S.O.S. Memo #1.  J. Morris Hicks.  (4-18-19)  
Sadly, doing our "best" won't get it done.
Welcome to S.O.S. Memo #1,

Not only will "doing our best" not get it done in terms of caring for the environment, i t often leads to complacency which prevents the pursuit of "big picture" system reinventions that are essential. More on that later. First I want to tell you about S.O.S. Memos.

When I launched the bite-size-blog series (BSBs) in June of 2016, the weekly editions were intended to be two-minute reads for busy people. But as the complexity and the urgency of the topics continued to escalate, I decided a few days ago to launch a second generation of weekly messaging for two reasons:
  • I found it difficult to keep the BSBs short enough to live up to their name.
  • The "BSB" acronym doesn't grab anyone's attention, whereas S.O.S. is likely the single most recognized acronym in the world, and it's all about distress.
Without a doubt, "distress" is the best word to describe the situation in which we humans find ourselves today...as we are quickly running out of time for executing the complex task of "Saving Our Species."

Although I will try to keep these weekly memos focused and efficient, they may sometimes require a bit more time than the BSB's of the past. 

Here's what you can expect each week: 
  • A never-ending focus on the huge need for big picture solutions that can neither be developed or executed by individuals.  
  • Polar updates with regards to climate change and other scientific data.
  • A weekly appeal for live audiences who might find the "Earth as a system" concept helpful in preparing them for reaching out to powerful leaders who can influence systemic change. 
  • One specific theme of importance each week. Here's this week's theme:

Doing Our Best, as Individuals, is Not Enough

This past Sunday, while driving a 9th grade family member (and future National Honor Society inductee) to a musical event in Asbury Park, NJ, - I was explaining to her the crucial need for "big picture" solutions aimed at totally reinventing our civilization. 

At 15, she's just a year younger than Sweden's Greta Thunberg , who broke onto the world stage late last year when she spoke at the UN's COP 24 climate conference in Poland. 

As I recalled our conversation the next day, I decided that my chat with her would be the theme for this week's post and for the  beginning of my new S.O.S. Memos. For decades, we have all been urged to turn off lights, lower thermostats in winter, take shorter showers, recycle like crazy, car-pool, take public transportation, install solar panels, use less air conditioning, etc. 

So here's the question of the day:

If everyone in the world would do all of the above (and much more), would that be enough to  slow climate change, prevent the collapse of our civilization and ultimately enable us to live in harmony with nature?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. And it wouldn't even be close. 

It's because our civilization in the developed world is an extremely harmful, wasteful and grossly unsustainable "system" of living for humans. And for us to survive much longer as a species, our living arrangement with Mother Nature must be totally reinvented.

That means that every human activity must be urgently studied, re-designed and replaced within the next thirty or forty years - for us to even have a chance. Mere "individuals" like us, no matter how hard we try, will not be able to even scratch the surface when it comes to reinventing our "system" of living on this planet. For that...

We desperately need globally coordinated
systemic, "big picture" solutions.

So should we just give up on trying to live more greenly since we haven't got a chance of making a difference? 

No, we should never give up. We just need to do much more. We can't let "doing our best" on a personal basis make us complacent. 

We must do all that we can to promote the absolute necessity of those "big picture, systemic, solutions." For us to survive, that topic must become more ubiquitous in the news than Donald Trump is now.

That means that our JOB #1 must be to influence and/or coerce our leaders to urgently tackle the monster task of totally reinventing every element of our civilization that is not compatible with nature. And, in the developed world, that is just about everything.
Of course, we should continue to live as greenly as possible ourselves, because those visible actions may increase our chances of having more "conversations" about the "big picture" with more people. 

The first step is just getting more people talking about the need for global systemic change and that is the purpose of this new S.O.S. Memos series. And it was the purpose of my envisioned, exceptionally GREEN human habitat that I've been promoting for the last seven months.

Knowing that most people need a "visual" to jumpstart their thinking and open their minds, in September of 2018, I proposed a conceptual solution that I call AGRA and GRATOLA. 

Those acronyms stand for American Green Region Authority  and the envisioned first phase of that project that I call Green Region Atlanta to Los Angeles. Here is  the first BSB I posted on that topic:

So do I think this "creative idea" will really work? Maybe something like it will. Who knows? But that's not the point. 

The point is that by putting one "envisioned" solution out there, it will hopefully lead to more "big picture" thinking around the world - about our future as a species, subsisting on  the ONLY planet in the universe capable of keeping us alive. 

Do we have a chance? I have to believe that we do. But, it's not going to be easy.  Dr. James Lovelock (alive and well at 99) put it this way about the future of humanity:

If the Earth improves as a result of our presence, then we will flourish. If it does not, then we will die off.   

This image says a "billion words" about why humanity is in so much trouble when it comes to living in harmony with nature. Sadly, it will probably take several natural disasters of epic proportions to grab the attention of the world's most powerful leaders. 

But, until we have those disasters, I will continue to try to help inform more and more people about the reality of what we're facing. I will continue to do that by writing, blogging and speaking. 

As for the latter.  I would love to be able to address mainstream audiences about this crucial topic every week. As such, I will travel anywhere for an opportunity to speak to one or more groups in each city that I visit. I just need travel expense reimbursement and a modest honorarium.

Two weeks ago, I spoke at the University of Scranton, where the mainstream audience included faculty, students and interested individuals from the community. Although hearing about our "Earth as a System" was new for them, their questions and comments, following the talk, reflected their appreciation for "the big picture" when it comes to our survival. 

I look forward to speaking at a venue near you sometime soon. The more who hear about the urgent need for radical change in the way we live, the sooner we'll be able to get started down the pathway to the survival of civilization. 

As for the specifics of my topic, I invite you to contact me directly about how I might tailor my presentation to best suit the audience you have in mind: schools, churches, clubs, and/or civic groups who may appreciate a message of reality and hope for our future. 

Weekly Arctic Update. This week, I am featuring another recent (4-17-19) graph from Jim Pettit. It shows the historical sea ice extent in April-May and the red line is 2019. Clearly, the current sea ice extent in the Arctic has broken away from the "pack" of the previous forty years.

Pettit notes below that yesterday, the sea ice extent declined by 39,279 square kilometers. Want to see more of Pettit's graphs of PIOMAS and NSIDC data? Click here

April Sea Ice Extent since the 80's with 2019 in RED

Weekly CO2 ppm Update.  Last week, on 4-13-19, we had another Mauna Loa reading above 414 ppm for the sixth time in this year. Prior to 2019, there had never been a reading over 413. 

You can check this data for yourself at  CO2.earth. T he graph below, dating back to 1700, suggests exponential growth of CO2 concentration for the last fifty years.
Weekly Climate Change Update.  From one "big picture guy" to another, meet Dave Borlace (of the UK) in the video below. In addition to working a full-time job as a project manager, he spends 20 to 30 hours a week managing his outstanding YouTube Channel. 

A modest man with many talents, he rarely even mentions his name;  which  is why I had trouble finding it.  After subscribing to his channel in 2018, this past week I found his video entitled  Blue Ocean Event, Game Over?  to be an excellent summary of what we can expect from the Arctic's first blue ocean event.

"Blue Ocean" is coming to the Arctic. Will it happen this year?
For the past two weeks, this straight-talking, "big picture guy" has been producing some really good stuff.  He calls his channel: "Just Have a Think."

In this 17-minute video below, he explains this complex topic in a calm and easy manner, making an extremely serious topic easy to grasp by almost anyone. 

Don't have time right now? Scroll on down for the slide summarizing the Top Ten list of problems that will be exacerbated by the rapid loss of ice in the Arctic.  

Blue Ocean Event : Game Over?
Blue Ocean Event : Game Over?

Top Ten List in the Blue Ocean Event video, a slide that I will be using (with attribution) in my public talks.

Latest report from Antarctica. Most people seem to feel that while things are deteriorating rapidly in the Arctic, the situation at the South Pole is more encouraging. This new report on PBS suggests just the opposite. 

Take just ten minutes to watch Judy Woodruff and the PBS team discuss what's happening in Antarctica.

Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate. How much will sea levels rise?
Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate. How much will sea levels rise?

The Bottom Line. I love  what Dr. E.O. Wilson says about humanity - that we have the intelligence, goodwill, generosity and enterprise to turn our planet into a virtual paradise for ourselves and the biosphere that gave us life

When I first read that quote from Dr. Wilson a few years ago, I was elated. But I also agree with his conclusion that we are an "innately dysfunctional species" and not having proven to be capable of managing anything more complex than a village. 

But we have to try. And we must give it our very best effort. My weekly S.O.S. Memos will continue to focus on that ongoing effort. By continuing to describe a feasible "envisioned" solution, my objective is simply to be a part of the solution in three ways:
  • By expanding the global "conversation" about this most crucial of all topics.
  • By inspiring others to begin looking more at our planet as a "system" within which we must live harmoniously.
  • By being a part of a movement to influence and/or coerce those in power to begin urgently developing feasible, global solutions to our sustainability dilemma. 
Today, I will end S.O.S. #1 with this highly emotional video from The Guardian of  16-year-old Greta Thunberg as she speaks to the European Parliament last week. Please watch and share this 4-minute video.

Greta Thunberg's emotional speech to EU leaders
Greta Thunberg's emotional speech to EU leaders

FYI, she actually utters the phrase that "doing your best is no longer good enough."

Please let me hear from you directly.

What else can you do? 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:  jmh@4leafglobal.com

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  vsh.org  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 just this week in Buffalo, NY, and at the University of Scranton.

To schedule a presentation at a venue near you, please contact me at   jmh@4leafglobal.com

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Moonglow J. Morris Hicks

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