SOS #18    J. Morris Hicks    (8-14-19)  
Too Little, Too Late from U.N. Climate Panel
The world didn't listen THIRTEEN years ago, why should we expect a different outcome now?

In November of 2006, the FAO organization of the U.N. issued a huge report entitled: Livestock's Long Shadow, stating that an estimated 18% of human induced greenhouse gases were caused by the livestock industry - about 40% more than ALL of transportation combined.

The result. International governments, the food industry and the media have collectively taken zero action since 2006, while the production of animal-based foods has continued to soar unabated throughout the world.

Thirteen years later, just last week, the UN's climate change panel (IPCC) issued  its latest report  about how land management and agriculture are contributing to climate change. And guess what? The news on this crucial topic is much worse than it was in 2006...m aking today's challenge far more difficult.

Exactly why is it a more more difficult challenge now?

Because, since the 2006 U.N. Report was published, the world has added over ONE BILLION new mouths to feed, has suffered the erosion of hundreds of billions of tons of topsoil and has lost over one billion acres of rainforest.

Will this new report lead to urgent action? Not very likely. Why would it and how could it?   

Oh sure, it's good to see that the food discussion is finally taking place and to that point, I thought that PBS did a fine job in this 8-minute video that was posted on YouTube last week.

How our food is grown and consumed is making climate change worse. What can we do?
How our food is grown and consumed is making climate change worse. What can we do?

But, will the new IPPC report make a difference?  Not very likely. Because it relies on individuals to make enough changes in their own lives to counteract the effects of the overall system that all of humanity shares with nature.

What we need is decisive, systemic change. As Dr. W. Edwards Deming would say, individuals cannot effect systemic change. Only those in charge of those systems can develop and implement a vastly improved way of living where only green options exist.
What can we do? I would argue that there IS something that we as individuals can do. We can demand enough "big picture" systemic change necessary to give humanity a chance to survive indefinitely. Basically, we must quickly learn to live in harmony with nature.

As for Dr. Deming, I had a happy moment last week when I uncovered a document he had personalized for me back in 1990. It had gone missing for several years and I was thinking that it was probably lost forever. 

Here's a photo of the top part of that highly treasured piece of paper to which he carefully added these powerful eight words,  Keep on learning. Study optimization of a system.

That special moment, memorialized above, happened at George Washington University - just after a lecture that Dr. Deming had delivered at the age of 89.

So when it comes to trying to help save humanity, I took the advice he gave me in 1990 and am now  leveraging  my background in engineering,  process improvement and senior management to  "imagineer" how we can solve our sustainability crisis as we strive to steadily "optimize" the overall "system" of how we humans interact with nature.
Last week, I emphasized the need for simple  visuals aimed at helping people grasp the "big picture" of how we can lead an enjoyable life while operating within nature's ability to sustain us indefinitely. 

Here's a review of that list of visuals from last week that describe an overall system of living where only "green" options exist:

Six from Hicks - Sustainable Living Visuals 
1. People need a visual for illustrating how we can eliminate over 80% of all road vehicles instead of just driving more and more electric cars. Unless we change the "system," the world's fleet of road vehicles will double to over two billion by 2040. And no matter how we power them, the vehicles and the billions of miles of roads that come with them, will still be a HUGE problem.
2. People need a visual for illustrating how we can eliminate most air travel without eliminating travel itself, whether for business or pleasure.
3. People 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.
4. People 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. 
5. People 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.
6. People need a visual for illustrating how we can urgently, yet 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.

To summarize: People everywhere need a visual for how all of the above can be accomplished in a completely re-designed lifestyle model that can eventually provide all humans with a comfortable and meaningful 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

The Bottom Line. How do we ever get to the point when the world is ready to fully grasp the fact that our entire civilization must be reinvented?  I continue to say that it begins by:

Starting an earnest global conversation about why and how our civilization can be re-invented

The  Extinction Rebellion  (XR) and others are working to  foster that global conversation, one with which I would like to be a part.

Earlier today, I watched a new, 90-minute video of one of the XR founders, Roger Hallam, talking to a group in the UK about some of the cold hard facts of exactly what it will take to drive sufficient change to make enough of a difference to save our civilization. 

The XR logo shown above has a circle representing the planet with an hourglass in the middle, reminding us that time is running out. 

As for their work, I believe that the "visuals" I have provided could help them in conveying to the world, the sheer magnitude of lifestyle change that will be necessary. 

Here's how they are describing themselves now:

Extinction Rebellion is an international, apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the climate and ecological emergency. 

In closing, I applaud the XR efforts and even reached out to their local chapter (Brattleboro, Vermont) last week to open the door for future collaboration relative to our common values. 

Image at homepage of Brattleboro Common Sense Website

I am pleased to report that, just today, I had an uplifting, 90-minute discussion with one of their members, Kurt Daims, who is also the executive director of a local activist organization called Brattleboro Common Sense.

This just in. Greta and father, Svante, set sail today from Plymouth, England - bound for New York City and the UN Climate Summit next month. Check out the message on that sail.


My first blog on this crucial topic heads the list below. Since then, I have posted more than forty additional 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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