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Covered in this discussion: the population versus consumption debate, and the obstacles to recognizing overpopulation as the root cause of climate change, fresh water shortages, and environmental degradation.
2019 has been a year of tremendous growth and change for Earth Overshoot. With your support, we look forward to accomplishing much in 2020 as we strive to bring sustainability to our world.
Unsustainable population growth is being increasingly acknowledged around the world as the primary driver of environmental degradation as the public becomes frustrated with the lack of progress that is being and can be made merely by addressing the symptoms including climate change. Earth Overshoot will continue to work to change social norms that result in a healthier planet for all.
Climate change is blamed for seemingly every environmental emergency, but the catastrophic decline in the bird population points to a more fundamental problem. Learn more here.
Dr. Ajit Varki, the scientist who inspired this blog with his book, published a paper for a new book today, which expands on his Mind Over Reality Transition (MORT) theory. Varki, in the past, has been self-critical of his 2013 book feeling that it did not receive the time and polish that his theory deserved. It … Continue reading "Ajit Varki: Our Only Hope is Legitimate Fear-Mongering"
Ronald Wright presented his book “A Short History of Progress” in 2004 via the Massey Lectures that were broadcast by CBC Radio. It’s my all time favorite lecture series and I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times. You can listen to it here. Last month Wright launched the 15th anniversary edition of his … Continue reading "By Ronald Wright: A Short History of Progress Revisited"
Tim Watkins, with some help from Chris Martenson, is very good today. I observe that people fighting for our species to acknowledge its predicament, like Extinction Rebellion, are as much in denial as the people they oppose. In his last section, Watkins suggests that the environmental movement has a choice to make between two paths. … Continue reading "By Tim Watkins: What Extinction Rebellion is Getting Wrong"
Yesterday, the leader of the world’s largest and strongest economy called his central banker a “bonehead” for not lowering interest rates below zero. ….The USA should always be paying the the lowest rate. No Inflation! It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other … Continue reading "On Boneheads"
Earth Overshoot Executive Director dispels the concept of technology as the holy grail of environmental salvation.
Today Nate Hagens released a new series of short courses on the human predicament created for the University of Minnesota NEXUS ONE freshman program. More information on Nate’s educational initiatives can be found at the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future (ISEOF). You can also find another excellent Reality 101 course … Continue reading "By Nate Hagens: Reality 101 Short Courses"
Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. Overshoot is a systemic issue. In recent decades, as climate change has come to dominate environmental concerns, there has been a significant shift in the discussion. Our failure to see climate change in context may be our undoing.
Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, skillfully explains why systemic change driven by a moral awakening, and not technology, is our only hope to solve our biggest environmental problem. Reposted from EcoWatch.
I don’t read ZeroHedge much anymore because they don’t understand and/or deny the relationship between energy, overshoot, and the economy. Today the US Fed lowered the interest rate so I had a peak at ZeroHedge to see what the knuckleheads were saying. It seems we’re approaching a Minsky Moment. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-31/endgame-starting-2024-all-us-debt-issuance-will-be-used-pay-only-interest-debt Endgame: Starting In 2024, All … Continue reading "Endgame"
Earth Overshoot Executive Director Terry Spahr explains how promoting smaller families can ensure our individual freedoms in the form of sustainability, prosperity and peace.
Something big has recently changed in our culture. We no longer accept any unpleasant reality, no matter the costs of denying it, nor the benefits it might return in the long run. For example, parents who do not permit their children to play unsupervised for fear of a scuff. And school teachers who no longer … Continue reading "Removing the Safety Valves"
A year ago I wrote an essay that tried to capture the depth and breadth of our predicament, and that offered a simple idea for increasing awareness, gratefulness, and temperance. If you’re not an engineer the essay may be a painful read because my goal was to communicate maximum content with minimum words in … Continue reading "Saving the World by Recycling My Garbage"
A report issued by the United Nations last week states that up to 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction with devastating implications for human survival. How did we get to this point?
The concise modern history of the Fire Ape, also known as Homo Sapiens Oblivion Oblivious. Thanks to Tim Watkins for finding this graphic.
Notice the tight correlation between CO2 emissions per person and standard of living: That’s not a coincidence as physicist Tim Garrett has explained: https://un-denial.com/?s=Tim+Garrett%3A So if we ever decide to do something effective about climate change (assuming it’s not already too late due to self-reinforcing feedback loops) then that solution must include some combination … Continue reading "Mashup"
In the movie, The Matrix, Keanu Reeves' character, Neo, observes his current life and senses foreboding, a palpable feeling that something else is unfolding around him to which he and everyone else is oblivious.
Xraymike79 doesn’t write very much anymore, but when he does, he’s awesome. Here are a few excerpts from today’s essay that stood out for me, but the whole thing is worth your time. https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/2019/02/19/the-inconvenient-truth-of-modern-civilizations-inevitable-collapse/ Today’s global consumption of fossil fuels now stands at roughly five times what it was in the 1950s, and one-and-half times … Continue reading "By xraymike79: The Inconvenient Truth of Modern Civilization’s Inevitable Collapse"
One Strange Rock is a 10 part, 8 hour documentary produced in 2018 by Darren Aronofsky and hosted by Will Smith and 8 space station astronauts. I’ve watched a lot of nature/science documentaries in my life, and I’ve probably seen most of the good ones, but I say without hesitation that One Strange Rock is the best. … Continue reading "One Strange Rock: A Must Watch"
So many Canadian trees are dying that on balance our forests emit more carbon than they sequester. The Canadian government is trying to weasel out of our CO2 reduction commitments by claiming that CO2 from our trees should not be counted because they are dying due to forest fires and insect infestations, which are … Continue reading "The Canadian Weasel: A Whiny Species"
Tad Patzek, a professor of petroleum engineering and physicist, gave a talk on January 16, 2019 at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. His talk is titled “How Can We Salvage Our Global Civilization?” however Patzek does not answer his own question. Instead he reviews the brief history of … Continue reading "By Tad Patzek: On Human Overshoot"
Nate Hagens just released a new video course titled “Reality 101” that he produced for honors freshman at the University of Minnesota where he teaches. The course is backed by 15 years of research into energy by Nate, and distills his 45 hour university course of the same name into 2 hours of video. I’ve … Continue reading "By Nate Hagens: Reality 101: What every student (and citizen) should know about energy"
Thanks to James at Megacancer for bringing my attention to this 2011 essay by Dr. Michael Mills, an associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles California. The interests of Dr. Mills include the evolutionary psychology of peak oil. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201111/how-avoid-population-overshoot-and-collapse In this essay Mills demonstrates an excellent understanding of human overshoot, and uses … Continue reading "By Michael Mills: How to Avoid Population Overshoot and Collapse"
Chris Martenson is a rare journalist with a wide view and deep understanding that is able to connect the dots between ecology, economy, energy, and human overshoot. Martenson’s free video course titled “The Crash Course” is the best place to start for someone wishing to get educated on our predicament. Martenson yesterday published an … Continue reading "By Chris Martenson: Collapse is Already Here"
https://www.quora.com/How-would-you-feel-about-a-global-1-child-policy-to-help-slow-down-the-population-growth/answer/Jack-Alpert Jack Alpert here explains that a one-child policy will not reduce our population fast enough to avoid the starvation of over 8 billion people this century. Our survival is totally dependent on rapidly depleting non-renewable resources, especially oil and other fossil energy, but also aquifer water, and minerals. Our survival also depends on … Continue reading "By Jack Alpert: Why a One Child Policy is Not Sufficient"
If you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are a variety of different ways to be more charitable without spending money. Here are some ideas to try.
Gail Zawacki is an important thinker, activist, and chronicler of human overshoot. You can find my favorite work by Gail here, and all of Gail’s work at her blog Wit’s End. Gail’s largest contribution has been to bring attention to the worldwide decline of tree health due to the rising concentration of ground level ozone caused … Continue reading "By Gail Zawacki: Why Are Climate Scientists Less Than Truthful?"
Tad Patzek is a professor of engineering working on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival, and food and energy supply for humanity. Because Patzek is an engineer, and not an economist, you can pretty much believe everything he says.
I’m an atheist without a supernatural bone in my body. When I die my “spirit” will extinguish into nothing forever. This reality does not trouble me or cause me to wish that I denied death with some form of religion or spirituality, as do most of my 8 billion close cousins. Given that I’m a … Continue reading "On Meaning"
A succinct climate change status report by Tom Lewis… Here, in the 18th year of the New Millennium, the 28th Year of Our Internet (delivering unlimited information to all), and the 30th year of the Great Harangue over Climate Change (dating it from James Hansen’s testimony to the Senate), this is where we are: The world’s … Continue reading "By Tom Lewis: It’s Too Late to Brace for Impact"
I’m a long-time admirer of the intellect and work of Gail Zawacki, the self-described Diva of Doom. You can find some of my favorites by Gail that I’ve posted here, and all of Gail’s work at her blog Wit’s End. Here in a new 60 minute interview with Sam Mitchell, Gail provides an articulate description of the … Continue reading "By Gail Zawacki: Diva of Doom Interview"
Thanks to a friend for bringing my attention to this recent essay on human nature. The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology https://aeon.co/ideas/the-bad-news-on-human-nature-in-10-findings-from-psychology It’s a question that’s reverberated through the ages – are humans, though imperfect, essentially kind, sensible, good-natured creatures? Or are we, deep down, wired to be bad, blinkered, … Continue reading "What if we’re denying something else?"
A cursory look at human history or the genetic behavior of monkeys confirms that it is unwise for societies to permit the wealth gap between the rich and the majority to become too wide. Especially when the standard of living of the majority is falling. Brexit, Trump, and the yellow vests are examples of increasing social … Continue reading "Eat the rich, save the planet?"
Tim Watkins today published a superb essay on our overshoot predicament. It’s enough to temporarily restore one’s faith in humanity to find someone who thinks and writes as clearly as Watkins. http://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2018/12/11/climbing-everest-in-high-heels/ Britain has – apparently – been thrown into crisis overnight. Meanwhile across the channel, French president Macron is desperately trying to extinguish the … Continue reading "By Tim Watkins: Climbing Everest in High Heels (aka “It’s the overshoot, stupid”)"
What would happen if we all put on yellow vests and protested in the streets? Governments would panic and hand out printed money since that’s their only option for providing more stuff in the short-term. As a consequence, the riots would stop, CO2 emissions would immediately increase, and a few months later currency destroying inflation … Continue reading "Yellow Vests"
Hugh Montgomery is a respected physician and scientist who discovered the first gene related to fitness. His side interests apparently include running 100 km ultra marathons, authoring children’s books, and climate change activism. In this 40 minute talk he provides a superb big picture summary of the human overshoot predicament. This was my first exposure to … Continue reading "By Hugh Montgomery: Are Humans Like a Virus on Planet Earth?"
You know you are in trouble when the only comfortable place is a razor’s edge. When oil prices are rising we can soon expect trouble from reduced economic growth and inflation. When oil prices are falling we can soon expect trouble from a slowing economy and deflation; and we can also expect oil shortages … Continue reading "Comfort on a Razor’s Edge"
Step aside all you established peak oil and climate change pontificators. There’s a new badass in town and he’s an engineer who specializes in energy and climate which means you don’t stand a chance.
A friend just introduced me to Peter Watts, a Canadian biologist, author, and blogger. I wish I could think and write half as well as this guy. Here are a few more of Watts’ quotes that I like… Reap the whirlwind, you miserable fuckers. May your children choke on it. People aren’t rational. We’re not thinking … Continue reading "By Peter Watts: The Adorable Optimism of the IPCC"
Sustainability is perhaps the most misused and misunderstood word in the human vocabulary. Most people who advocate sustainability have good intentions but no idea what they’re talking about. Jack Alpert is an exception. He’s spent a lifetime thinking about the human overshoot predicament and what we could and must do for our species to continue … Continue reading "By Jack Alpert: On Sustainability (without the bullshit)"
Tim Watkins today published a superb big picture essay explaining the troubling trends in our economy that everyone sees but few understand. It’s a great primer for anyone curious why the stories they hear from their leaders and news media don’t make sense. If you’re the kind of person that needs hope, Watkins advises … Continue reading "By Tim Watkins: The Three Vortices of Doom (energy, debt, state)"
A friend reminded me of this 2011 essay written by the brilliant physicist Tom Murphy. I read it when Murphy first published it but I had forgotten how good it was so I’ve dusted it off in the hope that it sees more daylight. https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/10/the-energy-trap/ Many Do the Math posts have touched on the inevitable … Continue reading "By Tom Murphy: The Energy Trap (we all scream for ice cream)"
Thanks to Apneaman for bringing my attention to a new blog by Tim Garrett. Garrett is the most important and least recognized physicist in the world, having explained and quantified the relationship between energy consumption and economic wealth. You can find other work by Garrett that I’ve posted here. This most recent essay provides a nice … Continue reading "By Tim Garrett: The Global Economy, Heat Engines, and Economic Collapse"
There are two and only two topics required to understand the basis of every success and problem in our civilization: thermodynamics and genetic behavior. By thermodynamics I mean: the laws of thermodynamics that govern our universe the relationships between energy, economy, wealth, population, and pollution the relationship between debt and surplus energy the maximum power … Continue reading "On Famous Polymaths"
I haven’t posted anything by Kunstler for a while. When he’s occasionally good, he’s really good, like today. http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-uncomfortable-hiatus/ And so the sun seems to stand still this last day before the resumption of business-as-usual, and whatever remains of labor in this sclerotic republic takes its ease in the ominous late summer heat, and the … Continue reading "By James Kunstler: The Uncomfortable Hiatus"
Click here for more photos and videos My good friend Ian and I have regularly hiked Strathcona Park since we were 16 in 1975. We decided to celebrate turning 60 by tackling the toughest hike in the park. The first 3 days on Phillips Ridge were excellent although the “undulations” and “lots of down” were … Continue reading "Arnica Lake to Elk River Hike"
A good friend and I are departing tomorrow on an epic 6-8 day hike in Strathcona Park to celebrate turning 60 this year. The two of us began hiking this beautiful park located in the center of Vancouver Island in 1976, as this picture of me on a peak proves. Our path, with 60+ … Continue reading "If this blog goes dark…"