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bottled water, apartment bldg and skull and cross bones

Small is Beautiful After All

A new episode of the GrowthBusters podcast is out.



On tap:

If you haven’t yet committed to avoid purchasing or drinking factory-bottled water, a recent study offers one more reason. Learn more on the podcast. Although I do encourage you to, as I’ve done, commit to avoid bottled water at all costs, let me be the first to tell you:

It will NOT save the planet.

Having grown world population WAY beyond a sustainable level of 2 billion and having continued to grow the global economy after we first exceeded the planet’s carrying capacity in the mid-1970s, we are so far into overshoot that “being green” – while important – is not nearly enough. Unless by “being green” you mean conceiving no more than one child, living as simply as you can, and telling politicians that promising economic growth will NOT earn your vote. Still…skip the bottled water. More about “why” on the podcast.

Also on the podcast:

A proposed California law will require communities to ignore zoning and allow high-rise buildings even in single-family residential neighborhoods near transit stops. Sounds like smart growth to me (oxymoron). I have mixed emotions about this, and share my perspective – related to our last episode about the sacrifices we must accept because we refuse to end population and economic growth.

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Comments (7)

  • Avatar

    Dariel Blackburn

    |

    Hi Dave, Just listened to your piece on bottled water and a highrise going up next to my beautiful bungalow. Well, I can imagine this scenario based on any neighborhood in Boulder. People would be upset. Even in my mobile home park they’d be upset. If I had a great garden going on my little ‘postage stamp yard’–I’d be upset. But I love the way you use this scenario to make your point that this is what we are choosing when we choose not to see what runaway population growth is forcing on us. The poor will always pay the larger share but the we all will pay. A highrise with bugs on the menu is coming. 🙁

    Just wanted you to know that you left out an important reason for not drinking bottled water. Each bottle we drink plays into the multibillion dollar industry that is buying up a resource that should naturally be available for all people. It is a necessity of life and should not be bottled to be sold. This industry is taking a resource that belongs to all and again forcing out the poorest among us who cannot afford to pay for these bottles–and therefore are dying of heavily contaminated water that is all that is available to them. Every time we buy bottled water we are supporting and encouraging Nestle to continue stealing waters that are a necessity for life–for our people and our planet. Yes, overpopulation is a culprit, but Nestle has been involved in unethical behavior since I was a kid–wow!–and they must be mentioned as a big part of resource depletion right along with overpopulation.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Dave Gardner

      |

      Good point, Dariel, about water genuinely being a part of the commons.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Brian Sanderson

    |

    Plastic water, I hate it. But they won’t let me wander around the gym with a glass bottle, so I have to fill a plastic bottle at the fountain. I did buy a metal bottle, but the damned thing turned out to be lined with, you guessed it, damned plastic. I hate it. I hate it!

    Plastic is full of chemicals that mimic female hormones. It is an outrage to manhood. Don’t drink that water:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J67wKhddWu4

    “Saving the Planet” is only a metaphor. Our species, for all our infantile self aggrandization, can neither save nor destroy a planet. What we can do is to make life miserable for large segments of our own species as well as for other species with which our niche-space intersects.

    Science and the age of reason should have ensured a congenial and satisfying life for ourselves and a harmonious relationship with all our planetmates. The only reason why this did not happen is because of rampant population growth.

    300 years after Isaac Newton and most people still don’t even understand Newtonian mechanics let alone evolution. And that is the problem, the Darwinian breeding strategy with which most of our so-called civilized society indulges itself.

    Strangely, it is those who understand Darwin least who are most Darwinian!

    Dave, you’re a gentleman. I’m either to drunk or to angry to be nice about it.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Dave Gardner

      |

      I used to feel I needed people to “forgive” the “saving the planet” metaphor, because it seemed the planet will do just fine and recover after humankind has burned out. But the news of the last few years about species extinction makes me feel humankind has become so big we really ARE seriously injuring the planet. It will never be the same (though it will, over time, heal itself after we’re gone). We should worry not only about the survival of human civilization, but also the health of the planet.

      I always appreciate your perspective, Brian.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Brian Sanderson

        |

        Yep, but be mindful that bodies are just a blip in the history of life. Let us all rejoice as humanity creates a steaming cesspool that will be just the latest and greatest in a real estate market for some swamp-dwelling, unicellular bacterium.

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Brian Sanderson

    |

    Whoops:
    I’m either to drunk or to angry to be nice about it.
    Should be:
    I’m either too drunk or too angry to be nice about it.

    I guess that it’s too drunk!

    Reply

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