I can’t believe it’s not obvious to everyone that driving the problems of pollution, global warming, resource depletion, extinctions, conflict over resources, pestilence, and related issues is overpopulation. It’s not the only issue, but it’s one of the main drivers. Maybe the main one.
People have a weird knee-jerk response to think the opposite of overpopulation is eugenics, Nazism, killing, giving up modernity, returning to living in caves, economic collapse under too many old people, or other bizarre misunderstandings.
We’re all going to die. We don’t have to kill anyone. We’ve increased our productivity by enough that we can support older populations. Lowering a population only means having fewer children for a while. Humans have done so where the environment prevented population growth for as long as we’ve been human, such as on islands.
Anyway, I’m happy to say that the piece I wrote for Inc., Economics Is Wrong About Growth and It’s Ruining Everything, got “Wall of Fame honors” by a page called “Growth Bias Busted.” The page writes in a different style than mine, but I’m glad people are on the vanguard of a change we as a species have to make to lower our population if we don’t want nature to do it for us, which won’t be as pleasant, as in nature will do it through famine, disease, war, and such, and leave the people left with a world polluted with trash that will take thousands of years to decompose.
From that page:
WHY BUST PRO-GROWTH BIAS?
“We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.”
– Buckminster Fuller
Once upon a time, growth in population, economic throughput and consumption led to increasing prosperity. As we filled up the world, the link between growth and prosperity broke. We’re consuming resources faster than the Earth can replenish them and working ourselves to death in service to an economy that demands more, more, more.
Today, growth is more likely to result in lower quality of life, less economic, social and personal well-being, and therefore less true prosperity. The old model no longer serves us, but we’ve all been programmed from birth to believe in the link between growth and prosperity. Much of that programming comes to us via the media.
Here are just a few headlines pulled directly from the news, exemplifying the pervasive assumption that growth leads to prosperity:
- Northeast Texas Population Growth Positive but Lags Behind State
- Japan: A Demographic Problem with Obvious Solutions
- Inland Growth Slows Amid Sluggish Economy
- GDP Growth Better Than Expected, Still Weak
- Positive Sign: Housing Starts in U.S. Surpass 1 Million in March
- Anemic Economic Growth Seen Limiting Oil Demand
Today, journalists and commentators, who themselves were raised on a steady diet of what can now be accurately termed the growth/prosperity fairy tale, are not keeping up with the evidence and knowledge base that tell us growth is not essential for prosperity; in fact continued growth guarantees less prosperity in the future.
We developed Growth Bias Busted to shine a spotlight on the repetition of that fairy tale in reporting and commentary.
Our mission is to enlighten journalists and news organizations, and encourage them to begin questioning those unexamined assumptions about prosperity from growth. For the more stubborn, eventually we’ll embarrass them into reporting more accurately on the costs, consequences and limits to growth.
You are a key part of our plan. We’re counting on you to help in this effort by sharing the stories we highlight, by nominating examples of pro-growth bias you find in the media, and by contributing financial support to keep this project going.
If you want to learn more about our culture’s addiction to growth, limits to growth, and some of the keys to living a good life without stealing from future generations, please explore www.growthbusters.org and view the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth.
Read my weekly newsletter
Subscribe for a weekly update of musings on leadership, the environment, and burpees.