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  • ”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
  • ”Continual increases in population and consumption cannot continue forever on a finite planet.”
    – Richard Heinberg
  • ”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
  • ”You don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.”
    – Paul Ehrlich
    author: The Population Bomb
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”You don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.”
    – Paul Ehrlich
    author: The Population Bomb
  • ”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 just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it.”
    – Paul Hawken
  • ”This is not about whales anymore. It’s about us.”
    – Thomas Friedman
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived.”
    – Paul Samuelson
    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
  • ”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
  • ”A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived.”
    – Paul Samuelson
    economist
  • ”Who’s gonna stand up and save the Earth? Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough?”
    – Neil Young
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”In today’s full world, resources are not only scarce but have become the limiting factor”
    – Herman Daly
    former World Bank senior economist
  • ”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
  • ”Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
    – Edward Abbey
  • ”We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children.”
    – Joe Romm
    physicist
  • ”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
  • ”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
  • ”Continual increases in population and consumption cannot continue forever on a finite planet.”
    – Richard Heinberg
  • ”Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”
    – Kenneth Boulding
    economist
  • ”Our economic activity is at war with the planet.”
    – Naomi Klein
  • ”There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.”
    – Mahatma Ghandhi
  • ”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
  • ”Population is the multiplier of everything we do wrong.”
    – Dr. Martha M. Campbell
  • ”At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product.”
    – Paul Hawken

Happy Triage Day

Since today is Earth Day it seems fitting to write something about the event and our efforts to Save the Planet. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to save the planet, though apparently many self-centered human beings do. So, even more fitting, on Earth Day, is a humorous yet deadly serious Earth Day essay by Joseph Romm. Please spend 8 minutes of your Earth Day reading his commentary. Then let me know what you think. Then, let’s get back to saving the planet, for it is the only way to save ourselves!

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Growth No Longer Creates Community Prosperity

Physical expansion & population growth are costly

I owe you an election report on my recent city council run in my hometown of Colorado Springs. I wasn’t sure the citizens were ready to embrace a modern, sustainable economic model that recognizes perpetual growth is impossible. But I thought I might get traction from the fact that growth is no longer profitable. My city, like most, and like our entire nation, is in a state of crisis. Our tax revenue is down thanks to the collapse of the housing and consumption bubbles.

As I feared, current leaders believe we just need to rev up the growth engine to solve this problem (their faith in growth everlasting prevents them from seeing that our growth boom of the past two decades created more problems than it solved). It created costs faster than revenues. And it didn’t exactly do wonders for our quality of life. I wanted to offer an alternative to re-inflating the housing bubble, a smarter, more sustainable long-term solution. . . .

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What if Growth Isn’t Possible? See the cartoon!

Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist
– Kenneth Boulding

This week, world leaders, politicians, pundits and a solid majority of the population continue a global vigil – praying the world’s economies will return to robust growth. We hold our breath with the release of each new economic indicator – job creation, consumer confidence, retail sales, new home starts.

this week, if you find yourself cheering a return to growth, you may be inadvertently celebrating our acceleration toward an ecological cliff edge
– Andrew Simms, Policy Director and Head of Climate Change and Energy New Economics Foundation . . .

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Hooked on a system that no longer serves

The economic crisis continues to dominate the news and is a common topic in holiday party chatter. CNN calls it “Issue #1.” As a documenter of growth mania, I find this crisis an irresistible and fascinating opportunity.

Step back as I do, and take a detached, thoughtful look at our behavior. Ponder the following questions, and then ask a few of these while chatting with friends at your next holiday party. Let me know the reactions.

outlookdarkenssmall1

If we were designing a global system to meet our basic needs and provide opportunities for happiness and fulfillment, would we choose a model that only works if we need/want/make/sell/buy more automobiles this year than last, a system that falls apart if our needs have been met? . . .

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Troubled Waters

gardnerborderfencecropped221x1461 “Do you have…protection?” The U.S. Border Patrol officer patted his holster as he asked. “No, do I need to? I replied. He suggested to his supervisor perhaps one of them should escort me. This section of the U.S.-Mexico border has been one of the most dangerous.

That’s a 16-foot border fence behind me in the photo. The escort idea was nixed due to lack of manpower, so I bid the officers adieu and struck out for the main channel of the Colorado River, lugging tripod and video camera across 1/3-mile of delta. In places I sank so deep in the silt that it poured into my boots.

As expected there was not a drop of water in the river. It had all been diverted to Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles and the Imperial Valley. Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently calculated a 50 percent chance lakes Mead and Powell will dry up by 2021, and a 10 percent chance the lakes will run out of usable water by 2013. Yet growth addicts in our metropolitan areas are busy plotting to make sure they get every drop of water they have a legal right to, water that is unlikely to be there. . . .

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