Population growth and overconsumption are two of the major factors driving environmental degradation and climate change. Growing populations enjoying ever more material comforts has been the hallmark of human progress for more than 100 years.
While we have a certain amount of control over some decisions, like how many children to have, how much stuff to buy and other personal decisions that have a lot of impact, a lot of the costs of consumption are hidden far away. How can we develop a better understanding of how our modern Western lifestyles, now spreading across the globe, affect the places that have to supply the resources that make those lifestyles possible?
One group thinks it can raise awareness by showing us. Here’s a collection of photos from the book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot. They’re quite sobering and dramatic, and are accompanied by some choice quotes about the direction our planet is heading. From feedlots to megamalls to oil fields to cows grazing in the burning Amazon rainforest, we’ve got a lot of work to do:
“We are slaves in the sense that we depend for our daily survival upon an expand-or-expire agro-industrial empire – a crackpot machine – that the specialists cannot comprehend and the managers cannot manage. Which is, furthermore, devouring world resources at an exponential rate.”- Edward Abbey