Posts By Dave Gardner

With human activity disrupting the climate, do we have a moral imperative not to have children, or to have only one child? Bioethicist Travis Rieder dares to explore this bold question with sensitivity and scientific rigor. Rieder shares his logic in the short book, Toward a Small Family Ethic: How Overpopulation and Climate Change are Affecting the Morality of Procreation. It starts with the fact that deciding not to have one child is over 20 times more effective at reducing…

How can policymakers be persuaded to abandon the most widespread public policy goal on Earth? In our last episode, Brian Czech explained that economic growth cannot be sustained perpetually on a finite planet. This episode continues that conversation with the conservation biologist and economics expert. Here, he explains why pro-growth economists proliferate, and offers his prescription for making the shift to a steady state economy. Brian Czech is founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady…

Economic growth is the number one public policy goal around the world, yet our pursuit of growth is “pulling out the rug from our own kids’ and grandkids’ future,” according to Brian Czech, founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. He wants us to understand economic growth is physically impossible to sustain on a finite planet, it’s depleting nonrenewable natural resources and degrading or eliminating crucial habitat for other species. Czech authored Shoveling…

Was globalization a temporary state that has run its course? That’s the case made by Jerry Mander, who believes there is plenty of evidence that the promises of capitalism, consumerism, individual wealth and never-ending growth are coming up empty. He’s founder of the International Forum on Globalization and author of The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local. He also wrote The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System in 2012. Jerry Mander is…

Hollywood director Tom Shadyac traded a mansion and private jets for a mobile home and a bicycle. He had found the traditional trappings of success were not the key to happiness. After a successful Hollywood comedy career and a near-death bicycle accident, Tom eagerly shares his discoveries about life and happiness. In part two of a two-episode conversation, Shadyac discusses technology, morality, competition, success and politics. His documentary, I Am, explored what’s wrong with the world and what we can…

Tom Shadyac is a successful Hollywood comedy director who found the traditional trappings of success were not the key to happiness. He traded a mansion and private jets for a mobile home and a bicycle. After a bicycle accident that nearly killed him, he decided it was time to tell a different kind of story. His documentary, I Am, featured interviews with Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, and others about what’s wrong with the world and what we can…

While world leaders wring their hands over forecasts of timid GDP growth, a growing list of visionaries around the world are collaborating to redefine economic objectives in a more meaningful and sustainable way. Former White House advisor Gus Speth has been at the forefront of new economic thought for decades. His prescription for change is not a bunch of economic mumbo-jumbo for boards and bankers. His ideas reach deep into the way we conduct our personal lives. We need to…

How we inhabit our homes, our lives, and the planet. Architect Sarah Susanka observed that houses in the U.S. were getting larger – but some rooms were seldom occupied, and often not even furnished. She found clients frequently did not get the immense satisfaction they expected from living in their “dream house.” How this relates to the way we inhabit our lives, and even the planet, is the subject of this conversation. Sarah Susanka’s observations of Americans’ dissatisfaction with their…

Our computer-generated scenarios all showed this growth stopping in the early decades of the 21st century, and, I must say, looking back now, it seems that we're right on schedule.” Dennis Meadows led the team at MIT whose computer simulations led to the publication of the top-selling environmental book of all time – The Limits to Growth. Scientists built on Jay Forester’s pioneering system dynamics work to chart future trends of five variables, analyzing how they would influence one another.…

Relocalization may be the most important strategy for minimizing climate change. According to Bill McKibben, “working as communities is the most important thing that we can be doing right now.” In this wide-ranging conversation about the sustainability of our civilization, McKibben shares his thinking about much more than climate change, including the fact that having “more” is not necessarily the key to our happiness. For a long time more and better were pretty much in the same direction….But sometime, and…

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