World Population Day (WPD), established by the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, falls on July 11th every year and focuses attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.
Hopefully most of us can agree that empowerment of women, choice and agency in regards to family size and worldwide access to affordable family planning and contraception services is a moral imperative. Not only are they essential human rights but, once in place, they lead to smaller family sizes, which are better for families, communities and the planet.
Listen in as Earth Overshoot's Terry Spahr discusses the global consequences of our human numbers and why family planning is an essential solution to many of the social and environmental problems we face on a global scale.
The 12-minute interview with Terry starts at minute 6 on the podcast.
I just finished the book Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle by Daniel L. Everett. Thank you to Perran for recommending it. A riveting account of the astonishing experiences and discoveries made by linguist Daniel Everett while he lived with the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in … Continue reading "Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel Everett"
Thanks to Apneaman for bringing this image to my attention, it’s very interesting. This info-graphic was constructed from a list of cognitive biases assembled by a team of experts collaborating via Wikipedia over a 15 year period. A cognitive bias is defined as: A cognitive bias is a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or … Continue reading "Biased Cognitive Biases"
I just finished Sabine Hossenfelder‘s book Lost in Math. Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics … Continue reading "Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math"
Earth Overshoot Executive Director Terry Spahr sent his youngest son off into the world with a personal message that reflects his feelings about nature, sustainability and the changing nature of "normal." What lies ahead for the Class of 2020?
I first reviewed Harari’s book 5 years ago here. After watching this book sit near the top of popular book lists for several years I thought I should re-read it to see if I missed something. I posted the following refreshed review on Goodreads. Another fine example of Panglossian cognitive dissonance in the tradition of … Continue reading "Yuval Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (revisited)"
Every year Nate Hagens gives a talk on Earth Day. I missed the announcement of his talk a month ago, perhaps because I killed my social media accounts, but better late than never. Nate’s presentation as usual is excellent, and this year he provides thoughts on how the virus may influence our overshoot predicament. Here … Continue reading "By Nate Hagens: Earth Day 2020 – The State of the Species"
Greenpeace International Co-Founder Rex Weyler gets real on climate change, sustainability and overshoot.
Enjoy this interview, courtesy of our friends at Rewilding Earth, with the straight talk Weyler is known for including the one solution that most environmentalists refuse to tackle as well as his hope for the future of humanity and nature.
Earth Overshoot Executive Director Terry Spahr reviews the book, "Planet of 3 Billion" by Chris Tucker, which details the role our human numbers play in the global environmental and societal problems currently facing the planet.
Gail Tverberg is one of my favorite thinkers and has been writing about our overshoot predicament for years. In today’s essay she makes the most specific predictions I’ve seen on the probable outcomes of the economic deceleration caused by the Wuhan virus. I suspect most of her predictions will happen, but I’m not confident on … Continue reading "Gail Tverberg on what to expect…"
Does it take a deadly virus to make a global population of almost 8 billion people reduce their consumption? Terry Spahr, founder of Earth Overshoot explains what 57 years of record keeping tells us.
OPEC backs biggest oil cut since 2008 crisis, awaits Russia OPEC agreed on Thursday to cut oil output by an extra 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second quarter of 2020 to support prices that have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak, but made its action conditional on Russia and others joining in. … Continue reading "Providing Alcohol to an Alcoholic"
More evidence that intelligence and education do not reduce reality denial, and that the strength of denial is proportional to the unpleasantness of the reality, as Varki’s Mind Over Reality Transition theory predicts. Two hundred scientists were recently surveyed on their perceptions of global risks. https://futureearth.org/initiatives/other-initiatives/grp/the-report/ Top risks by likelihood: 1. Extreme weather 2. Biodiversity … Continue reading "Denial is Proportional to the Unpleasantness of the Reality"
Terry Spahr explains how our ability to both spread and combat pandemics and other disease outbreaks is connected to our fossil fuel addiction
I finally got around to watching the top grossing movies of 2018 and 2019, Avengers: Infinity War ($2.1 billion) and Avengers: Endgame ($2.8 billion). This type of movie, with extreme fantasy super heroes and over the top special effects, is not my cup of tea, but I decided to watch them to get some insight … Continue reading "On the Avengers and Denial"
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?"