Hooked on Growth

Section
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality
Page
3.9

Dave Gardner is the perfect heretic: softly-spoken, mild-mannered, unflappable and with a sense of humour; very hard to demonise and marginalise as ‘crazy’, ‘eccentric’, ‘dangerous’, ‘racist’, or ‘anti-people’. Heretics are, at best, dismissed – at worst, persecuted (e.g. see John Sinclair, Section 4.7) – so his quiet manner shouldn’t let us underestimate his tenacity and courage over decades in the face of growthmania at its epicentre – the USA.

Dave established the splendid Growthbusters website – https://www.growthbusters.org/ –  alluded to in Section 1.1.5, and has been bravely tackling the Sisyphean task of rolling back the giant growth ‘boulder’ ever since. In 2011 he wrote and directed the excellent ‘Hooked on Growth’ and you can watch the trailer here – GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth Trailer – Bing video – which runs for just under three minutes, or view the full, 54-minute documentary by going to the Growthbusters website and hiring it for $2.99 U.S., or purchasing it for $9.99 U.S.

Growthbusters summarise ‘Hooked on Growth’ thus:

“Water shortages, hunger, peak oil, species extinction, and even increasing depression are all symptoms of a deeper problem – addiction to unending growth in a world that has limits. ‘GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth’ goes way beyond prescribing Band-Aids to slow the bleeding. This film examines the cultural barriers that prevent us from reacting rationally to the evidence that current levels of population and consumption are unsustainable.

“It asks why the population conversations are so difficult to have. Why it’s more important to our society to have economic growth than clean air. Why communities seek and subsidize growth even when it destroys quality of life and increases taxes.

“Our growth-centric system is broken. It’s not providing the happiness or the prosperity we seek. But that’s good news; it means a shift to a sustainable model will be good for us. We’ll be happier and more prosperous!

Individual and public policy decisions today are informed by a powerful, pro-growth cultural bias. We worship at the Church of Growth Everlasting. Undeterred by the facts, we’re on a collision course powered by denial and the myth that growth brings prosperity. Before we can shift our civilization meaningfully, effectively, and substantially toward true sustainability, the world must be prepped. We must become self-aware and recognize the programming that keeps us hooked. GrowthBusters will do just that. We’ll hear from leading thinkers of our time – scientists, sociologists, economists – to help us separate fact from superstition.

Will we embrace it or go down fighting?

“From Las Vegas to Atlanta, Mexico City to Mumbai, the White House to the Vatican, GrowthBusters takes us on a whirlwind tour of growth mania. It’s Wild Kingdom with a twist: the cameras are turned on humanity as our own survival skills are examined. ‘GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth’ looks into the psychology of denial and crowd behavior. It explores our obsession with urban and economic growth, and our reluctance to address overpopulation issues head-on. This documentary holds up a mirror, encouraging us to examine the beliefs and behaviors we must leave behind – and the values we need to embrace – so our children can survive and thrive.”

 

(See also Section 5.5 ‘Population’, and 1.5.10, with notes).

Explore Other Replace the God of Growth with the God of Quality

3.1 Introduction

“The ‘economy’ became a god such as never before, and a happy, successful society was one that could please this god – sometimes by sacrificing beautiful things, to keep the deity from getting angry and harming people by withdrawing favours. And, ...

3.2 Sustainability

“Sustainable development – development that is likely to achieve lasting satisfaction of human needs and improvement of the quality of human life.” (Allen, R. 1980. Summarising the World Conservation Strategy1)   “Developm...

3.3 De-coupling Growth from Environmental Impact

After sustainability, the second and more recent prop for eternal growth, has been the notion of ‘de-coupling’; that growth does not, or need not, lead to environmental impact. Below are three responses to this assertion, starting with Ross Gittin...

3.4 Growth, Happiness and Diminishing Marginal Utility

Age economics’ journalist, Leon Gettler, nicely introduces the topic, below. He explores why “Most people want more income and strive for it. Yet as Western societies have become richer, their people are no happier than they were 50 years ago. In ...

3.5 The Slow City Movement

3.1-3.3 concentrated on our growth obsession and how it has been fostered and bolstered. 3.4 begun to undermine its hegemony with questions about its links, or lack thereof, to happiness and wellbeing, and now it’s time to turn our attention to an...

3.6 The Slow Food Movement

The Slow Food movement got underway before the Slow City movement and thus is, perhaps, more developed at this stage than the latter. Their website is a mine of information and they offer a range of services, networks and chapters. For instance: ...

3.7 The Slow Fashion Movement

Slow fashion is a more recent development than Slow Food and Slow Cities, but is based on the same idea – quality, not growth (quantity). The term arose in 2007 when textile consultant and author Kate Fletcher shone a light on the issue in The Eco...

3.8 Arts and Crafts and Artisan Movements

In many ways the modern ‘slow’ movements can be said to have come out of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th and early 20 centuries, which in turn had roots in medieval craft guilds. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London...

3.9 Hooked on Growth

Dave Gardner is the perfect heretic: softly-spoken, mild-mannered, unflappable and with a sense of humour; very hard to demonise and marginalise as ‘crazy’, ‘eccentric’, ‘dangerous’, ‘racist’, or ‘anti-people’. Heretics are, at best, dismissed - a...

Explore Other Sections

1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship 1.1 Articles 1.2 Art Installations 1.3 Books 1.4 Buildings 1.5 Film, Documentaries, Podcasts 1.6 Music 1.7 Paintings 1.8 Photographs 1.9 Poems 1.10 Spiritual Responses
1/11

1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship

This section is designed to foster appreciation and insight that will – hopefully – lead to novel ways to build a better relationship between human beings and Nature. This section is also atypical ...
2. Reduce Consumption
2. Reduce Consumption

2. Reduce Consumption

I hope Reneé Descartes would forgive us for saying that, at least for the modern world, he was wrong.  When, in 1637, he said: “I think, therefore I am”, he could not have anticipated that the majo...
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

In a supposedly secular age there has arisen a global religion and god like never before, a religion whose reach and power makes every other belief system before it seem pitiful and insignificant: ...
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

What we do in our day-to-day lives can have great impact. Section Four divides up these actions into three groups – Work (4.2 & 4.3), Volunteering (4.4), and Action, e.g. voting, protesting, et...
5. Reduce Population
5. Reduce Population

5. Reduce Population

Even on top of Mt. Everest, in one of the remotest, most difficult places on earth, there is a great traffic-jam of people jostling for position. And yet, ever more vociferously, we deny that overp...
6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context
6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context

6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context

The media is one of the three, great ‘poles’ of power in the world (alongside political and corporate power) and how they frame and present ‘the environment’ has a profound effect on how we respond...
7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species
7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species

7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species

New York is an exciting, mesmerising place. Human culture is extraordinary and often wonderful. Our powers of transformation of the natural world seem limitless. The trouble is, we don’t seem to be...
8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition
8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition

8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition

Our current energy largesse is an extraordinary ‘gift’, an unprecedented gift of the ages; millions of years to produce and from millions of years ago. Coal, oil and gas, forming...
9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems
9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems

9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems

Just as with the previous section – ‘Energy’ – which is, inescapably, all about fossil fuels so pre-eminent and extraordinary has been their dominance and transformation of the world in the last 20...
10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation
10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

Section 10 will attempt to organise this enormous topic by addressing the context and status of pollution in 10.2, before focussing in on air pollution; particularly greenhouse gas pollution and cl...