SOS #16    J. Morris Hicks    (7-31-19)  
Tesla, recycling...and the sustainability myth
Since this is SOS Memo #16, I am dedicating it to the 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, of Sweden.

Refusing to travel by air because of its huge impact on climate change,  she is taking a racing sailboat to New York  in August for the U.N. Climate Action Summit. Today's post will end with her advice on "hoping" vs. taking urgent action when facing an emergency.

So why am I writing about Tesla?  Because I am responding to this question from a reader in Canada:

What do you think of the model 3 Tesla and electric cars in general? We try to live as green as possible. We eat whole food, plant-based, have a geothermal system to heat and cool our home, cycle to work and we just purchased a model 3 Tesla. I have been reading a lot about the impact of lithium mining on the environment and now I wonder about the Tesla model. I would appreciate your opinion. 

My Response

Good question, Josephine. Coincidentally, I rode in a Tesla for the first time two weeks ago. I was the only passenger in a shuttle service car from San Francisco (SFO) to the place where I was speaking near the Silicon Valley. I sat in the front seat and found it to be a most impressive automobile and much more powerful than I had imagined.

As you probably have read in my blogs, I have concluded that our overall way of life is simply not sustainable - particularly the 275 million registered vehicles in the USA, whether they be powered by electric, gasoline or diesel. 

In my latest presentation, I spoke about the "greenest" part of Gratola: the HyperLoop system which would effectively eliminate over 80% of those vehicles AND over 80% of domestic air travel - two of the least sustainable elements of our civilization in the developed world.

As for your question, I would just advise you to keep enjoying your much greener than average lifestyle (including the Tesla) - while doing whatever you can to help promote the conversation about "big picture" solutions to our grossly unsustainable civilization. 

It is a way of life that is getting less sustainable every day, as we continue to add more people, more road vehicles, and more airline passengers at a torrid pace. And I believe strongly that our entire way of life must be replaced because, as I concluded in an earlier blog,  we can't convert a donkey into a spaceship. We must replace the donkey.

As for me, I will keep driving my Subaru Legacy for now; although I have started taking my electric-assist bicycle for most of my routine trips to the grocery. It's a two mile ride down a seaside bike path. And I rarely use the motor unless it's too hot or too windy.

As I see it, until we take a quantum leap to a superior overall "system" of living, citizens like us should just try to live as "greenly" as possible while doing what we can to promote the ultimate shift to a truly sustainable way of living. 

For that, we must raise the awareness among a large group of influential leaders who, collectively, have enough wealth, power and influence to make big changes happen. 

The problem is that sparking that conversation is a huge challenge in a world where most people just "don't want to talk about it." They only want to talk about trivial things like social functions, sports, vacations, gossip, the weather, family issues, meaningless TV drama and so forth. 

Nonetheless, I persist with my never-ending drum beat of promoting E.O. Wilson's vision of a "paradise" on Earth - a vision that can become a reality if we can simply get on with the process of leveraging our collective attributes of "intelligence, goodwill, generosity and enterprise."

Back to GRATOLA. Below are two slides from my latest presentation. The giant parking lots are necessary today, because 250 million of those 275 million cars are parked at any given time. Also, as of 2015, there were over 4 million miles of paved roads in the USA, most of which can be returned to nature when/if GRATOLA is fully deployed.

Air travel slowing down? Are you kidding? Notice the graph in the lower left corner? That is the steadily growing number of global airline passengers which is on track to double to over 8 billion/year by 2037.

As for that overall "system" of the way we are now living, notice below that in the current preamble to the U.S. Constitution, there is NO mention of taking care of the natural world that gives us life.

As for the "Nature First" preamble above, we have an arduous journey ahead if we expect to ever learn to "manage" our planet according to the single guiding principle of  significantly improving our relationship with the natural ecosystem that gives us life.  

The Bottom Line.  Last week I wrote about the danger of complacency when it comes to doing enough to come anywhere close to satisfying Mother Nature. Today's society leads us to believe that if we're raising the thermostats on our A/C in the summertime, doing the recommended recycling, driving an electric car, eating less meat, installing solar panels and doing a host of other little things - that we will all be okay in the long run.
Sadly, that is simply not true. I am convinced that we must totally reinvent the way we live in the developed world. Because, with the population increasing, air travel doubling by 2037 and more people buying cars for the first time, things are only going to get worse unless we're able to totally reinvent our way of life in the next few decades.

Lately, I've been saying that we'll probably need some kind of global emergency to jolt us into action. Well, last week, we almost had one as a rogue asteroid (as wide as a football field) surprised astronomers as it came much closer to the Earth than our moon is. Article at

Finally, as promised, I will close this blog with this urgent appeal from the most influential teenager on the planet, the school-striker, Greta Thunberg (16) of Sweden.

"Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is."


My first blog on an envisioned replacement for our grossly unsustainable way of life appears first on the list below. Since then, I have posted dozens of related pieces 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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