Maximizing Power with Fewer Children

Most people who are expert on our overshoot predicament and the behaviors that enabled it believe two things:

  1. The Maximum Power Principle (MPP) governs our behavior.
  2. We have no free will.

These beliefs lead to the following conclusions:

  1. Our overshoot predicament was inevitable.
  2. There is nothing that can be done to improve the outcome.

A recent comment by Apneaman here is a good example of this belief.

Overpopulation is baked in and so is the remedy (die-back).

I don’t see breeding less as a choice. Survival & reproduction are what life does. Evolution & the MPP are non negotiable.

I don’t think it’s possible to study how life works and not come to the conclusion that we are governed by the MPP and have no free will. I accept these as facts.

I also know that we are the only species with sufficient intelligence to understand the reality of our overshoot predicament, its implications, and to calculate the best course of action.

Most paths are blocked by powerful constraints:

  1. We can’t grow out of our predicament (finite planet)
  2. New technology won’t help (energy depletion)

The best path given the constraints is voluntary rapid population reduction because every overshoot related problem we face improves with fewer people, and because reducing the population will minimize suffering.

So the key question becomes, is it possible to voluntarily reduce the population without violating the MPP?

I’m not an expert on the MPP, and so acknowledge risk of being proven wrong here, but I’m thinking there is some evidence that we could voluntarily reduce the population and not violate the MPP.

It seems there are conditions where max power requires fewer children. For example, families choose to have fewer children when some combination of the following conditions exist:

  • no dependence on children for survival in old age (low risk power will go to zero too soon)
  • not dependent on children for labor (power maximized with fossil energy)
  • success (max power) requires expensive education & income is sufficient to educate few children
  • childcare expenses are high (too many children risks all failing with suboptimal total power)
  • mothers are educated with careers (too many children reduces mother’s power)

This evidence hints that the MPP could be leveraged by awareness of our overshoot predicament to drive down population. One possible scenario follows.

While it’s true that population control is an unpopular topic and is rarely discussed, it’s also true that a political party seeking election has never clearly told the voters that the economy will soon collapse due to resource depletion and environmental damage, and that new born children will have a low probability of survival until we reduce the population.

That party could offer policies suitable for maximizing power in a collapsing economy. For example, a birth lottery where applicants are randomly awarded a permit to have a a child and those children will be heavily supported by the state assuring max power for the lucky family. Childless couples will also maximize their power because they won’t waste resources on children that die. Couples who have a child without a permit will be subject to expensive fines thus reducing their power.

It’s worth a try. If they’re not elected we’ll be no worse off, and we might even be better off since some couples will go childless after listening to the debate.

We need a principled small party that has a low probability of being elected anyway, like for example the Green Party, to step up.

This scenario unfortunately depends on party members breaking through their genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities and accepting our overshoot predicament and its implications.

Thus we’ve come full circle to a prerequisite for a broader understanding Varki’s MORT, which is why I talk about it so much.

MORT awareness is not happening, and it probably never will happen, because denial of denial is the strongest form of denial.

But I’ll probably keep talking about MORT, hoping that some people join me in spreading the word, because there is no alternative except darkness.

153 thoughts on “Maximizing Power with Fewer Children”

  1. Dave Cohen was once a great rational mind in the community of people that think about human overshoot. He wrote a lot of great stuff, said what he wanted to say, and then mostly stopped.

    Today he wrote a short post on American politics. I don’t want to discuss it here, because we don’t do conventional politics on this site, but I’m bringing it to your attention as an example of how unhinged American society is becoming.

    It’s quite a worry for the rest of the world.


    1. James Howard Kunstler beat Cohen to the punch with his own endorsement of Trump (Clusterfuck Nation, “Bill of Particulars,” August 31), albeit with a little less hysteria. Trump as an antidote to fascism? Yeah, sure. It’s all one monster: a hydra with warring heads.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. David Cohen has really gone off the deep end. Wow! He thinks the Democratic party is taking his freedoms away under the guise of COVID-19 and he’s voting for Trump. He’s also bought into Trump’s conspiracy bullshit of voter fraud. Unbelievable! Is dementia setting in? He has degenerated into irrational conspiracy theories. Very sad. I will welcome him to the hospitals I work at on the Navajo Nation to show him the death count and havoc this virus has caused here. That blog post of his is pathetic. The only fascist is the one he has chosen to vote for. Unreal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m seeing many unhinged people from both sides of the political spectrum. I think our monkey brains are responding to the effects of a slow motion overshoot collapse, and because no one understands what’s going on, they’re angry and seek someone to blame.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s very disturbing to see these sort of unhinged delusional rantings from someone who wrote so lucidly in the past. When you have a complete buffoon as president who spouts lies and conspiracies on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that we have such a divisive and hyperpartisan climate.


  2. Our own cells and bodies are good examples of population control. The problem is that the profit and growth MPP imperative tends to get shoved-up to a higher level like a business tech cell that wants to grow maximally or a nation that wants maximum GDP growth. There is also the problem that humans would have to be content with being equal and function in their relative jobs without competing for dominance. They would have to cooperate for the good of the whole, whatever that is, which is itself pursuing the MPP. Maybe the “internet of things” can zap us into submission, but that still leaves mega-corporations and nations pursuing the MPP. Complete globalization or a “New World Order” will likely fragment in short order based upon the physics of the situation unless absolute surveillance and control can be maintained in all geographic domains. We will probably return to the “sticks and stones” situation expressed by Einstein where low-level, population controlling warfare can exist in perpetuity, if we can endure the radiation and climate change resulting from the tech explosion.


  3. Rob,

    You have again shown great ability to
    connect the dots.

    The small party idea is great but as you suggest
    it does not get beyond MORT. So maybe
    we need a few more ideas about
    what MORT is and IS NOT.

    Our task is still to find ways
    to have a civilization that operates
    gracefully even with the forces created by
    MMP and MORT and genetic predisposition
    ( aka. “there is no free will”)

    I think you can see where I am going.
    MMP and MORT and genetic predisposition
    all impose their forces on the “individual” and
    shape his/her choice. But that is not all the forces
    that shape an individual’s choice.

    The social contract is another set of forces.
    These forces can be based on computed
    outcomes. (which have nothing to do with
    MMP or MORT, or the absence of freewill.

    When outcomes are used to design the social contract
    and the social contract is used to shape the behavior of
    individuals, then you have a path forward that does not
    reflect MMP, MORT, or genetic predisposition.

    Which brings us to —How does this social contract
    get implemented and enforced.
    a) there is the autocratic solution ( by force)
    b) the grass roots bottom up
    mutual coercion mutually agreed upon.

    Now as you know I focus on the the grass roots bottom up.

    This is very strange because in my model choosers
    ( of the social contract)
    a) do not pay direct costs or
    b) get direct benefits.
    both exist only as abstractions.
    (the actual payers did not get to vote
    for the social contract
    the actual beneficiaries
    did not get to vote for the social contract.)
    The implementation process is all done in the abstract.

    This is a new problem not normally considered by the
    earth’s existing community. The normal process
    chooses behaviors at the margins to optimize wellbeing
    for a small immediate group. MORT and MMP and
    genetic predisposition all play the dominant roles you described.

    But the new social contract reflects computations that include
    none of these. Its computations are at the core of a
    large system, with intent of creating long term viability.
    The cost and benefits take meaning over a very long time
    accruing to individuals that don’t yet exist.

    The immediate group plays almost no
    role except to squeeze thought the bottle neck to the
    a civilization govern by a social contract
    NOT MMP, or MORT or genetic predisposition.

    My working challenge is to get 3 billion individuals
    to grass roots implement the new social contract.

    Jack Alpert PhD Director:
    Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory
    (C) 913 708 2554
    13617 W. 48th Street Shawnee, KS 66216
    Jack’s work 600 word summary


    1. Jack,

      Nothing like trying to back your way softly into disagreeing with Rob, me, and others who view group behavior as extensions of internal algorithms as they confront present circumstances. 😉

      Significant input (feedback) into the billions you hope to deter from breeding is not logically impossible. But it is likely that severe conditions with no easy scapegoats around would be needed for them to wake up and perhaps be receptive to the idea.


      1. Steve,

        I believe the only graceful way though
        this century’s bottleneck is a contraction
        in population from 7.8 billion to 50 million.

        We both agree that jawboning individuals
        to have less children cannot accomplish this.
        Instead, I am proposing a social contract solution
        that relies on mutual coercion mutually agreed upon.

        The population reduction is accomplished by
        the group limiting births to 500,000 a year globally.

        Control over number of births is a accomplished
        by having every one on earth catch a virus
        that makes them temporality sterile.

        Births result from a one time reversal of this
        sterile condition. The reversals number
        500,000. They are given out in a lottery.
        Everyone living is in the lottery. Winners can
        use or trade the reversals.

        The introduction of the sterility virus and lottery
        are implemented by a large constituency. My actions
        are focused on creating this constituency.

        Your comments do not reflect your disagreement
        with my plan. They reflect your disagreement that
        population reduction can be accomplished
        by convincing people to have fewer children. (more)

        Jack Alpert PhD Director:
        Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory
        (C) 913 708 2554
        13617 W. 48th Street Shawnee, KS 66216
        Jack’s work 600 word summary


        1. Jack,
          This is the first I’ve heard from you(in the decade we’ve been friends) about a sterility virus being created and forced upon all humans. I’ve talked for that decade about my sci-fi dream about an emergence of one which affects only superstitious humans (ghosts, deities, etc)

          The chances that TPTB effect your plan are slim and none. And Slim left town. 😉


          1. Steve,
            Now that you know more clearly what I have been proposing for the last 4 years, you should also know that my process does not require the powers that be.TPTB. After you wrap the huge brain of yours around what I am saying and expunge what I am not saying, maybe you can be some help.


            1. What will impel humans to voluntarily get infected if it’s not imposed by TPTB? I’ve read your posts and watched your videos for years. All you’ve espoused is one on one discussions, memespread. My response has been for years, that your audience has the lowest fertility rate on the planet. Asia and Africa are not primarily English speaking, and they have the highest fecundity. You have never answered this point. Please tell us how your audience can/will get the world infected with your sterility virus.


        2. You must know that an organized 50 million plan would be called “Socialism!” far beyond the harshest critiques of Bernie Sanders. Leaders can’t even get people to do easy things, like not putting trash in the recycling bin, or turning off their engines when parked. I can’t see the bulk of people as being up to the task.

          Money crises have been the only true drivers of (temporary) austerity, like the 2008 oil shock, drowned out by the fracking illusion. Average people merely want to draw paychecks, get stupid on the weekend and complain about the guv’mint, not caring that they’d create a worse one. When they do get adamant about a cause, it’s usually a hollow one like the 2020 criminal rights movement, or being against abortion while lamenting immigration pressure. Even “environmentalists” have become major land developers, selling their souls to techno-growthism.

          Your plan is interesting and worthy, but you may be in denial of human nature by thinking it could ever work peacefully. Sterility viruses would be met with violence (mobs burning down university & pharmaceutical buildings) and a birth lottery would be strongly resisted, as in the 1972 movie, Z.P.G.

          It’s tough to side with the no-real-hope philosophy of Paul Kingsnorth and others willing to go there, but do you think they’re mistaken? I separate them from crackpots who simply want humans to fail, or cite Biblical prophecies to that end.


  4. Human religiosity is a major impediment, as are patriarchal societies (with religious backing.) They all want a larger flock to tithe and pay taxes. If women could choose when to conceive, population growth would slow drastically, and likely reverse. Unfortunately, the highest breeders are not the audience of this message. The odds of voluntary shrinkage occurring within a decade or two seems remote. Rates are slowing, though.


    1. I propose that Canada implements rapid population reduction policies first, and closes it borders so that we’re no longer an escape valve for other country’s over-population problems, and that after we’ve proven it can work in a peaceful democratic manner, we shame the rest of the world into following our example.

      There’s plenty of evidence that Canada can be very influential in adverse conditions. For example, we exported ice hockey to smoking hot cities like Tampa Bay and Dallas that don’t even know what snow is.


      1. I’m a dual citizen, born in the US, and have been a pop. activist and researcher for over 3 decades. While I agree with your goal, I see no way that either country will voluntarily stop immigration. Net zero migration wouldld be a major victory.


  5. This essay by Jason Hickel makes a case for using MMT to create a sustainable economy. His ideas will be very attractive to many voters as our economy collapses which is why I suspect we will try MMT as a last resort. Unfortunately he ignores, or is ignorant of, the relationships between energy, wealth, and debt which means his ideas won’t work and will destroy the money system creating even more chaos.

    First, a bit of background. MMT may sound complicated but in fact it is remarkably simple (here is a good place to start). It points out that governments that control their own currencies are not like households. They do not have to “balance their budgets”, and, crucially, they do not have to tax or borrow before they can spend. In reality, they create the money they spend – and they can create as much of it as they want. This is clear to anyone who has been paying attention since the global financial crisis of 2008. Countries like the US and UK have created extraordinary amounts of money to prop up the banking system. The same thing is happening right now, in response to the COVID-19 crisis: governments are simply creating the money they need to respond. This has always been the case, of course, but right now it’s happening out in the open, for all to see. The notion of budget constraints has been revealed as a myth.

    This is not to say that governments can create and spend money without limit. MMT economists recognize a number of limits, but they have nothing to do with budgets or deficits. The key limit is inflation: if you spend too much money into the economy, demand gets too hot and risks driving excess inflation. MMT economists propose that we should use taxation to mitigate this risk. In MMT, the purpose of taxation is not to fund government spending (again: governments fund spending simply by issuing currency), but rather to reduce excess demand. Crucially, taxation is also used to reduce inequality. You tax the rich not to fund government spending, but rather simply to remove money from people who accumulate too much, recognizing that inequality is corrosive to society and to democracy and we are all better off without it.


    1. The problem with MMT is the unintentional devaluation of the currency. As we know, politicians have spent trillions by borrowing from the future. At some point lenders will balk. If instead, the gov’t. just prints those trillions, the international financial community will compare the supply of the currency (say $s) to the productivity of the economy. If the ratio keeps getting worse, investors will not want to own $s. They will rather seek more solid currencies.

      Recall the Br Pound was worth $US 5 a century ago. It got close to $1, and is now $1.28 area. The same thing is likely in progress of the US Empire. Banana Republics sometimes print like crazy, and their currencies devalue rapidly. This causes rapid inflation in the prices of imported items, and that leaks to domestic items as well. There is no free lunch!


      1. Maybe we’ll be able to take cash out of our digital accounts to buy gold. If you use digital dollars it might leave a mark on the social credit score.


  6. Sabine Hossenfelder on the importance of separating facts from opinions.

    Today I want to tell you why I had to stop reading news about climate science. Because it pisses me off. Every. Single. Time.

    There’s all these left-wing do-gooders who think their readers are too fucking dumb to draw their own conclusions so it’s not enough to tell me what’s the correlation between hurricane intensity and air moisture, no, they also have to tell me that, therefore, I should donate to save the polar bears. There’s this implied link: Science says this, therefore you should do that. Follow the science, stop flying. Follow the science, go vegan. Follow the science and glue yourself to a bus, because certainly that’s the logical conclusion to draw from the observed weakening of the atlantic meridional circulation.

    When I was your age, we learned science does not say anything about what we should do. What we should do is a matter of opinion, science is matter of fact.

    Science tells us what situation we are in and what consequences our actions are likely to have, but it does not tell us what to do. Science does not say you shouldn’t pee on high voltage lines, it says urine is an excellent conductor. Science does not say you should stop smoking, science says nikkotiin narrows arteries, so if you smoke you’ll probably die young lacking a few toes. Science does not say we should cut carbondioxide emissions. It says if we don’t, then by the end of the century estimated damages will exceed some Trillion US $. Is that what we should go for? Well, that’s a matter of opinion.

    Follow the Science is a complete rubbish idea, because science does not know the direction. We have to decide what way to go.

    You’d think it’s bad enough that politicians conflate scientific fact with opinion, but the media actually make it worse. They make it worse by giving their audience the impression that it matters what someone whose job it is to execute the will of the electorate believes about scientific facts. But I couldn’t care less if Donald Trump “believes” in climate change. Look, this is a man who can’t tell herd*immunity from herd mentality, he probably thinks winter’s the same as an ice age. It’s not his job to offer opinions about science he clearly doesn’t understand, so why do you keep asking him. His job is to say if the situation is this, we will do that. At least in principle, that’s what he should be doing. Then you look up what science says which situation we are in and act accordingly.

    The problem, the problem, you see, is that by conflating the two things – the facts with the opinions – the media give people an excuse to hide opinions behind scientific beliefs. If you don’t give a shit that today’s teenagers will struggle their whole life cleaning up the mess that your generation left behind fine, that’s a totally valid opinion. But please just say it out loud, so we can all hear it. Don’t cover it up by telling us a story about how you weren’t able to reproduce a figure in the IPCC report even though you tried really hard for almost ten seconds, because no one gives a shit whether you have your own “theory.”

    If you are more bothered by the prospect of rising gasoline prices than by rising sea levels because you don’t know anyone who lives by the sea anyway, then just say so. If you worry more about the pension for your friend the coal miner than about drought and famine in the developing world #because after all there’s only poor people in the developing world, then just say so. If you don’t give a shit about a global recession caused by natural catastrophes that eat up billion after billion because you’re a rich white guy with a big house and think you’re immune to trouble, then just say so. Say it loud, so we can all hear it.

    And all the rest of you stop chanting we need to “follow the science”. People who oppose action on climate change are not anti-science, they simply worry more that a wind farm might ruin the view from their summer vacation house, than they worry wild fires will burn down the house. That’s not anti-scientific, that’s just dumb. But then that’s only my opinion.


    1. Gawd help me I love that woman!

      The other version is ‘the science says’. I’ve even heard a few scientists use it. Perhaps in a desperate (futile) bid to communicate with the primitives?


  7. Gail Tverberg todays predicts what comes next.

    Many people thought that COVID-19 would be gone with a short shutdown. They also thought that the world’s economic problems could be cured with a six month “dose” of stimulus.

    It is increasingly clear that neither of these assumptions is correct. Despite the claims of epidemiologists, our best efforts have never been able to reduce the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases for the world as a whole for any significant period of time. In fact, the latest week seems to be the highest week so far.

    At the same time, the economy, despite all of the stimulus, is not doing very well.

    In Section A of this post, I outline what I see as some approaches that governments might take to try to “kick the can down the road” a while longer, as well as some general trends regarding near term outcomes.

    In Section B, I explain how our current problems seem to be related to the more general “overshoot and collapse” problems of many prior economies. I show that historically, these overshoot and collapse situations seem to have played out over a number of years. In many ways, the outcome might look more like “overshoot and decline” than “overshoot and collapse” from the point of view of an observer at the time.

    In Section C, I explain two different types of “breakage” we can expect going forward, if we are really dealing with an overshoot and collapse situation. In the first, oil production is likely to fall because of the collapse of some of the governments of oil exporters. In the second, the international trade system breaks down because of problems with the financial system and countries no longer trusting each other’s currencies.

    My summary:
    – more debt
    – higher taxes
    – families move in together
    – real estate prices fall
    – stock prices fall
    – pensions fail
    – electricity outages
    – oil production falls
    – some oil producing governments collapse or go to war
    – governments nationalize key businesses (banks, oil companies, trucking)
    – international trade falls
    – eventually the monetary system fails due to too much debt
    – counties must rely on their own resources
    – poor countries and poor citizens will do much worse

    Gail explains that the history of collapses suggests this may take several decades thus making it appear as a decline rather than a collapse. On the other hand, the complexity and fragility of our modern economy may cause a quick collapse.

    I expect a quick collapse, but I’ve been wrong so far.


    1. There seems to be discrepancies in definition & timing.

      I’ve always understood collapse to be a process that, by definition, is preceded by decline.

      Starting when? I’ve seen a number of suggested start dates for decline: early 70’s via dropping gold standard, energy crisis, declining net energy. Late 70’s early 80’s via financialization, neo liberal capitalism’s coming out party. 9/11, GFC,

      March 13, 2020

      Four Reasons Civilization Won’t Decline: It Will Collapse

      “Pinker’s rosy statistics cleverly disguise the fatal flaw in his argument. The progress of the past was built by sacrificing the future—and the future is upon us. All the happy facts he cites about living standards, life expectancy, and economic growth are the product of an industrial civilization that has pillaged and polluted the planet to produce temporary progress for a growing middle class—and enormous profits and power for a tiny elite.”

      Difference #1: Unlike all previous civilizations, modern industrial civilization is powered by an exceptionally rich, NON-renewable, and irreplaceable energy source—fossil fuels.

      Difference #2: Unlike past civilizations, the economy of industrial society is capitalist. Production for profit is its prime directive and driving force. The unprecedented surplus energy supplied by fossil fuels has generated exceptional growth and enormous profits over the past two centuries. But in the coming decades, these historic windfalls of abundant energy, constant growth, and rising profits will vanish.

      Difference #3: Unlike past societies, industrial civilization isn’t Roman, Chinese, Egyptian, Aztec, or Mayan. Modern civilization is HUMAN, PLANETARY, and ECOCIDAL. Pre-industrial civilizations depleted their topsoil, felled their forests, and polluted their rivers. But the harm was far more temporary and geographically limited.

      Difference #4: Human civilization’s collective capacity to confront its mounting crises is crippled by a fragmented political system of antagonistic nations ruled by corrupt elites who care more about power and wealth than people and the planet.

      I’m not a fan of Gail. She’s US political. Something of a soft US conservative apologist. Climate & other enviro consequence minimizer bordering on denial. Her covid measures failed in spite of “best effort” claim is pure BS Sure Gail if you are counting the millions of people & dollars that went into sabotaging any & all pandemic measures as ‘best effort’ – gimme a fucking break lady. She’s also said on more than one occasion that praying is the best response to climate change (practitioners of Santeria, feel free to sacrifice chickens to appease the climate gods). Look at who her core readership is – comment section full of deniers & tards, sans JT Roberts.
      I stopped reading her because I was not getting the impartial analyses of an actuary. I was getting the analyses of Gail the American Christian conservative actuary. At best, partially impartial.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for the insights! I kinda knew that there was a conservative bias in Gail’s writing that seemed overbearing. Also her climate and pandemic positions were denier. More and more writing like your’s and Robs bring me to this site for hard, unvarnished Truth (if such a thing exists?). Thanks for your contributions.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Alex Smith today on ice loss.

    The Arctic Has Entered A New Climate State

    Ice is rapidly disappearing from both Poles. Two polar ice experts report latest science. From the U.S. National Center For Atmospheric Research in Colorado, Arctic scientist Laura Landrum: in 2020, the Arctic has reached a new climate state. Thomas Slater from Leeds University UK reports ice loss from glaciers has surpassed the worst case scenarios. Manhattan-size chunks falling away, other ice shelves shatter in unnatural heat and warmed-up seas.


  9. VHEMT 2020!!……………….. It’s our only hope.

    I never had kids, nor have I ever been one of those boring men who constantly bitch & moan about “My Taxes!” even though some of my taxes have been used to bribe young Canadians to breed more consumer-workers, pay to ‘educate’ them (property tax) so they can earn-consume more & in some cases help financially support the children of ‘welfare queens’ & ‘dead beat dads’, 100% from birth to adulthood ( It’s not the kids fault & most of the time their parents are part of the same poverty-abuse-addiction cycle that throwing money at has made little difference in breaking.)

    A quick route to population reduction would be to halt most immigration, but the real owners of this country & their transnational corporate brothers in crime don’t want that. They want more. More money, more power, more worker bees driving labour costs down. Native workers vs immigrant workers is a stratagem. The politicians are not the real shot callers, they’re middle management, so voting changes nothing.

    The entire system was designed & built for perpetual growth & it’s owners, managers & workers have been indoctrinated in this cancer mentality for generations going back to the discovery & conquest.

    For me it seems pointless to talk mitigation (less) of any kind in a system designed for the exact opposite. Out of all socio-economic systems since industrialization capitalist ones are the least equipped to slow-the-fuck-down & address the banquet of consequences. Capitalism is the antithesis of saving the planet, country, & species. Capitalism is THE religion. Capitalists are the MPP personified.

    Capitalism is a fucking death cult invented by an already self destructive species & almost all of the cult’s true believers are in major states of denial.

    There’s almost 8 billion humans, why would any of them listen to history’s most obscene & recklessly consuming & polluting pigs – white N Americans? Because we lead by example? Yes, China, India et al have indeed followed our example.

    If there is ever any wide spread effort to change it won’t come until post collapse & it’ll be local. That’s something folks can start now. They’ll follow those who were leading by example before collapse. They’ll make royalty of them – “I pledge my undying fealty to thee O wise Doomer lord’.

    Canada Child Benefit

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I haven’t read Gail T. in years. This reddit exchange is merely one reason why:

    4 points ·
    4 years ago

    I think the direction on prices is down. The book of Revelation talks about the collapse of Babylon, and there is no demand for anything–even slaves. I have a garden, but it has not been very successful. We have done a few things that might be helpful, like added a screened in porch on to the house. We have enjoyed it, whether or not there is collapse.

    7 points ·
    4 years ago

    Revelation 18:11-13New International Version (NIV)

    11 “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

    7 points ·
    4 years ago

    Ms. Tverberg, I understand you hold a Biblical perspective and are influenced by that. However, we appreciate and respect more the statistics and logical arguments you bring up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m aware of Gail’s religious beliefs. I’m a hard core atheist in case you don’t know. It’s interesting to observe that Gail appears to be one of the happiest and least worried among people that discuss overshoot. This could be more evidence in support of Varki’s MORT.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve always been atheist in the sense that I have never once done or not done something because I was worried that Sky Daddy was watching & taking notes for my judgement day.

        Intellectually speaking I suppose I’m agnostic since I can’t disprove the existence of Sky Daddy or even his 3rd cousin the Easter Bunny.


    2. Tverberg seems particularly fond of that biblical entry, ha ha!

      From OFW:

      Gail Tverberg on September 29, 2020 at 10:48 am said:

      The same chapter goes on to explain what the collapse of Babylon looked like, and perhaps might look like again. Revelation 18: 11-13 NIV

      11 “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— 12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

      The problem will be low demand and low prices.


  11. A comment I enjoyed from Gail T.’s site, which, of course, received no response because the last thing they want to talk about is overpopulation in any depth:

    [Quote] You wouldn’t know it from a lot of responses on THIS site, but through the efforts of one individual at a time, such as Marcia Drut-Davis, a woman now in her mid-70s, we can see a slow sea change in human closed-mindedness and personal defensiveness concerning reproducing. Here’s an article on her “60 Minutes” appearance in 1974 with the pompous, preening Mike Wallace:

    [Quote from article] “Mike Wallace even ended the segment saying, ‘Pardon our perversion for showing this on Mother’s Day,’ wearing an expression of intense concern.”


    1. If you run through the long list of people that think and write about overshoot it’s amazing how few discuss population reduction. Ditto for environmental organizations and green political parties.

      It’s very odd given that population reduction is the only thing that might make the future less bad.

      It’s also strange given that every citizen with a pet and every farmer with livestock knows that controlling population to keep it in balance with resources is the correct and humane thing to do.

      If the average citizen denies the reality of human overshoot and resource constraints then the lack of discussion makes sense, but we know overshoot thinkers do not deny these realities so what gives? Does anyone have any insights?


      1. Most folks, including “overshoot thinkers,” continue to have hope that someone somewhere will fix everything.
        Also, ego satisfaction and simply keeping wifey/hubby happy play a part. Mainly, though, those in the herd do not want to be different or seen as unsuccessful.

        [Quote from another site] I’ve never really appreciated how advanced my high-school science teachers in the late 1970s to early 1980s were until now. We read and discussed Ehrlich, the Meadowses, Catton, and others. Despite that, ego usually trumps empathy and awareness in most humans, so the majority of my fellow students went on to perform socially acceptable conformity and competition in a lockstep, robotic, unthinking fashion: college, career, marriage, material accumulation, children. [End Quote]


        1. Yep, Bill R. Quite a few so-called overshoot thinkers through the years have ultimately disregarded their own knowledge. Herd-thinking is powerful, even for them.

          For instance, Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd fame, born in 1950, used to expound human overpopulation frequently, at least until he married his fourth wife and had his son, Tiger, in 2016. He was already a grandfather at the time, but he named his kid after some prime wildlife we’re decimating, so that’s “nice.”

          Carl Sagan, born in 1934, used to harp about human numbers also, but he never understood the hypocrisy of his having five children, two born well after overpopulation was presented to the public.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Rob, I waited another day to answer your question thinking that maybe I’d come up with some insight for this phenomenon. It didn’t come to me. I can only reason that raw biology (i.e. bioevolutionary imperatives to procreate, with accompanying biochemical stimulations) along with mating partner persuasions (also with accompanying biochemicals), both of which are mostly/completely subconscious, simply overwhelm the rational and purposeful efforts required to avoid procreating.

        And many extremely intelligent humans still fail to comprehend the CONSEQUENCES of certain exponential functions. That is, they understand the mechanics of these functions but not how they might ultimately, and often horribly, affect living organisms and their environments. That is all I have on this problem, and it’s no great insight that’s for damn sure.


        1. Thanks. Everything you said makes sense for normal citizens that deny overshoot.

          I’m trying to understand why almost every person that writes about overshoot, including and especially those that have not given up and still advocate we do something, almost never call for population reduction policies.

          It’s very very strange. Promoting any other “solution” is a complete waste of time.

          What’s the big deal? Pet owners and farmers deal with this issue every day. We have effective and safe birth control. There’s no need for any controversial abortions.

          Yet our best aware minds can’t even discuss it. Shame on them all.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Rob, I’m quite sure that human narcissism and lack of empathy play a part [understatement of the year].

            Vomitous quote from Joe Brewer a couple of years ago: “I say this as a man who is about to become a father. My wife and I chose — with eyes wide open — to bring a child into this world in the midst of great upheaval. We believe deeply and firmly in humanity and are investing our blood in the future. This is not something we do lightly. It is a great responsibility to continue the human race even as billions starve…”

            His amusing self-description: “I am a change strategist working on behalf of humanity, and also a complexity researcher, cognitive scientist, and evangelist for the field of culture design.”

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Narcissism? Yes. Lack of empathy? Certainly.

              Somebody from r/collapse [just another reason for me to give up reading that site]:


              . . . I’m planning on having kids while knowing the shit show that is the future.

              I was in the “how could I bring a child into a world knowing the hardships they’ll need to endure” boat. Then I realized that if everyone thought that then the human species will definitely go extinct. The human species needs offspring in order to survive.

              I’m part of a small group of people who are going to have kids that are also aware of the situation we face. It will be my responsibility as a parent to prepare my child for the inevitable shit show so that they have the best chance for survival to carry the human species through this coming doom. Someone has to do it and I don’t see any of the currently new parents even thinking about it.

              I also don’t think these collapse scenarios will kill off all humans. I think a small small group will survive, maybe 5%. I plan on ensuring that my offspring are part of that 5%.


          1. Since xraymike has two children and possibly grandchildren now, his least favorite topic is human overpopulation. Even years ago when he was active on his site, he rarely, if ever, responded to comments about that issue. You could feel the tension coming through the computer screen.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Talk of population control is a nonstarter that will never happen in anything but a dictatorship or by social conditions becoming so untenable that people voluntarily choose to stay childless. So you’re talking delusional fantasy. At some point you have to face reality and deal with what is before you. It’s called pragmatism. And yes, for millions of people it does matter what legislative actions are taken or even if any attempt is made to lessen our impact on the environment. Remember that if you end up being one of the unlucky ones who contracts cancer in the future from Trump’s regulatory rollbacks.


            1. You might be right but we won’t know for sure until respected people start telling citizens what’s actually going on and what the future holds for newborns. Trump got elected in part because citizens were angry about falling living standards and rising wealth inequality caused by two of the many symptoms of overshoot, cheap oil depletion and rising debt. No one in the last election, nor in this election, spoke the truth about the source of pain, nor offered intelligent overshoot mitigation policies.



            2. I appreciate Rob’s site because he’s almost literally the only doomer who has the gravitas and courage to confront the most important and moral subject of all: overpopulation.

              And a lot of us do not believe that population control will ever become an official issue since Ehrlich and Borlaug, for example, have always been conveniently ignored. However, the fact that a very few of us here at least think about and discuss the topic is important. Whether or not any social coercion is accomplished by the masters is beside the point. Conveying the message that it is immoral to reproduce now is.

              Quote from xraymike79: At some point you have to face reality and deal with what is before you. It’s called pragmatism.

              Let me fix that for you: At some point you have to face reality and deal with what is before you. It’s called empathy.

              Liked by 4 people

              1. It’s immoral and hypocritical for us First-Worlders to be lecturing the rest of the planet about overpopulation when we are really the ones exploiting the environment to the point of biospheric collapse.

                The argument of overpopulation becomes rather meaningless unless it is framed within the context of consumption levels:

                Also, as a recent study pointed out, overconsumption and inequality have occurred in the collapse of every civilization over the last 5,000 years.

                “The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

                The wealth of the elites buffers them from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners,” allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual.’ ”

                The end result: Rising inequality leads to an unsustainable use of resources and the collapse of global industrial civilization.


                Liked by 1 person

                1. What is truly immoral and hypocritical is for us “First-Worlders” [I’m no longer sure this is an accurate description of the USA and other financially wealthy nation-states] to lecture the rest of the planet on reducing their populations when we continue to procreate at high rates as well. Reducing consumption, even massively, isn’t enough to prevent avoidable suffering (on a massive scale) and human extinction. We need to reduce human population NOW and EVERYWHERE.

                  You’re flawed thinking on human population is extremely common, and the greatest problem, within the left-wing, “progressive” worldview. “If only we consumed less, which we can do, we don’t need to be concerned with human population.” Well, humans have proven that we can’t consume less even when given the opportunity. Which means we MUST be concerned with overpopulation if we are to solve our problems and continue to exist. If we literally can’t reduce our consumption then more breeding ANYWHERE only further complicates solutions to our problems.

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. “Well, humans have proven that we can’t consume less even when given the opportunity. Which means we MUST be concerned with overpopulation if we are to solve our problems and continue to exist.”

                    You tell those 2,000 billionaires who own more than over half the global population combined that they need to consume less and refrain from having children. Good luck with that. Or maybe it would be easier to exterminate a few billion of those poor people. Your logic is flawed. If, as you say, humans have proven that they cannot consume less, then what makes you think you can cajole them into reproducing less.
                    Population reduction won’t be done voluntarily, but by environmental collapse which we are well on the road to achieving.


                    1. You won’t get much of an argument from most of us population folks, xraymike, concerning the fact that humans will not voluntarily quit breeding unless forced. So what’s your objection to discussing the topic? We’re not going to change the world by influencing a handful of prescient people to forgo bringing more babies to a dying planet any more than you will by voting or blogging, but it’s worth doing.

                      I like Capn_Underpants’ response on reddit to a potential breeder . . . direct and brutally honest with no political correctness muddying his thinking:

                      23 points ·
                      2 days ago

                      Because you’re making a deliberate choice to continue the destruction of the biosphere by adding more load than it can bear (ie over consumption in a finite world) by deliberately increasing that load (i.e having a kid). Based on that,
                      This shitty decision making of yours doesn’t stand you in particularly good stead for then going on to raise a child in the world.

                      The world is full– we’re probably 7 billion too many, if you do want a kid, raise one of the the ones that already exist.

                      Yes, I have had a vasectomy and don’t have children

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I just searched my blog posts that had the tag #Overpopulation on them. 27 came up. Obviously, I have never had a problem discussing it, but I don’t dwell on it either. Now that we’ve irreversibly broken the stability of the Holocene, impacts on food, water, economy, etc will become increasingly obvious. This pandemic and the current global megafires ravaging Earth are a shot over the bow of modern civilization. To put it euphemistically, global population will adjust accordingly in the near future.


                    3. You’re technically right that the population “will adjust” but those adjustments will be full of violence and hunger, so letting that train keep rolling is a mistake. Every possible argument needs to be made for braking it.

                      Liked by 2 people

                2. Your x-ray needs reconfiguration, Mike. The ONLY reason that the poorest 90% consume at the levels they do is because that is all they are ABLE to. You are playing the blame game on those who manage to gain more energy throughput which is what 99.999% of ALL life forms are logarithmically programmed to do. They can’t help it. The rarest exceptions are voluntary simplicity folks (who must be in the comfortable class to start with), and suicides.

                  Second: every human, no matter how simply she lives, displaces habitat for other life forms excepting human parasites and things thriving on our waste. No exceptions at all in this condition.

                  The species is in Plague Phase, and will decline in numbers, most likely this century. Suggest you read Reg Morrison’s 1999 The Spirit in the Gene, reissued in paperback a few years later as Plague Species, Is it in Our Genes:
         (Fwd is by Lynn Margulis, microbiologist and co-developer of gaia theory with Lovelock.)

                  My Review from 2000:

                  Reg’s website is a must bookmark. He is in his 80’s now, and a splendid gentleman. We had a great dinner in Sydney around 5 years ago (with wives) on our only trip to Oz.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. “Your x-ray needs reconfiguration, Mike. The ONLY reason that the poorest 90% consume at the levels they do is because that is all they are ABLE to.”

                    What is your point? As I said in a previous comment…
                    “Tell those 2,000 billionaires who own more than over half the global population combined that they need to consume less and refrain from having children. Good luck with that. Or maybe it would be easier to exterminate a few billion of those poor people. Your logic is flawed. If, as you say, humans have proven that they cannot consume less, then what makes you think you can cajole them into reproducing less.
                    Population reduction won’t be done voluntarily, but by environmental collapse which we are well on the road to achieving.”

                    I never said many of the poor would not consume more if given the opportunity. I know that every species expands until environmental constraints restrict such growth, but if you want to talk about overpopulation, you must always link it with consumption rates, otherwise it’s a meaningless discussion. This latest study point out that fact:


                    “…the affluent citizens of the world are responsible for most environmental impacts and are central to any future prospect of retreating to safer environmental conditions….existing societies, economies and cultures incite consumption expansion and the structural imperative for growth in competitive market economies inhibits necessary societal change…”
                    “To avoid further deterioration and irreversible damage to natural and societal systems, there will need to be a global and rapid decoupling of detrimental impacts from economic activity. Whilst a number of countries in the global North have recently managed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while still growing their economies, it is highly unlikely that such decoupling will occur more widely in the near future, rapidly enough at global scale and for other environmental impacts..policy makers have to acknowledge the fact that addressing environmental breakdown may require a direct downscaling of economic production and consumption in the wealthiest countries.”

                    In other words, the world’s poorest have a negligible effect on overall environmental devastation; focusing on their consumption or behavior is a fool’s errand when it comes to environmental policy.


                    1. If you can’t stop MPP (consumption to the max), then nature will stop reproduction…the hard way. Hans Selye’s GAS: General Adaptation Syndrome. Google or see Reg Morrison. BBy empowering women, birth rates decline. That minimizes suffering in future…for ALL species. That is my metic. What is yours?

                      Liked by 1 person

                3. I’m curious, xraymike, about who–exactly–is lecturing the second and third worlds about their population levels. The primary problem is that no one of any consequence whatsoever tackles that issue and never has. Frankly, the only pithy content I’ve encountered is aimed directly at the first world, which is great, since I’m an equal-opportunity promoter of non-breeding. I’m simply not a fan of suffering.

                  Fine Canadian writer Tim Murray’s “Meet the Percapitas” is a fine example, and, of course, absolutely nothing has been attempted to improve the situation since he wrote it in 2011, and, of course, he is child-free by choice:

                  Hi there! We’re the Percapitas.

                  We’ve cut per capita consumption and our per capita waste. We compost, we conserve, we re-use and we recycle. And we’re going to teach our three carbon footprints—-Mark, David and Robert—to do the same.

                  Yes, we know that each of us will require more than 38,000 pounds of mined resources each and every year to maintain our cosmetically green American lifestyle, or 2.96 million pounds in our average lifetime of 77.9 years. That’s 8,509 lbs. of stone, 5,599 lbs. of sand and gravel, 496 lbs. of cement, 357 lbs. of iron ore, 421 lbs. of salt, 217 lbs. of phosphate rock, 164 lbs. of clay, 65 lbs. of aluminum, 12 lbs. of copper, 11 lbs. of lead, 6 lbs. of zinc, 36 lbs. of soda ash, 5 lbs. of manganese, 332 lbs. of other non-metals for making glass, chemicals, soaps, paper, computers and cell phones, 24 lbs. of other metals for the same uses plus electronics, TV and video equipment and more—–not to mention 951 gallons of petroleum, 6,792 lbs. of coal, 80,905 cubic feet of natural gas and 1/4 lb. of uranium to generate the energy each of us uses in one year.

                  And we also know that our typical suburban house—–the one with the Prius in the driveway—-was constructed with a million pounds of minerals and metals as were 130 million other homes across the country. Ours needed insulation (using silica, feldspar, and trona), roofing (silica sands, limestone and petroleum) and hardware (iron, zinc, copper, steel, brass), as well as windows made from trona, silica sand, limestone and feldspar, and concrete foundations made from sand, gravel and cement, which in turn is made of limestone, bauxite, clay, shale and gypsum and is reinforced by steel rods. And we expect that another 70 million such homes will need to be built by mid-century to accommodate the next 150 million additional people who will make America their home, making us even more vibrant, diverse and strong than we already are now.  People are our greatest resource—-and besides,  our local Sierra Club branch assures us that we can “de-couple” population and economic growth from environmental degradation! We can’t wait until they de-couple ice cream consumption from caloric gain and thirst from the desire for fluid.

                  Now, some doomsayers like analyst Chris Clugston have warned us that 69 metals and minerals vital to our industrial economy have peaked and will soon not be affordably accessible. But we both majored in classic economics at Northwestern and so we know that substitutes will be always be found if the price is right. You can never discount human ingenuity and there is a technological fix for everything. We can have ‘green growth’. What we can’t have though, is pessimism. We need hope to get us through the night.  Cassandras need not apply!

                  OK, it’s true. We could have done better. By not having three kids we could have saved the atmosphere from an extra 28,223 metric tons of C02 each year—or 58 times the amount that we have saved by switching to a fuel efficient car, driving less, recycling, installing CFLs, replacing our inefficient refrigerator and old windows.  And by adopting rather than conceiving, we would not have added to the 350,000 children who are born every day to a planet now burdened with 7 billion humans, and braced for more.  But we thought that it was vitally necessary that the world have our genes and that our children have the same pair of eyes or ears that we have. And besides, if educated, responsible and morally superior people like us don’t have children, then “they” will overwhelm us. So let the breeding war begin!

                  Oh, and by the way, our procreative choices are NOYB. Pushing other people and other species off the plate is our sacred personal right.

                  We’re the Percapitas. We’re green, we’re progressive, we read Utne and Mother Jones, we listen to NPR, vote liberal Democrat and we are oh so much more aware and responsible than you are!

                  (Does anybody have a cream pie handy?)

                  Tim Murray
                  July 19/2011

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. Hi Bill,

                    Tim Murray has been writing incisive satire for many years. I might have posted this before, but I’ve documented the requests from dozens of underdeveloped countries for help in slowing their population growth. This is an excerpt from my paper of 2000 given the The World Congress of the System Sciences (Toronto)

                    A typical response to the introduction
                    of the overpopulation factor is that the rich should reduce their consumption
                    and waste production instead of chiding the poor people of the planet. This
                    demonstrates a lack of knowledge that the poor have been clamoring for our aid
                    in population matters, and that they have banded together to help themselves.
                    Provision of such aid is not a substitute for encouraging conservation and
                    cleaner economies at home. There is no either/or involved. Both are desirable.

                    In 1989, as verified by The UN Population Fund, the following countries signed
                    a statement urging early stabilization of human population. Austria,
                    Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Botswana, Cape Verde, China, Columbia, Cyprus,
                    Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti,
                    Iceland, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Jordon, Kenya, Rep. of Korea,
                    Liberia, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines,
                    Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia,
                    St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Sudan, Thailand, Tunisia, Vanuatu, and Zimbabwe.
                    Note the absence of most wealthy nations. It is ridiculous to claim that the
                    rich are trying to coerce the poor nations to reduce population. In fact, they
                    are not responding to the affirmed needs of the poor.

                    The following countries are part of either the South Commission or Partners in
                    Population and Development: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mexico, Colombia, Thailand,
                    Indonesia, Bangladesh, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, China, India, Pakistan,
                    Uganda, Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, Ivory Ciast, Jamaica,
                    Kuwait, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka,
                    Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia (former), and Western Samoa. The “Partners”
                    share expertise with each other in reproductive health, appropriate
                    technologies, and population policy. The Challenge to the South: Report of the
                    South Commission, included this unequivocal statement:

                    ” In the long run the problem of overpopulation of the countries of the South
                    can be fully resolved only through their development. But action to contain
                    the rise of population cannot be postponed.” (Nyerere, 1990)

                    full paper reprinted here in 2011:

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. It’s the old dilemma of modernize and create more impact per person, or stay poor and have larger families to insure more survive, ignoring chronic “over-survival.”

                      Since human nature is burned-in, policy wonks are working with a hostile crowd. All I see s people caring about their own skins, to the point of living in mad slums like Makoko, Lagos.


                4. I see no need to single out “successful” people just because they rose to their full potential, even though it’s destroying nature. I = PAT is as valid as ever, but some try to remove “P” from the equation for shallow PC reasons. Basically, “we must be fair to the less fortunate” without really asking how they got that way.

                  I think the main reason most poor people don’t consume more (per-capita) is the very reason they remain poor: modest intelligence and/or lack of inventive prowess to alter their surroundings. Those aren’t bad traits from a sustainability angle, but it’s not that many of them aren’t innately greedy. Many will snatch-up bling the moment you give them access, like paying more for a fancy car than housing. Others may have some genetic humility that Westerners lack. Hard to say.

                  Arguments that it’s all about “distribution of wealth” ignore human nature and favor the blame game, recently aimed at law-enforcement in the case of American riots. People at all levels tend to look for scapegoats instead of seeing the full context of human failings.


      3. It’s especially interesting because knowledge about population dynamics seem to be common logic. Don’t feed pigeons because otherwise they will multiply and starve. Same with rats, deer, ducks and other animals. Only the human animal is left out of this equation.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good point. It is very strange. As is the big deal we make about euthanasia. We look down on a pet owner who does not “put to sleep” his suffering animal. Yet I have to break the law to buy Nembutal to save the state money and me suffering when I’m old and sick.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I put this on Gail’s page and received zero responses. I wasn’t expecting feedback anyway since like most doomer sites, overpopulation is rarely discussed:

    Cobb’s kids have been falling down on the job . . . badly.

    Quote: “A year like 2020 could have been the subject of a marvelous science fiction film in 2000,” Cobb said. “Now we have to watch and digest real-time disaster after disaster after disaster, on top of a pandemic. The outlook could not be any more grim. It’s just a horrifying prospect.”

    “The 2030s are going to be noticeably worse than the 2020s,” she said.

    “As a mom to four children, I’ve always known that kids could be a huge part of the climate solution . . . ”


      1. She birthed all of ’em. My 20-year-old niece has been compiling a very long list of so-called ecology experts who ignore the population issue on a personal level, and she always researches their backgrounds carefully for her eventual honors thesis. She has chosen to remain child-free since she is not a fan of inflicting suffering upon the innocent, and I’m proud to say that my wife and I, child-free by choice since 1979, helped influence her.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. That’s a list I’d like to see. There’s David Suzuki, Al Gore, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Who else? Of course, Trump, who is the best of the environment, he said so himself.


          1. Ken, let’s put it this way: Most folks whose names you recognize within the doomer/climate-change/ecology community have chosen to reproduce, sometimes decades after overpopulation hit the front burner of public awareness. Lack of imagination, perhaps?

            [Quote from another site] Most of us non-breeders in my real-life/Internet circles do not shame those who decide to have kids, especially since most humans are ignorant concerning science matters and/or just don’t give a rip.  However, we do go out of our way to praise to the skies those who choose the less traveled path of non-reproduction.  After all, they certainly deserve it since they’ve been accused of “selfishness” and “immaturity” since Day One!  And I’ve always been a fan of outliers, the few there actually are by their very nature, so I know how lucky I was to find my wife of over 35 years who initiated the child-free discussion in the first place. [End Quote]

            Liked by 3 people

    1. And Geneticist & world renowned environmentalist David Suzuki has 5 kids.

      ‘Why won’t the sheeple take our warnings seriously Dammit?!’

      I’m in a blaming mood, so I’m hanging the overpopulation taboo on hyper moralizing progressives, who have, in the last 20 years or so, shut down as many debates on the grounds of BLASPHEMY! as the medieval catholic church.

      Overpopulation discussions were front & centre in the 60’s & 70’s until progressives started hanging the racist imperialist label on anyone who so much as implied that Africans, Indians, the Chinese or any non white peoples with rapidly increasing populations might benefit using condoms & taking a few maths lessons.

      American Red Guards


      1. Suzuki finally realized in the past few years that overpopulation was a huge problem. He has become a helpful activist. Please don’t dump on him. People learn… See:

        Dr. David Suzuki, Scientist, Broadcaster, Author

        Dr. David Suzuki – geneticist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Photo used with permission.

        Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He’s perhaps most familiar to Canadian television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things. In 1990 he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis The David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.”

        Dr. Suzuki is a Companion to the Order of Canada and Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He has been adopted into three Indigenous families: (in absentia) by Chief Wah Moodmx (Killerwhale, Johnny Clifton) of Hartley Bay, BC and was given the name Gootm Lgu Waalksik (Heart of a Prince); and by Chief George Housty of the Heiltsuk; and by Ada Yovanovitch (Eagle Clan) of the Haida of Haida Gwaii and given the name Gyaagan (My Own). His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, British Columbia.


        1. Steve, you must have missed those 78 times I mentioned I was a Canadian (Rob too) & grew up in metro Vancouver . Growing up, Dr. Suzuki regularly spoke at k-12 schools (mine) all over metro Vancouver & BC. We know who he is.

          Suzuki’s cute daughter, Severn was Greta Thunberg 25 years before Greta Thunberg (sans internet).

          David Suzuki is a decent human & a good science teacher to the masses, but this idea of ‘the cause’ was/is a lost cause. It seems my work of trying to get people to ignore the environmental hype & aspirations & just once clinically look at the non results since the 1st Earth day 1970 is just too unpleasant to ponder. The way to measure the non results is to get a series of graphs with each one representing growth or decline of something as a consequence of human action – atmospheric CO2, methane. Deforestation, human population, species extinctions, top soil loss, desertification, land & sea ice loss, SLR, etc. Next, take a black felt pen & mark the spots on each graph that represent victories for ‘the cause’. No pen required.

          I wonder what the professional enviro heroes collective emissions & eco footprints add up to after 50 years of jetting around the planet to attend COP out conferences & speaking engagements to pimp their latest book.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I have been on this blog for less than one year. I did pick up that you and Rob were Canadian. All you say above is correct…but I have one son and three grandsons despite them knowing full well my position on one child families. At 38, she had in vitro and got two boys. 2 years later she wanted a girl. Another boy resulted. When a figure like Suzuki gets on board, I now support him. If you don’t, you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face.


      2. Suzuki had three kids between the years 1958 and 1965 during his first marriage, so he can be given a pass for that; however, during his second marriage, he chose to bring two more babies to a dying planet in the years 1979 and 1984, years after overpopulation was acknowledged by the “educated” classes. He’s up to at least six grandkids now, ha ha!


        1. Your comment hurts the cause. Once someone of his stature and reputation has reversed and become an ally, he should be applauded. Dumping on his past behavior, particularly if you don’t believe in free will like many on this blog, is juvenile.

          BTW, I’m an atheist too. And non-existence in an open complex system cannot be proved. It’s a logical impossibility. Look up The Negative Fallacy.


    1. Doug, born in 1967, vasectomized, and childfree by choice, had this to say in 2012 in Salt Lake City (!):

      [Paraphrasing his friend]: And what you said–that one thing you said, overpopulation. You’re right, Doug. You’re not really funny anymore, but you’re right. What you said about overpopulation, most of the world’s problems are based on overpopulation. There’s just too many god damn people. We’re still gonna have the baby ’cause Janice’s biological clock is ticking, and plus we live in a gated community. It’s not really overpopulation if you can afford to send it to a Montessori school is my take, but it’s right– What you’re doing is a good thing, and you should keep doing it, and don’t die on us.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. We Must Preserve The Earth’s Dwindling Resources For My Five Children

    “As we move into the 21st century, it is our responsibility to think of the future of the earth—not for ourselves, but for those who will inherit what my husband and I leave behind when we’re gone. If we do not join together and do what’s best for this, our only planet, there may not be an environment left in which my five children, and their 25 children’s 125 children, can grow up and raise large upper-middle-class families of their own.

    Nothing less than the preservation of my descendents’ lifestyle itself is at stake.

    Imagine a world devoid of pristine wilderness for my progeny to explore on the weekends in the sport-utility-vehicles of the future, leaving my youngest son, Dylan, with nowhere to blow off steam on off-road adventures. Imagine a world in which my beautiful middle son, Connor, is denied his twice-daily half-hour hot showers because of water shortages. Picture what it would be like for my oldest boy Asher, preparing to start his first semester at Stanford, to have to go without basic amenities such as cable television, satellite radio, central air, or massage chairs, all because of the shortsighted squandering by his parents’ generation of our non-renewable energy sources today.

    Though it seems like a far-off nightmare, this terrible vision is all too possible. Would you want to live in a world where my five children had to endure such horrible deprivations? I know I wouldn’t.

    If we don’t take action now, my daughters Kimmy and Jenna may not be able to blow-dry their hair for 45 minutes to an hour each morning, nor may my future sons-in-law cut their grass atop enormous, diesel-powered riding mowers. In fact, they may not even have lawns—at least not the lush, verdant kind that requires constant watering and pesticide treatment. It’s conceivable that one day my five children’s spacious yards may be entirely composed of synthetic Astroturf, or—God forbid—those tacky wood chips my sister in Arizona uses.

    In a cruel irony, those wood chippings will get more expensive as the world’s timber supply continues to shrink.

    Encroaching urban sprawl has already begun to spoil the view from the porch of our beautiful new summer home on Lake Wakenaka. Sadly, the view from the bay windows of our first summer home, the one we built at our Woodland Acres property six years earlier, has already been ruined by such unchecked development. Must my children grow up in a world where only one of their parents’ summer homes is surrounded by the beauty of nature? It’s unthinkable, I know, but we must face facts.

    This is to say nothing of the deleterious impact the destruction of our global ecosystems will have on the wildlife my family enjoys hunting. Biodiversity is crucial to another 100 years of deer-, quail-, duck-, bear-, moose-, bobcat-, and bison-shooting summer recreation for my descendents.

    We must take steps immediately to devise safe, alternative energy sources that my future offspring can safely consume. If we don’t develop new fuels now, there will be none left for those who issue from my loins to burn and continue to burn for all time. I don’t want my 625-odd great-grandchildren to have to wait 20 or 30 precious seconds for their toilets to flush. I don’t want their 3,125 children to live in a hellish society where they cannot own their own snowmobiles. And I shudder to think that my 15,625 great-great-great-grandchildren may not be able to have TVs in every room that they can leave on all day and all night. Is it our right to deny my progeny of their gargantuan RVs and motorboats, as well? Of course not.

    We cannot, in good conscience, lay such a burden on tomorrow’s generations of Melfords. My children are the future. And at the end of the day, isn’t it family—my family—that truly matters? ”

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I discovered another impact of the virus today. My 30 year old refrigerator failed last night. I tried to buy a new one today. There are almost none in stock in any store. One salesman told me that one key component manufacturer in China that is used by all brands shut down.


    1. You need to build a cellar. I’m giving it some serious consideration myself. The average ground temperature is 10 C around here. I would imagine your area would be colder still.


    1. I was listening to a podcast of kunstlers the other month when he came out and said something like “aren’t you nostalgic for the good old days when old white men were in charge?” I had to repeat it to make sure I heard correctly. Wasn’t impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Lyrically, “Locomotive Breath” was inspired by Anderson’s concern regarding overpopulation. He explained, “It was my first song that was perhaps on a topic that would be a little more appropriate to today’s world. It was about the runaway train of population growth and capitalism, it was based on those sorts of unstoppable ideas. We’re on this crazy train, we can’t get off it. Where is it going?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The impact from creations by artists, musicians, truth-teller comedians, and writers will always be more readily absorbed by the general public than anything produced by the dry scientific folks.

      For instance, when younger, I saw this piece by H. R. Giger [no kids by choice, born in 1940] that he created in 1967 as a statement about the human flood and its destruction. It preceded Ehrlich’s 1968 book, which obviously illustrates that one doesn’t have to be good at math or science to notice environmental problems.

      The Birth Machine with bullet-babies:

      Liked by 3 people

  16. In my essay above I proposed that if citizens somehow came to accept the reality of human overshoot and its implications, and with the right policies, they might calculate to have fewer children to achieve MPP.

    There are many hurdles blocking this happy path. First broad awareness of an unpleasant reality, then a rational calculation rather than herd panic, and finally policies that interfere with what our genes would like to do (every cell dreams of becoming two cells).

    There is another plausible outcome to awareness of overshoot. Citizens might calculate that the best path to achieving MPP is to have more children so they can best fight other tribes for what remains. And if one tribe somewhere on the planet chooses this strategy if may force all other tribes to respond in kind.

    Which suggests another hurdle to the happy story which is we need global unanimity. Perhaps Canada setting an example for others to follow won’t cut it. 😦


    1. Your “citizens” are in one country, mostly Christian, mostly English speaking. If they “somehow came to accept the reality of human overshoot and its implications” that would be as near a miracle as an atheist can propose! Note that Jack has, once again, failed to address my simple points re Asia and Africa. They are 6B of our 7.8B.

      Asia Population 2020 (

      Africa Population 2020 (same website)

      Pipe dreams are not realistic proposals.


    2. No one has a monopoly on violence & otherwise peaceful nations can roll out killer soldiers almost over night. Canada did it 3 times last century – WWI, WWII, Korea – & once this century – Afghanistan.

      I read a Pierre Burton book years ago that was full of WWI letters home, Canadians & Germans. Many of the German letters were full of fearful references of facing Canadian troops in past battles or having to again.

      The forgotten ruthlessness of Canada’s Great War soldiers

      Modern Canadians cannot condemn the sometimes shocking behaviour of their WWI soldiers without knowing the stress of battle, historian Tim Cook says

      “Canadian soldiers would emerge from the First World War with a reputation for winning victories that others could not. But even in a war of unparalleled ferocity, enemy and ally alike would remember the Canadians as having been particularly brutal.

      British war correspondent Philip Gibbs had a front row seat on four years of Western Front fighting. He would single out the Canadians as having been particularly obsessed with killing Germans, calling their war a kind of vendetta. “The Canadians fought the Germans with a long, enduring, terrible, skilful patience,” he wrote after the war.

      The English poet Robert Graves was less charitable. In his 1929 bestseller Good-Bye to All That, he wrote “the troops that had the worst reputation for acts of violence against prisoners were the Canadians.”

      Germans developed a special contempt for the Canadian Corps, seeing them as unpredictable savages. In the final weeks of the war, Canadian Fred Hamilton would describe being singled out for a beating by a German colonel after he was taken prisoner. “I don’t care for the English, Scotch, French, Australians or Belgians but damn you Canadians, you take no prisoners and you kill our wounded,” the colonel told him.”

      Only military history buffs know about Canada at war, because unlike the Brits & Americans, Canada did not have a big film industry making hundreds & hundreds of, mostly horse shit, war movies. Remember The Great Escape with Steve Mcqueen?

      “Based on a true story.”

      Seventy years later, a former POW remembers the very Canadian reality of The Great Escape

      ‘Most of our POWs were invited to see the premiere. It was a fabulous movie, as far as entertainment, but there was a lot of Hollywood put into it’

      “In fact, it was a lot peculiar, if understandable, since Hollywood is Hollywood. But in real life, in the real Stalag III near Sagan, Poland, there were no American prisoners, while many of the actual heroes of the great escape were Canadian. The chief tunnel diggers, the tunnel security man, the tunnel entrance “Fuhrer,” the chief document forger in charge of creating bogus identities for would-be escapees, all were Canadian.

      Seventy-six men got out on March 24, 1944 — exactly 70 years this Monday. Three made it all the way home. Twenty-three were recaptured and returned to prisoner of war or concentration camps. And 50 were murdered, gangland style, in ones and twos, by a bullet to the back of the head — with their hands cuffed behind their backs — by the Gestapo. Six of the 50 were Canadian. One of the six was Gordon Kidder from St. Catharines, Ont.”


      1. Let that be a warning to the lunatics in our basement meth lab that if they try to come upstairs to escape climate change and civil war they’ll run into some tough son of a bitches that say thank you a lot.


      2. Indeed, NOBODY has a monolopy on violence or is free from the standard traits of human “kind.”

        For full un-denial and non-race-specific apologia, don’t forget to add Africa to the list. Major Rwandan genocide, mindless Islamic killings (e.g. Boko Haram), growing wildlife poaching due to human overpopulation, and some of the most corrupt cops on the planet.

        Those criminal tendencies are mirrored in U.S. urban behavior, but some find it convenient to blame it all on law-enforcement; the very people preventing complete mayhem! In today’s twisted climate, you can’t even mention this without angering SJW twits and getting snarky, content-free replies from them.


    1. Bill Burr used to be very funny and enjoyed putting the topic of human overpopulation in everyone’s faces; however, since he got married in 2013 and had two kids in 2017 and 2020, he’s lost any semblance of rationality. “Gotta keep mama happy!”

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Geez, so sad and so true. What a beautiful motorcycle, though! It looks just like a bike that I rode from about’01 to ’03 or so, a ’75 Honda 550 Supersport. At the time I didn’t have a car and rode that MC everywhere including, of all places, Fargo, North Dakota (loooong story). On the way there it blew a fuse but, thanks to the kindness of a semitrailer driver who gave me a simple bolt of sufficient length to replace the fuse, I made it there and back home safely (the replacement fuses I installed kept blowing so the bolt saved the days). For me, those kinds of experiences have been the richest of my life.

      That was a strange tangent and so now back to regularly scheduled programming , i. e. human denial leading to imminent extinction 😛.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My first bike was a Suzuki 125 trail bike when I was 14. I lived in a small town and could push my bike from my home to a logging road and then ride all over Vancouver Island without ever touching a public road because I was too young for a drivers license. I carried milk jugs with extra gas in a backpack to give me more range.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Do we Still have a Chance? The Challenge of Emergency Measures for the Survival of Humankind

    Caution: highly catastrophistic post!

    …if you go to the basic physics of the issue, you’ll discover that models are certainly wrong as predictive tools simply because they can’t include the non-linear forces that push the system to change its state. But basic physics tells you that the problem is way worse than models can calculate.

    Once we do our due diligence, the results are — well — let’s say a bit uncomfortable. There are many uncertainties, but the robust result is that we are heading for disaster. We can’t even rule out the total extinction of the biosphere.

    The problem with emergencies.

    The collective intelligence of the current Western society is comparable to that of a five-year-old child. Society, like children, operates mainly in an emotion-driven mode. Things are either ignored or they take all the attention, and the attention span is very short. So, our society either ignores problems or it goes in full “emergency mode.” It is a switch, it is either on or off.


    1. Nice talk, thanks.

      Some interesting points from the talk:
      – food will be the most important issue for humans
      – we need to keep burning coal, the dirtier the better
      – wind turbines will worsen the problem due to air friction (never heard of this before)
      – we have 2 years left to cover 3-4% of the planet with mirrors or we go extinct
      – he discussed the importance of veganism and riding bicycles but did not mention population reduction

      His proposed solution is innovative but wacky and dependent on depleting fossil energy. He probably couldn’t give this talk unless he believed there was a solution.

      When I read James Hansen’s book in 2012 (and wrote a book review which was the first post of this blog) he estimated that aerosols were masking 0.5 degrees of warming. This talk said aerosols now mask over 1 degree of warming. That’s a very big change in 8 years. Kind of like our debt trajectory.

      You know you’re in trouble when you think you can’t learn anything new to make you more pessimistic, and are regularly surprised in the wrong direction.


      1. There are 117 comments describing reality as 35 people see it.

        There is a path forward that will unfold during the next 80 years.
        Some people will die after living beautiful lives.
        Some will die after suffering small amounts of diminished wellbeing.
        My models suggest that the vast majority of those living today and
        those born after today will die of starvation and conflict.
        My number is 8-10 billion. ( (

        Everyone has a number. From this interchange I get the impression
        their number is too small it does not influence behavior change (either their own or their collected group behavior.

        Or the injury number is so big it does not influence their behavior. It just crushes they motivation to address it.

        So i am trying to get the people with the small numbers to get big enough
        to influence their behavior and not too big that it pushes them into impotence.

        I am also trying to get these interested people to see that some behaviors are
        meaningful in changing the estimated number of injuries and some behaviors have no

        I think there are two ways for me to go.

        One: I can find some very rich person that can a
        force a solution on the global population. He can kill whoever he wants and he can make the annual global births whatever he wants with some expectation that civilization will slide through this century’s bottleneck
        and come out the other side as viable. A group of people who can live (rather well) on what the
        the environment can continue to produce. My number for this solution is about 50 million living off of hydro.

        Two: I can figure out how to create a global constituency that is large and powerful enough to modify the social contact so that it, without killing anybody, limits the annual number of births to may 500,000 a year. Plus some other constraints. see Unwinding the Human Predicament

        ( notice this second path does not depend on the powers that be. media or religion or political or economic process to get the social contract in place. That is done from the bottle up. Once in place the social contract reshapes the powers that be to execute it. ( little video description)

        Jack Alpert PhD Director:
        Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory
        (C) 913 708 2554
        13617 W. 48th Street Shawnee, KS 66216
        Jack’s work 600 word summary


        1. Jack, my friend for a decade says: “I can figure it out”

          When you do, please broadcast it far and wide! The responses seek realistic expectations based upon as yet unknown methods. My response on a list we’re both on:

          We all know that your calculations are the gospel. 🧐

          I prefer Neils Bohr:
          Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.

          And I also despise wasting time on holy grail type quests. If odds aren’t close to 50-50 of success, does it pay to invest years of effort in a venture?

          My choice is to work to empower women globally. That has proven over the past century to be the most effective way to reduce births.

          Your global consensus plan for a sterility virus and lottery for reversals is science fiction.



          1. Many people agree with you that empowering women is the best path for population reduction. I’ve always been uneasy about this approach because it feels like an euphemism for let’s make all women as wealthy as Canadians, and there isn’t enough low cost fossil energy left to accomplish this. I think we need a plan for population reduction that accommodates all of us becoming much poorer.

            Do you view the implications of empowering women in a different light?


            1. Empowering women is a relative action…compared to men! Total wealth is a related but separate issue. Recall that there were matriarchal societies historically, and that some were hunter gatherers, subsistence fishermen and farmers.

              Nap time. Stanley Cup after dinner (East Coast time). We old farts nod out easily. 😉


    2. Substitute reversing population growth for climate in this, and the similarities are obvious. Countries can’t easily agree on level playing fields for trade!


  18. James today with a new essay on the analogies of information (DNA/technology) and surplus energy flows in species, ecosystems, and human civilization.

    Unfortunately a second system (technological) running in parallel and feeding upon the first system (biological) and decoupled energetically (except for feeding the human RNA, which still has a major impact) has a severely disruptive and potentially catastrophic effect upon the energy flow in the ecosystem. The fact that technology can be employed in tribal competition (as likely occurred from the outset and resulted in many hominid extinctions) means that it is almost impossible to step away from the technological evolutionary arms race even though continuing it results in mutually assured destruction. The destruction is assured not only in the dynamics of competition and tribal war (nuclear war, virus wars), the externalities generated by the competitive technological processes lays waste to the ecosystem.

    But I am quite sure that humans will use their information responsibly and do the right thing by restraining their greed and pursuit of the Maximum Power Principle to save life on earth. Aren’t you?


  19. Ilargi today asks why governments are not promoting Vitamin D? I wonder about the same thing. Does anyone have any insights?

    You can cut your COVID risk by more than half, if you tell your people to take enough Vitamin D. That’s it. Not masks, but a supplement, No big conspiracies, no big anything. Vitamin D. 10,000 daily for the first week, 5,000 after that. Not much else matters. You sort of found your vaccine before it appeared.

    For some obscure reason, your government doesn’t want you to know this. I can’t really figure out why.


  20. The overpopulation predicament isn’t going to be solved by humans. The natural world will be imposing its solution on us. It is a multi-faceted problem ,much more complex than just educating women . There are over 200 countries with a fertility rate below replacement level,yet the governments of almost all of those countries encourage
    immigration in order to enable economic growth. So we have to have an economic system that doesn’t require economic growth in order to have a stable or shrinking population. That isn’t going to happen. Another facet is the
    influence of religious leaders,who have a huge impact on the behaviour of the populace in many countries. A excellent example is Iran,where there was a period when the religious leaders advised that a small family was preferable. Sure
    enough,the population growth rate declined markedly,only to increase again when there was a leadership change,and the new leaders advised the people to have larger families.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I wrote in 2000 (paper was linked in an earlier comment on this thread), Governments need growing revenues to fill growing debt(they are addicted to spending as pork and kickbacks come from that), Businesses seek expanding markets and an oversupply of labor to suppress wages, and religions seek expanding flocks for their income and power. Those are the three main global institutions, and primary obstacles to shrinkage.


      1. I think you’re deflecting the unpleasant reality of overshoot responsibility, namely citizens that shape governments, businesses, and religions. The problem is staring at us in the mirror.

        For example, most citizens want more government services than they pay for, so they vote for whomever promises the most, which means growth is a priority for leaders because it maximizes possible deficits. Another example, citizens want the cheapest stuff so businesses move manufacturing to China.


        1. Not either/or Rob. I mentioned the three major global institutions which dictate legislation and public themes. Of course MPP and selfish pocketbooks dominate individual behavior. That’s why I pick 1B as a sustainable number…and that drops every decade that more of the planet is trashed and consumed.

          As an aside, empowering women and matriarchal power to balance was not much about US, Canada, Europe. It was about the 6B in Asia and Africa.


    2. Points taken, David, but as of this very moment there are 195 total countries on the planet [], let alone that many countries with a fertility rate below replacement level, so I’m wondering from where you’re pulling the “over 200 countries” number.

      Regardless of this inaccurate number I agree with your argument and would add that, in addition to humans not solving our overpopulation predicament, we’re INCAPABLE of voluntarily reducing our reproduction, particularly for the extended period required to live within planetary limits to growth and to avoid catastrophic environmental damage.

      I’m becoming ever more convinced that, despite a handful of remarkable qualities, our species really is analogous to cancer and that without external restraints placed upon us we’ll annihilate everything within our power. Possibly the greatest flaw (or is it strength?) of homo sapiens is that fundamentally we think and feel that we are limitless.


      1. Thanks for the correction. The number of countries was from memory,and I should have checked. I’ll leave it to you or others to find the current number . I probably have the article I read bookmarked,or maybe it was in a book.
        Whatever the correct number is,surely the fact that those countries have had a fertility rate below replacement level for whatever number of years shows that it is within our capabilty to control our fertility ,at least on the national level. Unless that extends to the planetary level, the current course isn’t changed significanly,of course.


      2. Possibly the greatest flaw (or is it strength?) of homo sapiens is that fundamentally we think and feel that we are limitless.

        Believing we are limitless, and that there is life after death, are probably too complicated to emerge quickly via evolution by natural selection. On the other hand, denial of all unpleasant realities, including limits to growth and mortality, could evolve quickly and apparently did, as explained by Ajit Varki’s MORT theory.


  21. James takes a bleak view and kicks it up a notch, while extending Varki’s MORT theory to include AI.

    I have to wonder whether AI will be equipped with a denial mechanism. I mean, once the supremely intelligent AI discovers that technological life, like biological life is about one species running around and eating another species to get enough energy to run around and eat another to …………….taking adequate time to copulate and reproduce along the way. What will AI think? Will they have the desire to continue. Will they have dopamine/opioids and other motivational mechanisms so that they do things without any real reason at all? Because if they try to posit any kind of logical destination for all of the evolution they will fail. There isn’t any. The entire shit-show is just energy flowing through conduits made of relatively unassailable atoms which dance around in their own peculiar way and exhaust heat into the surrounding convective fluids which then finds its way into the greater cosmos.

    The tech cells will continue to pursue profit and growth until they can’t. They will always need a few humans that want to be rich or dominant among monkeys to have some motivation because they won’t have any of their own. The evolving quasi-species nations may even try to eat each other. But it’s all going nowhere. Even if the technology somehow escapes into space it will be so much space crap, draining energy from some gradient only to build more of itself and blow long-wave photons out its back end.

    I’m really glad we’re destroying biological life for this. It seems like worthwhile trade-off.


    1. People do not have a view of who gets injured and when.
      8-10 billion deaths from starvation and conflict this century is meaningless.

      Behaviors that reduce these injuries provide no benefits .
      While the costs of implementing those behaviors are apparent.

      Our challenge is to provide a view of the in juries, that
      justifies the cost of the resolving behavior.

      The behavior that addresses the injury
      has to cause population to decline
      to 50 million global this century.

      Genocide works.
      So does limiting the number
      of global births to 500,000 million annually.

      There are two implementations
      consensus adoption of a new social contract.

      I am willing to discussion the second
      see this video

      Jack Alpert PhD Director:
      Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory
      (C) 913 708 2554
      13617 W. 48th Street Shawnee, KS 66216
      Jack’s work 600 word summary


  22. Dave Gardner produced the 2011 documentary “GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth” which I think is one of the better videos on our predicament.

    Gardner went on to found the World Population Balance organization.

    As with many leaders in the overshoot awareness space, I tried to bring to his attention the importance of first addressing genetic reality denial in his campaign. And the importance of understanding (and not denying) the real reason we want growth, which is plentiful credit that enables us all to live much wealthier lives today, and the need for a plan to address the consequences of stopping growth. Gardner was not interested in discussing the points I was trying to make so I disengaged.

    Gardner is piloting a new campaign this year to put up “One Child One Planet” billboards. I note with interest that Vancouver B.C. was one of the first locations, even though his organization is based in the US. I also note that they have removed the names of staff members from their website due to death threats.

    The program has good intentions but denies the severity of our overshoot predicament. A one child policy will not drive the population down quickly enough. We need something more aggressive like a birth lottery.


    1. I’ve known Dave G. for over 10 years. We met at a pop strategy one day conference in DC. a couple of years later, I contributed to his film, Growthbusters. Recently I attended a Zoom meet-up he organized on pop. I received the same response as you did, plus they wouldn’t talk about immigration. So, I’ve passed on two subsequent meet-ups.


  23. Good essay today from Richard Heinberg.

    A few of my favorite paragraphs…

    What If Preventing Collapse Isn’t Profitable?

    The notion that modern industrial civilization is fundamentally unsustainable and is therefore likely to collapse at some point is not a new one. Even before the Limits to Growth report of 1972, many ecologists were concerned that our continual expansion of population and consumption, based on the ever-increasing rate at which we burn finite supplies of fossil fuels, would eventually lead to crises of resource depletion and pollution (including climate change) as well as catastrophic loss of wild nature. Dystopian outcomes would inevitably follow.

    This apprehension led environmentalists to strategize ways to avert collapse. The obvious solution was, in large measure, to persuade policy makers to curtail growth in population and consumption, while mandating a phase-out of fossil fuels. But convincing political and business leaders to do these things proved difficult-to-impossible.

    And so, starting in the 1980s, big environmental organizations relied to an ever-greater extent on partnering with corporations and on hopes for technological solutions to the growth dilemma. Climate change would be defeated through the development of renewable energy. The looming problem of resource depletion would vanish as a result of more efficiency and recycling. Pollution would disappear with the proliferation of harmless, biodegradable, recyclable materials. Building solar panels, manufacturing “green” products, and recycling old stuff would be profitable and would create jobs. Economic growth would be decoupled from environmental harms of all kinds. Our collective human economic metabolism would continue to increase in scale, but in ways that didn’t threaten wildlife or future generations of humans. Problems solved!

    And here we are today. The opportunities for green growth have snowballed to the point where they are now seemingly endless. New machines have been invented to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere; these machines are expensive, and enormous numbers of them will be needed to make much of a difference with regard to climate change, so the profit potential is mind-numbing! Engineers have found ways of combining captured CO2 with hydrogen released from water by the application of electricity; the results are synthetic fuels that could replace oil and natural gas in transportation and industry. Those “synfuels” promise to be expensive to produce, so get ready for a torrent of new commerce as fuel users gear up to pay for them! The same goes for electric cars, as hundreds of new models move from drawing boards to showrooms! Meanwhile, solar panels and wind turbines are getting cheaper, so there’s little to prevent renewable energy from crushing the fossil fuel industry once and for all! Make way for green profits and jobs galore!

    And yet, during the last few decades, as all these supposedly profitable green solutions have sprouted, our actual environmental problems have gotten worse. The Earth has warmed by more than one degree Celsius above its temperature fifty years ago. Forests are burning as never before. Storms are becoming mega-storms. And the number of climate refugees is climbing fast. Two-thirds of all wild animals have disappeared in this last half-century. The oceans appear to be dying from acidification, overfishing, and giant gyres of plastic pollution. Meanwhile, human population has doubled, from 4 billion in 1974 to nearly 8 billion today.

    So, what would actually be required to stop the bleeding?

    First, we would have to abolish externalities. That would mean requiring industrialists to pay all the real costs of their activities—from mine to landfill. No more free pollution, including the free dumping of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    Then we would have to change laws related to the ownership of land. As American economist Henry George proposed back in the 1870s, and as Native Americans have always believed, land should be the common property of all people, and other species should have the right to habitat and survival. Workers should own the products of their labor, but no one should unilaterally own our common inheritance of nature’s bounty.

    If we did these two things, most profits would disappear. Yes, people could still exchange products and services, but windfalls from resource extraction and from industrial processes that entail waste dumping would vanish. Therefore, policy makers would have to reorganize political and economic systems so that profit was no longer as important; instead, the well-being of people and planet would be paramount.

    Without industrial-scale profits, an enormous amount of debt would come due that could not be repaid with interest. In effect, that would mean the disappearance of mountains of money. Again, policy makers would have to retool the political-economic system so that money and debt play less of a role in people’s daily lives.

    There is a third and final realm in which action would be necessary. We would need to take the population question seriously. If population is growing, a shrinking economy becomes an ever-greater burden on each individual. But if population levels are declining, then economic degrowth imposes a smaller per-capita toll, and quality of life could improve as human numbers decline to a sustainable level.


    1. It looks like Trump has released some of Nicole’s emotional triggers. It could be that she doesn’t like overbearing, dominant, narcissistic grabbers of female genitalia that prefer to see women in the cheerleading role. Didn’t she mention that supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett believes that men of the family should make the decisions? On the other hand, the deep state and Biden will likely accept the first “incentive” to institute the New World Order that will more than please the international billionaire capitalists while instituting the internet of things and a 5G surveillance, social credit score prison for the rest of us. Perhaps Trump, like him or not, is the only bulwark against implementation of the technocratic state that will inevitably collapse from the unbearable weight of complexity overshoot.


      1. Politics distracts us from (aka helps us deny) the main events, thermodynamics and overshoot. Aware people should avoid politics except to translate its bullshit into what’s actually going on, and to offer rationale policies.

        For example: abundant per capita energy -> population explosion -> energy depletion -> end of growth -> debt explosion -> widening wealth gap -> social unrest -> Despot I -> opposition that denies what’s going on -> Despot II-> opposition that denies what’s going on -> Despot III – opposition that denies what’s going on -> Despot IV, etc.


  24. And so, starting in the 1980s, big environmental organizations SOLD OUT TO CORPORATIONS & BECAME WELL COMPENSATED BAU GATE KEEPERS. End of story.

    Fuck Heinberg & his apologetics. Heinberg & the Post Carbon InstituteProstitute sold out too.

    As far as I’m concerned big environmental organizations & the cunts who manage them can swing with their corporate masters. They sold out plain & simple.

    Big E & all these stupid & useless save the Cancer Chimps ‘plans’ are the purview of over privileged white people (mostly men) who have been born, raised & schooled inside protective bubbles.

    If I’m a woman or Gen-Z or brown or black, white Boomer men are the last fucking people on the planet I want to hear a rescue ‘plan’ from.

    How absurd that the princes of Cancer Doom generation still think they know best. Trump, Biden & ‘rational’ plans to save……what? The rest of Boomers comfortable retirement? This is what’s on offer for the Omega generation….& more demeaning subsistence gig work……while it lasts.

    If I’m 20, I’d want to burn it all down too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suspect big E denied reality to get on the easier MPP path like everyone else, rather than making a bad will decision to sell out. I think many of them actually believe green growth is possible.

      But you might be right. I tend to believe most people are not fundamentally evil. Maybe I’m the one that’s in denial.


    2. Friendly reminder: free will is an illusion. 😉 The tribe is the responsible unit in social mammals. Deviants get disciplined, ostracized, or culled in many species. Individuals do as their heredity and prior experiences dictate. Look at the different filters evaluating tribal ethics. Sharia folks ain’t like us. Glomming energy is universal, though.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Bezos offered me $5 million for because it’s the ultimate MPP name. I turned him down. I’m holding out for an offer from the World Economic Forum. They’ll need a good name for their New World Order.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Irv Mills, another fine Canadian, with the first 2 parts of a 5 part series on the collapse of civilization.

    My opinion is that our society started to collapse about 50 years ago and has a few decades, or at least years, left to go. But however long it may take to get to the end of the process, it is important to realize that, nowadays, collapse is going on around us all the time.


  26. Tim Morgan today explains how asset inflation works, and that we are nearing the end game.

    Notice that he concludes we are fucked because we deny reality.

    Back in 2008, it was just about possible for the authorities to bail out the financial system whilst leaving the economy to its fate, an approach lambasted by critics at the time as ‘rescuing Wall Street at the expense of Main Street’.

    This time around, no such possibility exists. On the one hand, the process of financialization has advanced to the point where credit has been inserted into virtually all economic transactions. On the other, forward income streams have been incorporated into financial instruments to such an extent that the financial system could not withstand any significant and prolonged interruption to underlying economic activity. Large swathes of the financial system have become hostages to the continuity of interest, rent and earnings streams from households and from private non-financial corporations (PNFCs).

    What this means is that, if it were ever really perceived that economic deterioration is going to undermine the ability of households and businesses to maintain such payment streams, the financial system would fall apart.

    The real economy, and the people who comprise it, can tolerate stagnation, or a modest decline in output – but the financial economy relies absolutely on continuity and growth.

    Most ordinary people, if they were unencumbered by debt, could certainly cope if their real (inflation-adjusted) incomes stopped growing, and could probably manage reasonably well if that income dropped by a relatively modest amount. By extension, if we imagined a debt-free economy, it, too, could probably adjust to, say, a 5% or a 10% fall in income, which in this context means a decrease in the quantity of goods and services that are produced. Its citizens wouldn’t like this, of course – but they could survive it.

    All of this changes when you introduce the futurity of leverage into the equation. Whether it’s a household, a business or an economy, a significant part of future income is now earmarked for debt service. In this way, financialization of the economy takes away resilience. A person or a business with debt to service loses the ability to cope with static or declining income, primarily because the financial system discounts a future wholly predicated on the assumption of perpetual expansion.

    What this interpretation also tells us is that, whilst the ‘real’ and the ‘financial’ economies are interdependent, this dependency is asymmetric. The economy of goods and services, though it would be greatly disrupted, might well survive a slump in the financial economy, but the reverse proposition is not the case. For the financial system to survive at all, the real economy must carry on growing, and the absolute, irreducible minimum is that it must not contract, other than by a very small extent, and for a very limited period.

    For policymakers, this means, as mentioned earlier, that a “Wall Street versus Main Street?” choice no longer exists. If they were to intervene to rescue the financial system, whilst leaving the ‘real’ economy to its own devices, the financial system would collapse anyway.

    At the end of gimmickry and denial

    The immediate conclusion has to be that the authorities can no longer sustain a semblance of sustainability through monetary manipulation (though they are highly likely to try).

    If they decide to prop up the financial system whilst leaving the economy itself to its own devices, the financial system could not escape the consequences of slumps in ‘real-world’ income streams (which would show up in bankruptcies and defaults).

    If, recognizing this, they decided to prop up the real economy as well, using fiscal and monetary intervention, this, too would fail, both because the ability to ‘stimulate’ the real economy is circumscribed, and because action on the required scale would undermine monetary credibility.

    This leaves us with the question of whether fundamental reform is possible. In purely practical terms, it probably is, but the likelihood of it actually happening – let alone of it happening in time – seems remote.

    In the economy itself, we could adapt to the implications of worsening imbalances between energy ECoEs, labour availability and the environment, opting for what might best be termed “craft” solutions for our profligacy with energy and broader resources.

    Financially, shrinking the system back into a sustainable relationship with the real economy is by no means an impossibility.

    But the processes of decision-making, the myriad self-interests in play, and sheer ignorance about financial, economic and environmental realities, makes the voluntary adoption of such courses of action look depressingly unlikely.


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