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Too Much of a Good Thing: Richard Heinberg

Shall we form an Anti-Collapse Coalition?

“Once a species becomes powerful enough to take over a planet, then is it also intelligent enough to understand the limits to its own power?” This is a question posed in the new book, Power: Limits and Prospects for Human Survival. Author Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow at Post Carbon Institute and author of 13 books, including Power Down, The Party’s Over, and The End of Growth.

Richard shares what his research has revealed about humankind’s cultivation of power, including how we abuse it and how that now threatens our very existence. 

“The sheer power of the Superorganism is staggering. Each year, it cuts and uses up to seven billion trees; it excavates 24 million metric tons of copper and nine billion short tons of coal; and it produces (and brews and drinks) one billion tons of coffee. In order to mine resources and construct buildings and highways, it moves up to 80 billion tons of soil and rock — over twice the amount moved by all natural forces such as rivers, glaciers, ocean, and wind. The Superorganism is taking control of Earth, and the Anthropocene is its era of dominance.”

We discuss the importance of trust in the possible scenario that doesn’t drive us right off a cliff. The book is an effort to shift the conversation, to shift our culture – from one seeking and worshipping materialism, consumerism and more and more economic and population growth, to one that values beauty and self-limitation.


Power: Limits and Prospects for Human Survival – by Richard Heinberg

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On the GrowthBusters podcast, we come to terms with the limits to growth, explore the joy of sustainable living, and provide a recovery program from our society’s growth addiction (economic/consumption and population). This podcast is part of the GrowthBusters project to raise awareness of overshoot and end our culture’s obsession with, and pursuit of, growth.

Dave Gardner directed the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which Stanford Biologist Paul Ehrlich declared “could be the most important film ever made.”

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