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Author Archive

Copenhagen Needs Daylight: Overpopulation & Addiction to Economic Growth

All eyes are on Copenhagen today as the Climate Summit begins its two-week sprint to set the planet on a survival course. Here’s the official Climate Change Conference website, for you to see schedules and get more information.

While I encourage world leaders to get very serious about reducing emissions as seriously and quickly as possible, I’d like to share some perspectives that are pretty critical of what’s taking place in Copenhagen. I offer these in the spirit of pushing for a better outcome from the talks.

Too Little, Too Late: Clearly many are worried or already disappointed that the bar has been set too low. It appears the best one can hope for is that the world agrees to agree on emission reduction targets that are too little, too late. In fact, the word “reduction” shouldn’t even be included. Leading climate scientist James Hansen pretty clearly articulated this shortcoming in an interview with the UK’s Guardian: Copenhagen climate change talks must fail, says top scientist. . . .

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Cast a vote for GrowthBusters

Our documentary project has a great opportunity to recieve $15,000 worth of web/creative services from Free Range Studios, the wonderful folks behind Annie Leonard’s remarkable internet sensation/film, Story of Stuff. Your votes will ultimately choose who wins this grant. Please visit the grant/voting site and consider casting your votes for GrowthBusters. The deadline is December 1, but don’t wait; top vote-getters have higher visibility throughout the voting process.

Here’s a walk-through the voting process in case you get stumped:

1. Visit the voting site and register.
2. Find Sustainable Living in the list of categories on the right.
3. You should find Help GrowthBusters Help Us Embrace the End of Growth in the list and cast up to 3 votes for us! . . .

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Why Joining our e-mail list is crucial

A large support network is critical to distributing the film.

Every day I hear from people around the world who’ve discovered this film project and want to encourage me. Yet frequently I find they have not joined our e-mail list. Why would they skip such a quick and easy way to support this project?

I suspect it’s because I haven’t communicated our distribution strategy very well. While Michael Moore, Al Gore and Morgan Spurlock have made it so documentaries can sometimes get theatrical distribution, for every film like Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, there are a hundred documentaries that never get a theatrical run.

While we’re not ruling it out, we simply cannot count on Hooked on Growth being picked up by a Hollywood distributor. So our distribution strategy depends on an army of supporters around the world arranging community screenings and viewing parties. By joining our e-mail list you’re not committing to do anything, but I need to be able to give you the opportunity to help when the film is released. . . .

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No Impact Man – The year of living less dangerously

Today I’d like to draw your attention to a modern superhero – No Impact Man. I first learned about this un-caped crusader two years ago when mild-mannered Colin Beavan was in the midst of his year of living less dangerously for the Earth. He and his family were attempting to live for one year with zero net impact on the planet. This was the No Impact Man experiment.

Make no mistake, the experiment was extreme. One New York Times story dubbed it, The Year Without Toilet Paper. In the New Yorker Elizabeth Kolbert described the family’s life as climbing the stairs to eat cabbage slaw in the dark. Stephen Colbert had a much tighter grasp on reality when he described it as “like ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ only completely implausible.” . . .

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World Population Day: let overpopulation topic out of closet

July 11 is World Population Day, as declared by the United Nations in 1989 to raise awareness of global population issues. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of awareness out there. Of the 6.77 billion people on the planet, too few have either the courage or the awareness to weigh in or do something about the subject. Overpopulation is the proverbial elephant in the room, and it is a big one.

There is widespread agreement among scientists that we are in overshoot. According to Global Footprint Network, 1.3 planet Earths would be required to sustainably meet the needs of our current population at present levels of consumption and waste. If we continue current upward trends in consumption and population, by 2035 we’ll need 2 Earths. This means we are not acting sustainably. We are using up stuff that we, and/or future generations, are going to need. . . .

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