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Erika and Dave dig into the more fascinating aspects of sustainable living - including the joy of living sustainably. It’s all about ending our culture’s love affair with “more,” which is not making us happier and is killing our planet. No half-hearted greenwashing here; we share the brutal and joyful truth! Dave directed the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which Stanford Biologist Paul Ehrlich declared “could be the most important film ever made.”

Aug 10, 2018

We should NOT be celebrating (or pursuing) 4.1% economic growth, according to co-host Dave Gardner. Listen to this podcast to find out why pursuing GDP growth today is suicidal. Also on tap, listener comments about Earth Overshoot Day (the subject of our last podcast), and more single-use plastics we want to avoid. Dave stumps us with this question: What single-use disposable item do we want to see used more widely? Try to guess before Dave gives you the answer halfway into this episode.

In this episode we hear U.S. President Donald Trump brag about economic growth at a 4.1% annualized rate. Even his sharpest critics celebrate robust growth, as we hear from Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe. Many economists responded to this news that they don’t think we can keep that growth rate up, but their reasons differ from Dave’s. On a finite planet, perpetual growth in economic throughput is impossible.

Here’s the spreadsheet Dave discusses in this episode:

Spreadsheet showing 4.1% annual GDP growth

Forget an economy 1 million times the size of today’s, do you think one planet Earth can support even twice today’s level of resource extraction, energy use, and waste (including carbon) emissions? 

Here's one of the GrowthBusters videos mentioned in which Dave gives away Endangered Species Condoms:

One of the Endangered Species Condoms packages courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity:

Explore the relationship between economic growth and sustainability at these websites and books:

Economics in a Full World by Herman Daly in Scientific American

The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy

Limits to Growth (1972 MIT Study)


Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train: Errant Economists, Shameful Spenders, and a Plan to Stop Them All

Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution

Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources


Sustainability News+Views (newsletter we recommend)

Laura Carroll (we mentioned her tweet and book)

GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth (documentary Dave recommended - and directed!)

The Single-Use Plastics You Never Thought About and 13 Simple Swaps
By Heidi Bischof on Medium

Collapsible Straws:

A collapsible straw to attach to keychain (subscribe and order links don't seem to be working; we've reached out to see what's going on here)

Another collapsible straw

Endangered Species Condoms (Center for Biological Diversity)