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How Do I Become a Growthbuster?

I just finished a great conversation via Skype with an audience in Salem, Oregon who viewed GrowthBusters tonight. Thanks to the Salem Progressive Film Series, I was able to answer questions and participate in the event without jumping on a jet airplane, increasing my footprint, and decreasing my bank account. The questions and comments indicated this audience understands it is time for some great change!


That’s obviously not me in this picture. This is what it would have looked like if I had been there. This photo is from a previous event with another filmmaker, much too tiny to identify.

I promised the crowd I’d share a couple things via my blog. The first of which is a link to great commentary written by former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim. I’m grateful to Mike for doing a great interview for the film, and for joining the screening tonight in person. I was drawn to Mike because I hadn’t run across  many elected officials who understood growth is frequently not in our best interest, and were willing to speak candidly about it. Check out Anti-Growth or Pro-Community? Salem’s Mayor Makes His Case.

Secondly, I’d hoped I might be asked for a good rundown of things we need to be doing. Perhaps the question didn’t come up because we were focusing on the general philosophies of sustainability, growth and sufficiency more than on any specifics. Still, I find audiences frequently want some ideas for how they can play a role in getting their community or our society unhooked from growth addiction. This list is far from comprehensive, but it’s a good start:


1. Eliminate growth subsidies; insist that the costs of growth be built into the behavior
(locally, regionally, nationally)

2. Call out any prosperity strategy that depends on increasing population or consumption for what it is – unsustainable. Insist on prosperity strategies that are possible and not suicidal.

3. Support funding for family planning

4. Don’t’ shy from population discussion; share what you know, make it okay to discuss and make small families popular

5. Point out pro-growth bias in media and encourage balance

6. Let elected officials know you won’t fire them if the economy is stable or contracts. (Let them know you’ll fire them if they sacrifice your children’s future in order to get re-elected)

7. Support efforts to eliminate fractional reserve banking.

8. Get unplugged from the system; get out of debt and downscale your life so you can afford to work half-time, then share your job with someone else. Spend the time that frees up doing things that really matter to you (could be volunteering, spending more time with loved ones, fishing, hiking, reading, exercising, writing, etc.).

9. Champion a job-sharing initiative at your employer or in your town

10. Of course do the little things, and give your friends, neighbors and colleagues a chance to see what you’re doing so it can rub off on them

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle

2. Conserve energy

3. Buy local

4. Loan and borrow items

5. Buy durable goods, not disposable and not short-lived

6. Consider the energy implications of every decision

7. Drive less, wear your clothes till they wear out

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t add:

Order copies of GrowthBusters and pass it around. Organize screenings or house parties. Send it to elected officials, journalists and mothers-in-law. And contribute your time and money to the non–profit GrowthBusters project so we can promote this film and produce others!  Thank you,

Dave Gardner

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