humans have created this mess. Now, the most capable among us must come together and give it our very best shot.
I encourage you to leverage your very best First Principles Thinking in an effort to help us all quickly learn how we can live green enough to satisfy Mother Nature.
In my opinion, you are better equipped to completely explore all aspects of the question below than any other human alive today.
In our 2020 book, Outcry, we described one example of how a totally redesigned way of living on Earth might look, using today's technology. We had hoped that that single vision would help to spark a robust conversation about the desperate "need" to do whatever it takes for humanity to get right with nature.
With you at the helm of such a global effort, I would feel much better about the future prospects of my eight grandchildren, your children and, indeed, all of the current and future children of the world.
Link to complete pdf of Chapter 4 in Outcry
The Bottom Line. For most of us on this planet, life is a never-ending series of ups and down. Some days are much better than others and, for me, today is far better than most.
Maybe someone reading this SOS Memo will share it with someone who will share it with Elon. And maybe Elon will actually read it.
And maybe he will modestly conclude, as I have, that he is one of the few, if not the only human on this planet capable of doing whatever it takes to answer -- and act upon -- the question that humanity must answer soon. The question in the slide provided earlier:
How Green is Green Enough?
And what must we do in the next 30 or 40 years to give all of humanity a fighting chance for survival in the future?
The powerful message within this brand-new, two-minute video, entitled "Dawn" -- expresses my sentiments going forward. Click on the image below to take a look.
Please circulate this SOS Memo widely and encourage others to do the same. Contact me directly at the email below if you would like to discuss. You can find a link to this entire message at my SOS Memos page: SOS Memo #89, posted on January 20, 2021. While there, you can also join my mailing list.
Let's do all that we can to get this world class athlete, Elon Musk, on the world's most crucially important playing field.