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Working Upstream

Karen Shragg is a naturalist in Minneapolis I’ve come to know through World Population Balance. Karen is a sustainable population advocate and is a very active member of WPB’s board of advisors. I might mention I am a huge fan of the work being done by World Population Balance. Explore the organization’s website. Don’t stop here, but do check out it’s Frequently Asked Questions. Very well put together. It would be an understatement to say Karen is passionate about this subject. I invited her to participate in our continuing series honoring the 40th anniversary of The Limits to Growth, and I’m pleased to share what she wrote. It is so significant I feel I should add my two cents, but she covers it quite eloquently and I will leave it to her.

Working Upstream

A poem about overpopulation and justice
By Karen I. Shragg

Tick Tick Tick
Every second, the sound
of new passengers
added to our spaceship
long passed being able to sustain them
Work at the problem’s source
Where the stream begins at just a trickle
Tick Tick Tick
It takes courage to work upstream
And stay there
When the world is pushing us
Further down
To focus on cures
Instead of causes
At results
Instead actions
Tick Tick Tick
It takes wisdom to know
That all will be futile
If we don’t work at the source
And expose our futile paradigm.
For possibility lives
And justice resides
When we start to get that numbers matter
That growth is the ideology
Of a cancer cell
On a planet that was never limitless
Except in ignorance
Tick Tick Tick
Don’t let them tell you
You don’t have a heart because
You work upstream
For even the wizard had to show the Tinman
Those who work upstream
have always had the biggest heart of all.


LTG-Experiment_day15-300x212 We’re long overdue to continue our exponential growth demonstration. Our last step was Day 14, on which we doubled the 4,096 grains of wheat to get 8,192. Today we double that:

If you find this information at all compelling, if you’re concerned about the prospects for a civilization hell-bent to grow forever on a finite planet, please take the Think Small Pledge and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do so. Thank you.

Dave Gardner
Filmmaker

Dave Gardner is the director of the new documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which uncovers the cultural forces that keep us pursuing growth in the face of overwhelming evidence we’ve outgrown the planet.

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