GrowthBusters is a non-profit, public education project. Support this work with a tax-deductible donation and give our kids a good chance to live a great life.


Recurring Donation



Choose a Level:

Alternative Amount

Give what you want

Choose Amount:

Snag a Small Family
Window Sticker

By Donating $10

Select Options
Select Options
Select Options
Select Options

Sign A Check And

Mail It To

Citizen-Powered Media
2930 Orion Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80906 USA
Our tax I.D. # is 20-5853254

To sign up to receive our e-mails, submit the following.

E-mail address:

One man takes on City Hall, Wall Street, and the pope,
as he questions society’s most fundamental beliefs about prosperity.

“This could be the most important film ever made!”
-Paul Ehrlich, Author of The Population Bomb

“The cult of endless growth has kept us from seeing clearly the choices in front of us.”
-Bill McKibben

Noteworthy Quotes from the Movie

“They’re always talking about the technological rabbit that they’re going to pull out of the hat and it’s going to solve all of our problems. The trouble is that technological rabbits often turn out to have very smelly and messy droppings.”

“We’re faced with a gigantic challenge that we haven’t been prepared for, either in our genetic evolution, or more importantly, in our cultural evolution.”

Paul Ehrlich
Biologist, Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
Author, The Population Bomb[/su_animate]

“Our computer-generated scenarios all showed this growth stopping in the early decades of the 21st century, and, I must say, looking back now, it seems that we’re right on schedule.”

“Growth is going to stop. I don’t need to be against it. The planet’s against it.”

“If we continue to rely on growth, to accept population expansion, and so forth, we’re setting ourselves up to suffer enormously when key parts of the system start to fail.”

Dennis Meadows
Director, Club of Rome Project on the
Predicament of Mankind, MIT 1970-1972
Co-Author, Limits to Growth

“We confabulate; we make stories up about how it is that. ‘Oh, everything is just fine, and our consumer-driven society is just OK; and of course the fact that we are emptying the seas, the fact that we are causing wide-spread climate change, you know the fact that we do have global hunger is just an anomaly, and we will be able to correct it if only we get back on track.”

“Our lives are consumed by work and we spend a lot of time on this sort of work treadmill and we don’t see ourselves getting any happier.”

“If the entire world consumed as much as the average American does, then we would need nine planets in order to … sustain everyone.”

“The tools with which we have been raised to help us understand looking at the way the world works and how our future might be delivered to us, well those tools are broken. But it’s OK, because there are loads of solutions around us in which we, we might manage the world differently and more sustainably…”

“We are not purely greedy selfish individuals, that’s what free marketeers assume that we are. That’s what we are encouraged to be in consumer society. But we are not, we are much, much more beautiful, we are much bigger, we are much … we are much more capable of sharing…”

Raj Patel
Fellow, Institute for Food and Development Policy
Author, The Value of Nothing
Author, Stuffed and Starving

“Human beings have used more natural resources since the end of World War II than in all of human history before.”

“For a long time, “more” and “better” were pretty much in the same direction. Now, we no longer find ourselves growing happier as our economy grows, or even as our individual prosperity grows. Indeed, that affluence has so sapped social connections in this society, that we find ourselves growing less happy…”

“We’re facing the biggest problem, by far, that human beings have ever faced.”

Bill McKibben founder
Author, Deep Economy
Author, The End of Nature

“Several Indicators Point to Brisk Economic Growth.” Have you ever heard of a doctor prescribing, or diagnosing a cancer in a patient and telling the patient, ‘You have a brisk cancer?”


Al Bartlett
Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Colorado
Author, Laws Relating to Sustainability

“I often ask an audience, ‘How many of you in here think it’s possible to have infinite economic growth in a finite space?’ Not a hand will go up. And yet, that’s exactly what we are pretending we can do.”

“Most people in North America and Europe don’t need more money, they need more time.”

William Rees
Population Ecologist
Professor, University of British Columbia
Co-Author, Our Ecological Footprint

“In an empty world, it was a safe bet that growth was making us richer, but we no longer live in an empty world. We live in a full world.”


Herman Daly
Ecological Economist
Former Sr. Economist, The World Bank
Author, Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development

“Staying with business as usual is untenable.”


Gus Speth
Administrator, United Nations Development Programme 1993-1999
Environmental Advisor to U.S. President Jimmy Carter 1977-1981

“Changing the light bulbs, insulating the house, all of those things are good. But reducing family size has a much bigger impact in terms of avoiding carbon dioxide output into the atmosphere now and for future generations.”

“It does have to be made safe to talk about population…”

Bill Ryerson
President, Population Institute
President, Population Media Center

“The whole reason that consumption has become an issue is because there are so many of us that there is not enough to share.”


Robert Engelman
Executive Director, Worldwatch Institute
Author, More: Population, Nature & What Women Want

“Perpetual growth is an absolute requirement of our current system.”

“It’s my belief that we really do have an exit in front of us, and we could, if we chose, to take our foot off the accelerator, put it on the brakes, and of our own choosing, take this exit.”

“We’re surprised to find that not only is this new life that we’re leading possible, but it’s more enjoyable.”

“Does it stop when it just hits a wall, at 90 miles an hour, or do we proactively choose to navigate to a slower speed, and work out what a truly sustainable economy would look like?”

Chris Martenson
Creator of The Crash Course

“As a businessman and a proud capitalist to be actually talking about restraining growth is…uh…it’s almost blasphemous.”

“Politicians, we’re going to throw them out if the GDP doesn’t go up each year. We’re so stupid. We haven’t realized that by putting the GDP up, that quite, quite often the quality of life is going down. We need a new measure, and that’s what we should be thinking about.”

“I realized that the God of Capitalism, which is the, uh, God of Growth, is a false god; because in a closed system, which the world is, you can’t always have growth in the use of material resources and energy.”

“It’s become obvious to me that my generation has over-exploited our wonderful world, and it’s younger people who will pay the price. Like many people my age, I’ve benefited from a long period of constant economic and population growth. We’re addicted to it.”

Dick Smith
Founder, Dick Smith Electronics
Author, Dick Smith’s Population Crisis

“This is the big issue, it underlies everything else; every other environmental problem is exacerbated by having more of us, more of us who are polluting, more of us who are using resources, more of us who are sprawling out…”

“When women have political power, when they have good educations, when they have access to good health care, most women around the world will choose to have fewer children, and it’s their choice, you don’t need to coerce it.”

“You know, if I have a child it would increase my carbon footprint by 570% because they’re figuring my that child will have kids, and that child will have kids…”

Lisa Hymas
Senior Editor, Grist

“You can have full employment, reduce greenhouse gases very significantly, the government’s books can still be balanced, and you can do a lot to eradicate poverty; all without economic growth.”


Peter Victor
Professor in Environmental Studies, York University
Author, Managing Without Growth

“That’s almost un-American to stop growth, or to be talking about stopping growth.

“It’s legitimate for a community to say, ‘How big do we want to be?’ It is legitimate for a community to say, ‘What is the carrying capacity of our particular place in this on this globe?”

Michael Swaim
Mayor of Salem, Oregon 1996-2002

“Talking about population doesn’t mean control. It means being knowledgeable about the decisions we’re making so we can make healthy decisions for a better future. It’s not about dictating how many children someone should have.”


Katie Elmore
Vice President, Population Media Center

“Most communities have been pursuing pedal to the metal growth, subsidize it as much as possible, encourage it as much as possible, make sure that every policy that you have uh facilitates and induces as much growth as possible.”


Eben Fodor
Community Planning Consultant
Author, Bigger, Not Better

“There was a group of people who did very well with growth, but it’s an elite group.”


Juliet Schor
Professor of Sociology, Boston College
Author, Plenitude
Author, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure

“I don’t know of any member of congress or senator who doesn’t resent the fact that he or she has to spend half of his time raising money, and the easy way to raise money is, of course, are big fundraisers with big donors. So along comes BP, or Standard Oil or Shell Oil, and they’re worth a lot.”


Pete McCloskey
U.S. Representative 1967-1983
Co-Sponsor Original Earth Day

“A lot of people today are recognizing the limits to that model and realizing, ‘You know, I’ve got the Hummer, I’ve got the big house, I’ve got all the things that I thought were what were going to make me feel wonderful, and I don’t. Why?’ We’ve sort of equated bigness with better-ness and that isn’t the way that it really is.”


Sarah Susanka
Author, The Not So Big Life

“Often people will say, “Oh, if we need to become sustainable, we’re gonna have to give up all sorts of things.’ What did we give up to become consumers?”

“What we don’t know about our story, is will it be a story of denial and disaster, or will it be a story of creativity and celebration?”

“It’s not an easy thing to change the inertia of a civilization, but it has to be done…”

Mike Nickerson
Author, Life, Money & Illusion
Director, The Sustainability Project (Canada)

“I think sustainability is a bicycle with two wheels. Number one would be stabilizing population, and number two would be reducing consumption.”

“The good news is, that there’s still a wonderful life that we can leave our children…”

Richard D. Lamm
Colorado Governor 1975-1987
Co-Director, Institute for Public Policy Studies, University of Denver

“I actually believe in a big Australia. I make no apology for that. I actually think it’s good news that our population is growing.”


Kevin Rudd
Australian Prime Minister 2007-2010

“Things like food, water, petrol, housing, electricity…all of those things are going up in price as a result of the increased demand, which population growth fuels. Those sorts of things don’t make for a better standard of living, they make for a reduced one.”


Kelvin Thomson
Australian House of Representatives

“Your small backyard solutions can strengthen your community. They can save you money. They can save energy. They can influence policy.”


Trathen Heckman
Director, Transition U.S.

“What’s remarkable about this time is it’s calling all of us to engage and make our communities work; all of us. It’s not a left movement, or right movement, or any movement. It’s an all of us movement.”


Carolyne Stayton
Executive Director, Transition US

“There’s a shift going on, and this is a shift from believing that we have a resources problem to really understanding that we have a cultural problem and that we need to evolve our culture.”


Dave Room
Director, Transition U.S.

“What we all need to do is learn to embrace the end of growth! Because it’s either that or go down fighting.”

“The growth-pushers’ easy, short-term profits depend on our allowing them, encouraging them – and even subsidizing them – to plunder our communities, our world. To keep that happening, the growth-pushers need to maintain the illusion that perpetual growth is both possible and desirable.”

“The flow of the profits from growth depends on the rest of society buying into the myth that growth is essential for prosperity.”

“The growth pushers I really have a gripe with are the ones who know that they’re manipulating the system, exploiting people as commodities, and stealing from future generations.”

“Where is the outrage? We don’t have to buy that propaganda, especially when it’s turning the American Dream into a nightmare.”

“We’ve become like rats running in a cage. For too many it’s drudgery; but we are driven by the quest for the good life. What’s worse, most of us never get to the cheese. We’ve all become slaves to a system we created. The growth profiteers keep us busy working long days to keep our jobs and finance the lifestyle their advertising has convinced us we want.”

“This is like a splash of cold water to the face. It’s a wake-up call. It’s to say, ‘Hey, you know, we are in that car speeding toward that cliff. Is that really what you want to do?’ But it’s also good news. It’s good news that if we can turn the wheel and put our foot on the brake that it opens up a great world of possibilities for us to actually have more enjoyable, more fulfilling lives.”

“Aside from the fact it doesn’t work, urban growth as a long-term community prosperity strategy is simply unsustainable.”

“We can’t have a sustainable world if it’s full of communities that have unsustainable uh goals of economic growth and population growth.”

“With our current system on the rocks, it’s the perfect opportunity to try a new model.”

Dave Gardner
Director & Filmmaker, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth

“That’s what America is all about – going out there and getting rich.”

“We need to accelerate our economic growth so that we are producing jobs at a faster pace.”

U.S. President Barack Obama

“That’s the whole meaning of life isn’t it, trying to find a place for your stuff.”


George Carlin

“It’s good for America when the consumer spends money.”


John McCain

“Spending our way out of the recession? Isn’t that like drinking your way out of alcoholism?”


Jay Leno

“America needs to get back in the game of catastrophic overpopulation.”


Stephen Colbert

“Human ingenuity has always and in every generation has managed to make a bigger and bigger pie even as we take a bigger and bigger slice of it.”


James Corbett

Visit Us At:

Share Us On: