Dave Gardner directed the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. He also hosts the podcasts GrowthBusters and The Overpopulation Podcast.
Recent episodes featuring Dave Gardner
35 Decoupling Nonsense
Technological innovation cannot take the environmental destruction out of economic growth. Get the real facts, not the blind faith and hope, about whether “decoupling” can allow more and more “prosperity” for more and more people without also delivering more and more ecosystem collapse. Decoupling is Not a ThingIn this episode, Dave and Erika take serious exception to Andrew McAfee’s misguided thesis in his latest book, More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources—and What Happens Next. Erika really likes Sam Harris’ podcast, Making Sense, but when it comes to his episode interviewing McAfee, Dave assures her it is utter nonsense. But first… Individual Action vs. Waiting for System ChangeDo individual actions really matter in the face of the climate crisis? Or are they a distraction from critically needed system change? Should we all be flying less, reducing our meat consumption, and/or having fewer children? Or do we wait until government regulations incentivize us to behave better? Erika and Dave agree with Greta Thunberg, but add a few more reasons to do the right thing, and do it now. They review a piece by BBC Chief Environment Consultant Justin Rowlatt that includes a conversation with Greta Thunberg, plus insights from Princeton University Professor Peter Singer (“the world's most influential living philosopher”) and Professor Kelly Fielding of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. These experts agree that our actions do matter, and we have an opportunity to be the change we want to see. Following Greta’s lead, we can and should signal to others with our actions, if we want to inspire the next environmental movement. Spoiler alert: Free will is real! Next… Can the Next President Get Us to Net-Zero Carbon Emissions?Presidential candidates are promising to deliver the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions targeted by the IPCC. Politicians’ climate policy platforms have been characterized as an “auction of promises,” by analysts. Are these promises realistic? Don’t get your hopes up. What will it really take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050?  Would you believe we have to turn on 1500 new wind turbines every day, if we’re not going to give up our overconsuming ways and our quest for eternal economic growth? Good luck with that! Erika and Dave discuss some interesting analysis by Roger Pielke in Forbes. How to Be SustainableLast, but certainly not least, we have a quick chat with a hero at California State University Northridge. Lecturer Dev Vrat teaches classes in sustainability, and caught our attention with an excellent list of…wait for it…individual actions you can take to behave more sustainably. The list was created by his students and published in the student newspaper. We were particularly impressed that the list includes choosing to adopt rather than bring new children into the world.   LINKS: Climate Change Action: We Can't All be Greta, But Your Choices Have a Ripple Effect – BBC piece by Justin Rowlatt The Great Uncoupling- A Conversation with Andrew McAfee – Making Sense podcast How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources: The Very Nature of Technological Progress is Being Radically Transformed – book review Decoupling is Dead! Long Live Degrowth! – Resilience.org piece we recommend reading   Study: Decoupling Debunked Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Requires a New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day – by Roger Pielke How to be Sustainable – guide by CSUN Students   14 Mayors Commit to Slashing Meat Consumption in Major Cities Worldwide Planet of the Humans – new film Free Will Is Real – some recommended reading Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Support this Vital Work Subscribe (free) so you don't miss an episode:
34 Coming Out as Childfree
More and more young women are declaring their intention not to conceive children. BirthStrike, Conceivable Future and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all made headlines on this point. Erika and Dave unpack the issues surrounding womanhood without motherhood in this conversation with the author of the new book, Childfree by Choice, sociologist Amy Blackstone. Amy is a professor of Sociology at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at University of Maine. Her research into the childfree choice has appeared in a variety of academic and media sources including the New York Times, National Public Radio, and other national, regional, and international outlets. Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family & Creating a New Age of Independence is a definitive investigation into the history and current growing movement of adults choosing to forgo parenthood: what it means for our society, economy, environment, perceived gender roles, and legacies, and how understanding and supporting all types of families can lead to positive outcomes for parents, non-parents, and children alike. Amy writes about her own experience as a childfree woman, as well as the stories of other childfree men and women, and uses academic research to shed light into the choice that remains culturally misunderstood. As more people are choosing to forgo parenthood today than ever before, it’s important to ask how this affects our society, economy, and environment. We dig deep into this topic and hear from Amy herself about whether she thinks we should keep having kids, and more about her view on the population-environment connection, an area Erika hopes to study in graduate school. Being childfree herself, Erika is a firm advocate, and hopes to add more positive attention to the childfree choice in the media as co-host for the GrowthBusters podcast and in her future research endeavors. Get Your Childfree Sticker! Wanting to make childfree and small-family decisions cool and a point of pride, Dave created small family stickers for you to put on the rear window of your car (a variation on the common stick figure families). Order yours here. Display it proudly to change the norm, making it “okay” to be childfree, even “cool.” Apply to be a Producer or Editor on the GrowthBusters PodcastWe need a little help cranking out episodes. If you have the skills, we definitely want to hear from you. If you just have the aptitude but interest in learning and helping, you could be a great candidate. Send us a note with a little bit about your skills, experience, availability and interest.   LINKS: Book Signing Event Schedule and Event Requests Will Not Having Children Save the Planet?The Stream on Al Jazeera English I Chose Not To Have Kids Because I’m Afraid For The Planet by Ash Sanders Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of IndependenceAmy’s new book What Gets Left Behind for Future Generations? Reproduction and the Environment in Spey Bay, ScotlandJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute World Vasectomy Day Film: To Kid or Not to Kid Further Reading: Keeping Families Small a Patriotic Act: ModiIndia Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges adoption of small families I Had 2 Kids. Now I Work to Influence People Against Having Their Own It’s Given Me Freedom': Three Women on Being Childless by Choice Toward a Small Family Ethic by Travis Rieder   Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Support this Vital Work Subscribe (free) so you don't miss an episode:
27 Family Size Decisions that Consider Welfare of Children
The Overpopulation Podcast
Today, family planning decisions tend to be all about the desires of parents, with little or no regard for the rights and living conditions of the prospective child and people who are already here. Do two adults have the right to bring a child into a world that’s a dystopian hell? Or do they at least have some responsibility NOT to? If the number of children you decide to conceive will have a direct impact on the quality of life those children experience, should that consequence be factored into your family size decision? These questions are more relevant now than ever. Today, more and more young women and couples are questioning whether having children is the right thing to do in a world destined for tough times. A new paper in the journal, Social Change, proposes a more child-centered and community-centered approach. A Human Rights Approach to Planning Families was authored by our guests on this podcast, Sarah Bexell and Catharina Graff-Hughey, along with attorney and Having Kids founder Carter Dillard and animal rights attorney Matthew Hamity. This episode is the first of several that will share content from – or suggested by – the April 2019 forum Tackling the Population Taboo: Creating a Sustainable Future. The forum was organized by Maureen Cohen Harrington, special projects manager at the nonprofit, Having Kids.   LINKS: A Human Rights Approach to Planning Families in the journal, Social Change Tackling the Population Taboo: Creating a Sustainable Future forum Tackling the Population Taboo: Creating a Sustainable Future (video of forum) Subscribe to get Overpopulation Updates (email) Share your thoughts with us Donate to keep this podcast going      
26 Playing Whack-a-Mole with Pro-Growth Bias
The Overpopulation Podcast
Dropping birth rates are good news, not a “slump” we should hope is temporary. Yet news reports, headlines and commentaries about this are consistently displaying a pro-growth bias. We have your back. The Overpopulation Podcast team has mallets in hand. In this episode we continue playing whack-a-mole with instances of overpopulation disinformation. NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Grist, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, and Facebook’s Undivided Attention video series all get a whacking in this episode. On the good news front, syndicated columnist Froma Harrop, Miley Cyrus, Prince Harry and the BirthStrike movement get nods of (modest) approval from the team. On Prince Harry’s declaration that he and Meghan will have no more than two children, podcast host Dave Gardner advises Harry to stop at one child – particularly to set an example. We just have to share this quote from Froma Harrop’s column in the show notes: “What makes for a strong society is healthy people, prosperous people and happy people — not more people. Americans can put low birthrates at the bottom of their worry list.” - Froma Harrop The team also briefly discusses the UN IPCC report, Climate and Land, which joins the growing list of dire warnings about our destruction of life support systems. In response, Dave suggests we “rally” the public to stop growing the population, rather than rallying technologists to try to feed 10.9 billion people in 2100. LINKS: Sustainable Population Australia Less Sex, Fewer Babies: Blame It on the Internet and Career Priorities piece by Sam Sanders on NPR’s All Things Considered  America’s Millennial Baby Bust: Profound Cultural Shifts Can’t be Overcome by Pro-Natalist Subsidies The Wall Street Journal editorial  A Declining Population Need Not Cause Angst column by Froma Harrop, May 28, 2019 Having Kids asks Grist to Address Sustainable Family Planning The Royal Baby is Cute and All, but Hello, the Planet is on Fire Commentary by Lisa Hymas and Ted MacDonald published in Grist  Humans Cause Climate Change. Do We Just Need Fewer Humans? Grist’s Ask Umbra column discussed in this episode, and in our episode 23: Getting Overpopulation Right in the Media Miley Cyrus Has Finally Found Herself Molly Lambert interviews Miley Cyrus in Elle  HRH The Duke of Sussex Interviews Dr. Jane Goodall for the September Issue of Vogue  Climate Change and Land UN IPCC Study Subscribe to get Overpopulation Updates (email) Share your thoughts with us Donate to keep this podcast going      
33 Is the End Near?
There may be beer in your fridge when you open it, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t in the early stages of climate catastrophe. The crisis is now, this is a present threat, not a future threat, according to our guest on this episode, Jeff Nesbit. He compiled an attention-getting catalog of things unraveling around the planet in his book, This Is the Way the World Ends. Is Nesbit predicting the end of the world? Listen to this episode to find out. In their discussion of Jeff’s book and interview, Erika and Dave agree he places too much faith in technology and wish he shared their belief that changing individual behavior and contracting our population are both critical parts of limiting climate disruption. Erika has a great notion: there is a “sweet spot” between too much technology and not enough. And don’t get them started on economic growth (oops, too late!). PLUS:  Erika can’t help but laugh at a piece critical of ecological footprint accounting and Earth Overshoot Day, written by Michael Schellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute. Dave is not a fan. And listeners have been sending their recommendations for additions to our Overshoot Playlist: Top 10 Environmental Songs. We share three links below. Listen to the podcast episode that plays our top 10 songs here. LINKS: This Is the Way the World Ends by Jeff Nesbit Climate Nexus Small Family Stickers   Songs Recommended by Listeners to Our Overshoot Playlist Episode: Earth Song by Michael Jackson Earth by Lil Dicky Poi Dog Pondering, by "The Ancient Egyptians”    Overshoot Playlist: Top Environmental Songs playlist on YouTube GrowthBusters playlist on Spotify Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Support this Vital Work Subscribe (free) so you don't miss an episode:
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Jun 9th, 1955
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
3 days, 11 hours