Have you heard the phrase “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.”? It sounds extreme. Then it makes sense and you can’t see it otherwise.
Similarly: nothing in sustainability works except if we first address and solve population. If you’re like most people, including me until I learned of Mechai Viravaidya and his peers, you reflexively think of China’s One Child policy or eugenics when anyone mentions solving population, along with forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and racism. Viravaidya and his peers did the opposite of forced. Through voluntary, noncoercive means they improved health, longevity, stability, equality, and more by lowering birth rates.
I remember as a kid hearing about “zero population growth” and ZPG movements. Mainstream society lost the ability to talk about population, which is like biologists losing the ability to talk about evolution.
Some are restarting talking about population, including Michael Bayliss at the Post-Growth Australia podcast. We spoke candidly about population. He works with former guest on This Sustainable Life, Jane O’Sullivan, whom I also talked population with so I recommend listening to her episodes with me too.
Even if you listen to a lot of my podcasts, I recommend listening to sharing complex topics on other podcasts. On This Sustainable Life I try to showcase guests. Michael gave me the chance to share about an important topic I don’t get to talk openly about, even on my own podcast.
Bonus episode: Michael also appeared on This Sustainable Life: Solve for Nature, with host Eugene Bible, one of the other branches of this podcast family. I recommend listening to that episode too to learn more of Michael’s views of population, as someone who has researched, reflected, and acted on it.
Here are Michael’s notes from the podcast:
â€œI started bringing leadership into the environment. Because I felt like thereâ€™s a lot of people telling other people what to do, spreading facts and figures. But no-one really making it enjoyable. Saying youâ€™re going to like this, youâ€™re going to wish you started earlier, speaking from personal experience.â€
Joshua Spodek is a bestseller author, multiple TEDx talker and host of award winning podcast â€œThis Sustainable Lifeâ€. Joshua is a huge advocate for the environment and for system change toward a post-growth planet. He takes his politics into his home life and made some incredible life transformations in his mission to living more sustainably. So, how has a move toward a meat-free life of no food packaging and no plane miles played out for our special guest on the Season 3 Premiere of PGAP? Is this a life of wilful deprivation and martyrdom? Or have these personal challenges transformed his life into one of joy and a different kind of abundance? Joshua tells all through amusing personal anecdotes coupled with an incredibly well-read and researched outlook on the world.
â€œWe have to change ourselves if we expect others to change. Being right isâ€¦.really annoying.â€ – Joshua Spodek
Welcome back to Post-Growth Australia Podcast after a brief hiatus. I for one am very honoured to be launching the Season 3 Premiere of PGAP with such as distinguished guest as Joshua Spodek. His long history in public speaking alone will ensure that your ears are serenaded for the next 60 minutes! A cursory viewing of any of his TEDx talks will prove my point: here; here; or here;
You may also have noticed that PGAP has had a bit of face-lift, with an update to the graphics courtesy of Squeaky Pea designs. I hope you like the changes! Looking forward to a mammoth season 3 with a stellar array of amazing guests. The new intro sounds for Season 3 PGAP provided courteousy of Perth composer Nicholas Gardiner. Find out more here.
â€œGrowth on its own means always craving what you donâ€™t have. It means craving. It means â€˜never satisfiedâ€™.â€ â€“ Joshua Spodek
I first discovered Joshua big time when he interviewed my colleague from Sustainable Population Australia, Dr. Jane Oâ€™Sullivan on his podcast â€˜This Sustainable Life.â€™ Jane was invited to discuss a recent discussion paper she wrote for SPA debunking the ageing population crisis myth. â€˜Silver Tsunami or Silver Lining: Why we should not fear an ageing populationâ€™ is available on the SPA website and makes for very eye-opening reading.
The link to the interview can be found here. â€˜This Sustainable Lifeâ€™ is an amazing podcast series where big name guests are invited to make personal changes to their lives â€“ for the inspiration of all! I myself have an interview coming up on the offshoot podcast series â€˜This Sustainable Life: Solve For Nature.â€™ Stay tuned!
_ â€œEfficiency in a finite world with growth leads to scarcity.â€ _â€“ Joshua Spodek
In the introduction to this episode I brought up how Australia is facing a urea shortage which has potentially dire consequences for our diesel and trucking industries (whould woulda thunk?) If you are interested in reading more, have a gander here.
The above is just one symptom of what will soon be a much larger chain of supply chain issues and resource scarcity. Last month I shared around this article â€œItâ€™s Not a Supply Chain Crisis â€” Itâ€™s a Failing Economyâ€ on my Twitter feed just in time for the festive season! Want me to discuss limits to growth at YOUR next festive event? Pick up the phone – I’m a literal SCREAM at parties!
_ â€œnext time youâ€™re stuck in Traffic, next time youâ€™re waiting in line some place, imagine a world of 2 billion people.â€_
Sustainable Population Australia, who support this podcast, arenâ€™t claiming to turn the worldâ€™s numbers back to 2 billion overnight, but they are loudly advocating for an equitable world with equitable access to family planning and reproductive health services. They are also advocating to decouple population policy in Australia from the narrow interests of big business and big finance. Have a look at their â€˜Letâ€™s Rethink Big Australiaâ€™ campaign.
â€œmy swimming upstream makes it so that others feel theyâ€™re swimming downstream â€“ and then it feels like Iâ€™m swimming downstream as well.â€
If you loved this episode we have some choice PGAP recommendations for you. Amrit Sandhu from Season 2 ‘Inspired Evolution’ episode is also a podcast host and a personal transformation coach. Meg and Patrick from Artist as Family, who premiered season 2, live through example in their â€˜neo-peasantryâ€™ homestead in Victoria, Australia. Lastly, Nandita Bajaj, director of Population Balance, is another vegan in North America who lives a minimalist lifestyle and advocates for a sustainable population.
Til next time, til then!
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