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A world in total denial by Hans Brunner

"Every time I hear or read the word 'sustainable', for instance, in 'sustainable growth', 'sustainable living' and 'sustainable economy', I feel that we are being cheated and lured into false security."

Article by Hans Brunner

"Sustainability," a word much used and abused

Every time I hear or read the word 'sustainable', for instance, in 'sustainable growth', 'sustainable living' and 'sustainable economy', I feel that we are being cheated and lured into false security. These expressions permeate our cultural communication and continuously mislead. It is therefore time to alert people to the uncomfortable, or ‘inconvenient’ truth about to what is urgently needed in order to obtain realistic sustainability. The fundamental problem that causes all our present and future unsustainable existence is that there are far too many of us on this planet of finite resources.

Ehrlich and Flannery

Professor Paul Ehrlich (ehrlich in German means ‘honest’), in his report “People and the Planet” to the Royal Society said

“ The optimum population of the earth was 1.5 to 2 billion people, much less than the seven billion alive today. So we have to humanly and as rapidly as possible move to population shrinkage.”

A similar statement was also made by Professor Tim Flannery in The Future Eaters as early as 1995:

“Because of the structure of our economy, a population of 6-12 million (people) would give Australians enormous flexibility in dealing with environmental and other problems.”

Both professors are surely acutely aware that they have to protect their reputation when making these statements. Obviously, their conclusions must have been based on lots of accurate and unbiased information, while realizing that their research results could upset a lot of people. Both also insist that their estimates are made under the condition that the living standard per person must not increase.

Increasing number of concerned people as people numbers increase

There is now a rapidly increasing number of other people who also express their concern about over-population, many of them well informed scientists.

Based on my own experience, I am personally convinced that their statements are realistic as well as accurate. We all can ill-afford to live any longer in a fools' paradise and naively belief that the little bandage work we are doing will save the world. The truth about over-population has to come out and be shouted from every rooftop. It is sad that, in spite of this, our politicians on both sides still push for population and economic growth as if there was no tomorrow. By this, they blindly speed up the certain and disastrous consequences that will inevitably doom our future.

Easy way to inform yourself: Check out Sustainable Population Australia (SPA)

I ask the skeptics to do their own, honest research or to contact Sustainable Population Australia for information before they refuse this important warning. Acting now, even if it seems harsh and difficult, is much better than to wait for the much more brutal and out of control responses, such as inevitable wars, famine and natural disasters, to do it for us.

Since there is abundant information and many detailed studies available on the above subject, it was not my purpose to go into all the details of what has happened and why it has gone so wrong, as it would take pages to cover it all. Greed would probably be one of the most fatal factors.

So, in future, when you use the word ‘sustainable’ think at least twice and more seriously about it and then you will most likely not use it.


If we agree to “think globally” about climate destabilization and at least one of its consensually validated principal agencies, it becomes evident that riveting attention on more and more seemingly perpetual GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village’s resources are being dissipated, each town’s environment degraded and every city’s fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, ‘the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth’ fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people and pollutants. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally” and sustainably.

More economic and population growth are soon to become no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.

Problems worldwide that are derived from conspicuous overconsumption and rapacious plundering of limited resources, rampant overproduction of unnecessary stuff, and rapid human overpopulation of the Earth can be solved by human thought, judgment and action. After all, the things we have done can be undone. Think of it as ‘the great unwinding of human folly’. Like deconstructing the Tower of Babel. Any species that gives itself the moniker, Homo sapiens sapiens, can do that much, can it not?

“We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continuous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainably. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous climate of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities. If we choose to review the perspective of a ‘marketwatcher’ who can see what is actually before our eyes, perhaps all of us can get a little more reality-oriented to the world we inhabit and a less deceived by an attractive, flawed ideology that is highly touted and widely shared but evidently illusory and patently unsustainable.

See: Myth of Perpetual Growth is killing America

of June 12, 2012 by Paul B. Farrell in Market Watch

This situation is no longer deniable. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are facing now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.