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  • ”A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived.”
    – Paul Samuelson
    economist
  • ”If the world is saved, it will be saved by people with changed minds, people with a new vision. It will not be saved by people with the old vision but new programs.”
    – Daniel Quinn
    author: Ishmael and The Story of B
  • ”As I see it, humanity needs to reduce its impact on the Earth urgently and there are three ways to achieve this: we can stop consuming so many resources, we can change our technology and we can reduce the growth of our population.”
    – Sir David Attenborough
  • ”Our economic activity is at war with the planet.”
    – Naomi Klein
  • ”In today’s full world, resources are not only scarce but have become the limiting factor”
    – Herman Daly
    former World Bank senior economist
  • ”Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”
    – Kenneth Boulding
    economist
  • ”You don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.”
    – Paul Ehrlich
    author: The Population Bomb
  • ”There will inevitably come a time that the society drastically needs to change the way it interacts with the environment, or it will lose its coherence.”
    – Sander van der Leeuw
  • ”I have – over the last five years – quite rapidly become a Malthusian. I have been won over by the data, and I have been won over by the logic of the math.”
    – Jeremy Grantham
    investment strategist
  • ”We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it.”
    – Paul Hawken
  • ”There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.”
    – Mahatma Ghandhi
  • ”The free-market fundamentalists will tell you that more growth, more stuff and 9 billion people going shopping is the best we can do. They’re wrong. We can be more. We can be much more.”
    – Paul Gilding
    author: The Great Disruption
  • ”A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived.”
    – Paul Samuelson
    economist
  • ”We can’t frack our way back to economic prosperity; nor can we unplug a coal plant, plug in a solar panel, and go on expanding population and consumption.”
    – Richard Heinberg
  • ”The truth is this: the Earth cannot provide enough food and fresh water for 10 billion people, never mind homes, never mind roads, hospitals and schools.”
    – Richard Branson
  • ”If the world is saved, it will be saved by people with changed minds, people with a new vision. It will not be saved by people with the old vision but new programs.”
    – Daniel Quinn
    author: Ishmael and The Story of B
  • ”We can’t frack our way back to economic prosperity; nor can we unplug a coal plant, plug in a solar panel, and go on expanding population and consumption.”
    – Richard Heinberg
  • ”Continual increases in population and consumption cannot continue forever on a finite planet.”
    – Richard Heinberg
  • ”We’ve globalized an utterly untenable economic model of hyperconsumerism. It’s now successfully spreading across the world, and it’s killing us.”
    – Naomi Klein
  • ”Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth? Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?”
    – Neil Young
  • ”In the short term, we must realize that we have better ways to create jobs and build the economy than holding an everything must go sale on our precious resources.”
    – Dr. David Suzuki
  • ”The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth’s living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence.”
    – George Monbiot
    Guardian columnist
  • ”You don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.”
    – Paul Ehrlich
    author: The Population Bomb
  • ”We’re going to need some kind of radical break with our past behavior if we’re to engineer a viable future.”
    – Mark Buchanan
    Bloomberg columnist
  • ”Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
    – Edward Abbey
  • ”At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product.”
    – Paul Hawken
  • ”On the one hand, it’s politically impossible to stop growth. On the other hand, it’s biophysically impossible to continue it ad infinitum. So, which impossibility is fundamentally impossible?”
    – Herman Daly
    former World Bank senior economist
  • ”Long-term sustainability requires a materially smaller economy (the pie) shared more equitably (not equally) by a smaller population.”
    – William Rees
    Co-originator of Ecological Footprint Analysis
  • ”I have – over the last five years – quite rapidly become a Malthusian. I have been won over by the data, and I have been won over by the logic of the math.”
    – Jeremy Grantham
    investment strategist
  • ”Our economic activity is at war with the planet.”
    – Naomi Klein
  • ”Because of this civilization’s obsession with growth, its demise is 100 percent predictable. We simply cannot go on living this way.”
    – Adam Sacks
  • ”We can share the earth and take care of it together, rather than trying to possess it, destroying the beauty of life in the process.”
    – Dalai Lama
  • ”We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children.”
    – Joe Romm
    physicist
  • ”This is not about whales anymore. It’s about us.”
    – Thomas Friedman
  • ”Population is the multiplier of everything we do wrong.”
    – Dr. Martha M. Campbell
  • ”Continual increases in population and consumption cannot continue forever on a finite planet.”
    – Richard Heinberg
  • ”Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
    – E.F. Schumacher
    author: Small is Beautiful

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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Holy Grail of Economic Growth

In a classic scene from the film City Slickers, Jack Palance holds up one gloved finger as he counsels Billy Crystal that the secret of life is just “one thing” that is all-important. “You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.” Eventually Billy Crystal figures out that “one thing,” the key to life.

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that “one thing” must have been economic growth. I’ll hazard a guess the phrase “economic growth” is mentioned, on national TV and cable networks alone, over 200 times daily. President Barack Obama probably emits the phrase 20 times a day on his own, and that’s not counting talking in his sleep. Restoring economic growth is right up there with putting a man on the moon, ending terrorism, and putting cheese in a spray can. Who would argue with that? Never one to shy away from controversy, allow me to take a stab at it. . . .

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Bon voyage to a super-volunteer

Today we sadly bid a fond farewell to Ursula Sommer, our incredible volunteer assistant editor for the past two months. Ursula is a recent Colorado College graduate who became excited about my documentary, Hooked on Growth (in production). She wanted to work on this film. In this era of tight finances, we were unable to raise the funds to pay Ursula for even a summer internship. But because she believes in the cause, she donated her time. She even had to acquire a better bike to navigate the hills that dot her five-mile commute every day.

Assistant editor Ursula Sommer sips coffee and logs an interview

Assistant editor Ursula Sommer sips coffee and logs an interview

Ursula has been a joy to have around and a tremendous help in the edit suite, helping us catch up on getting all our interviews logged and onto our hard drives so they can be transcribed and edited. This weekend Ursula is off to New York City, where she will begin work on the for-profit side of the film and television business. She’s been a joy to have around the office. We wish her well and hope this is not goodbye, but just “see you later!” . . .

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ABC NEWS SNUBS POPULATION SOLUTION

Earth 2100 is an ABC News (U.S.) special that will air the evening of June 2. At the show’s little-tended website one finds hope for a remarkably candid (especially for the U.S.) look at the sustainability predicament we find ourselves in. From the program description:

What could our world look like over the next one hundred years if we don’t act now to save our troubled planet? The world’s brightest minds agree that the “perfect storm” of population growth, resource depletion and climate change could converge with catastrophic results.

This is heady stuff, since climate change makes a few headlines, resource depletion fewer, and population growth is almost universally ignored as a multiplier in the equation that represents human impact on our planet. . . .

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