There are smart voices raising awareness of the global challenges presented by population growth. I thought I’d share some of the best. Is this list really the cream of the crop? I invite you to nominate other candidates for this list by commenting below. Listed here are the pieces that have stood out for me – some recently and some over the long term. I’m sure I’m forgetting some exceptional work.
The topic of overpopulation is getting a lot of focus this month since February is the month for Global Population Speak Out. I have an unusual perspective to share today, but first I want to stress that most sustainable population advocates recognize stabilizing and reducing population only gets us halfway to sustainable equilibrium. We also have to tame the tiger of economic growth and over-consumption. I’ve suggested we need a speak out month for these topics.
My unusual perspective on population is that we need to root out our growth addiction at every level. We cannot have a sustainable world made up of cities, states, territories or nations competing for population growth in order to grow their economies (never mind how utterly stupid the idea). Without accountability for sustainable population size, taming population growth will always be somebody else’s job. In a perfect world we could have open borders and no government involvement in decisions about family size. But in our imperfect world in crisis, we’re going to need – at the very least – to eliminate public policies that accelerate growth.
I’m reprinting here my essay on this subject which first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 edition of Population Press. I thank Population Press for providing excellent coverage of the subject. In fact, I highly recommend you read editor Marilyn Hempel’s outstanding editorial, Population? or Consumption? Must We Choose? Here’s my essay, which can also be found here at Population Press.
The evidence doesn't suggest, it shouts, that we have outgrown our planet. Our numbers and our appetites have reached deadly proportions. So why do we still insist on growing our economies? Why are we still adding over 200,000 people per day to the planet? Why is increasing production and consumption a worldwide goal? Part of it is we've created a system that requires constant, perpetual growth. But also at play here is a philosophy, our cultural story of why we are here. Growth has become our operating system, society's version of Microsoft Windows.
We just finished this brief highlights video of the KochBusters Uncloak the Kochs event in Rancho Mirage. Last weekend billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch held their semiannual "Billionaires Caucus" at a posh resort near Palm Springs, California. These invitation-only meetings have in the past been kept quiet, but details surfaced last Fall when the latest invitation leaked out and was shared by New Yorker magazine and ThinkProgress.
With this information, Common Cause led a coalition of groups who gathered across the street from the secretive Kochs enclave. Groups included California Courage Campaign, California Nurses Association, Greenpeace, CodePink and the Ruckus Society.
Our world is overpopulated. There, I said it. Lightning didn't strike me dead. And you're still reading. It is okay to mention the word overpopulation. It's okay to acknowledge population growth is not a sound success strategy for civilization. In fact it's imperative we recognize the huge role population size plays in our efforts to become a sustainable civilization. I'm raising this issue because today marks the beginning of Global Population Speak Out. During the month of February, scientists, philosophers, statesmen and all manner of people are making an extra effort to raise the volume of dialog about overpopulation.
While so many wring their hands and wait for much of the world to resume the glory days of continuing economic growth, it would be worthwhile to consider whether that is EVER going to happen.
I've interviewed some very smart people for my GrowthBusters documentary, but Chris Martenson has to be one of the brightest. At the very least he is an amazing communicator. If you haven't seen his wildly popular Crash Course, your education is not complete. If we'd all seen Martenson's Crash Course instead of reading Tip and Mitten, the world would be in great shape today.
I'm no HTML expert, but I can make blog posts in WordPress in a flash. Yet almost everytime I try to post a diary here I end up spinning my wheels over frustsrating error messages. This issue in particular seem to eat my lunch on a regular basis. Here is the error message I get when I click "publish" and then the detailed error messages that follow:
I'm about ready to give up on DailyKos as I just cannot afford to pour so much time into this black hole. Can anyone help? I will be glad to offer more info. to any DailyKos wizard with a good heart willing to lead me out of the forest here.
Metro areas in the U.S. with a stable population are proving growth is not the path to prosperity. Eben Fodor, community planning consultant and author of Better, Not Bigger, has just released a study comparing the fastest-growing metro areas of the U.S. with the slowest-growing, to test conventional wisdom that cities benefit from growth. This study ought to put the final nail in the coffin of the "grow or die" myth that misinforms public policies in many cities. Unfortunately, in most areas this myth is very much alive and well.
An addict usually has plenty of evidence his habit is destructive. Yet he persists. An addiction's death grip can be so strong - psychologically and physically - that we knowingly march right into the center of the death spiral of destructive behavior.
Thanks to Steven Salmony for bringing this tremendous song to my attention. Steve is a tireless crusader for modern society to stop "buying it." You can find very interesting information at his website, www.panearth.org.
David Gray wrote this song and he is joined by Annie Lennox in this powerful duet:
The trailer posted on the homepage of the GrowthBusters project has been up for a year, and we’ve been thinking it’s time for an update. Soon we’ll post a trailer that gives you a more complete picture of what the film will look like. But for now, I think we’ve come up with something short and to the point. I’d like your opinion, and it will only take you a minute to view it (it’s that short!).
Here's a short link to it on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/...
Some people assume I’m a wealthy Hollywood producer, flush with cash to fund a little hobby-film about growth addiction. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Producing the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth has turned out to be an exercise in involuntary simplicity. The first few years I continued taking on corporate film projects -- to keep the lights on and to support the non-profit film. I also ran through my retirement savings. This year I mothballed the corporate work to devote full attention to finishing GrowthBusters – so we can release the film in the first half of 2011.
A few weeks ago I got a phone call from Australia. A gentleman named Dick Smith was on the line and he was very complimentary about our film project. Quickly I was brought up to speed on this man and his new, noble effort to get the world talking about limits to growth and into a recovery program for growth addiction.
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