We are the most successful large animal species in the history of the planet. Our success is evident in our global population growth from a billion in 1804 to 7 billion today that has been fueled by the impact of the industrial revolution..
We have been successful in supporting this growth through innovation. Starting with our harnessing the use of fire, we have continuously developed new ways to expand our use of the planet’s resources, and our ability to lead more and more comfortable lives.
These innovations have always come at a cost. For instance, when we look at Mayan civilization, we find that their advancement as a culture was founded on their ability to grow their agricultural base. At some point, their population outstripped the available resources and the civilization quickly disappeared.
Are we at a similar moment that will be experienced on a global scale? One of the people who has been exploring this question is Richard Heinberg. Richard has been studying the human impact on the planet, particularly our use of fossil fuels, for decades.
His latest book is The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, where he makes a compelling argument that the global economy has reached a fateful turning point. Richard proposes that we can continue to thrive if we maximize happiness rather than the pursuit of growth at any cost.
Whether you believe Richard’s perspective or not, you will find this interview to be compelling and to leave you with food for thought.
Listen to this conversation | Download MP3