How to Boil a Frog


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From Claudia Morgado's interview with Jon Cooksey, writer/director of "How to Boil a Frog", about the intersection between art and climate change. We're posting his answers here in hopes of giving him some sort of credibitility as a mature adult, because god knows he doesn't act like it.


CM: Climate Change is one of the defining issues of this age with far reaching impact in all aspects of our lives and the natural environment. As a filmmaker and artist, what is your cultural relationship with science on the issues of climate change?

JC: I think we have a love/hate relationship with science now, fuelled by the kind of narcissism and ignorance that fuels all love/hate relationships. We expect science to provide for us, to feed us, to make us new and better iPods, to make the magical internet work, to make the lights go on when we flick a switch – but when it threatens to bring us into contact with reality, particularly the consequences of our wasteful lifestyle in the developed world (monstrously selfish in a global context), we revolt and start a Tea Party or the equivalent so we can collectively feel justified in disbelieving science. And as the Vancouver riots show us, people are willing to suspend their consciences in a collective situation in order to do whatever they please for a short while, if everyone is doing it. Thus denial of climate change – the ultimate act of disbelief in the face of overwhelming science fact – is naturally paired with the ultimate negative consequence of the “scientific revolution”, the amoral unleashing of technology to satisfy our immediate desires. They go hand in hand. They’re twins.

So my relationship to science, culturally, is to stop talking about science, and start talking about our resistance to it, our relationship to it – in other words, I deal with psychology, what we want from science (or from Santa), and what we project onto it. I think science fact is irrelevant to getting people to change their behaviour, though I do believe that being willing to face and accept the scientific facts of runaway global warming is one of the greatest moral duties of our time. So from psychology, I seem to have wandered into morality, and the two don’t mix well, because we have also projected our denial onto psychology, and want it to be a non-judgmental self-help book that accepts us along with our unsustainable consumption. But psychology, at best, is an understanding of why we’re afraid – or even physiologically incapable – of grasping the global consequences of our actions, and making a moral decision to join the indigenous people of the planet in saving some planet for the 7th generation to follow us.

CM: Do you think that your work can communicate/advise/suggest solutions and how?

JC: I think there are only a few ways to effectively communicate something as traumatic as climate change, the potential that it has to end mammalian life on earth, and the enormous change that it asks of us, in terms of consumption in the developed world. One is music, which seems to bypass emotional defences; another is images, particularly human faces, in which all but sociopaths read subtle emotions that evoke empathy; a third is story – fictional or non-fiction narratives that give a larger meaning to smaller events; and the fourth is humour. In making “How to Boil a Frog”, I tried to use all of those, but focused on humour as the marketing hook, because a movie can’t accomplish anything if people don’t go see it. Once I get past people’s emotional defences, then advice per se isn’t strictly necessary – people already can see where they’re off-base if they admit to the facts, however briefly – but offering solutions is key. I went out of my way to develop a set of solutions based on global overshoot, that is, solutions to the systemic disease (consumption/waste, amplified by overpopulation and technology) rather than symptoms like climate change.

CM: Do you see a positive collaboration between art (films, visual arts, etc.) and science that calls upon people’s awareness of the consequences of climate change?

JC: Absolutely. I’m just a self-educated citizen, though I was lucky to get a solid grounding in math and science in secondary school, which allowed me to wade through the science behind global warming, peak oil, deforestation, hydrology, etc. (Specialization has been one of the main causes of our current catastrophic state of affairs – we need generalists who understand whole systems – not specialists who only understand isolated parts. That’s how you end up with Nazi guards who were just following orders.) Once I understood the basic science, then I was free to come up with metaphors – preferably funny ones – that would let the average person grasp the basic issues in a very short time, because comedies move very fast. But artists will interpret and present science in all kinds of different ways, based on their chosen media, and that’s important, because there are all those different ways to get past the anti-science brain barrier, and different ways work on different people.

CM: Does your artistic/storyteller voice see a need to promote mutual understanding between art and science?

JC: Yes, in two senses. One, science needs to be brought in out of its isolation – a result of both its ascent into areas of specialty that common people could no longer understand, and of the ego of scientists who wanted to be gods – and reintegrated with everyday life, with emotions and the vulnerability of the planet, which does not specialize, but presents us with one interconnected system of which we are a single (though very unruly) part. Two, scientists themselves need to let down the barrier between their knowledge and their humanity. The truth is that many many climatologists – maybe most – are scared shitless about what’s happening, but very few will admit that in public (our own brilliant Andrew Weaver being an exception). If art is the expression of truth by other means, then scientists need to become artists, and learn to communicate with people in a way that they can hear. Foot-thick IPCC reports are obviously not the way to do that, and in any case will always be counteracted by the clever – artistic? – counterattacks of the denialists. Art can bypass that sort of intellectual argument, which is accomplishing little besides giving people something to argue about in internet chat rooms, and enriching those in the fossil fuel industry (not to mention the Denial Industry).

CM: Is your intention as an artist/filmmaker to create a dialogue and to engage people in action and behavioural change?

JC: Definitely. I’m not sure anybody has ever made a mass-market movie and asked everyone to write him after they’re done watching. So that could get a little overwhelming if the movie ever gets popular. But people need more support than that, and the internet is a unique tool to make global issues local and personal. That’s why the movie ends with an invitation to go to The Pond, the part of our website (still under development) where people who are ready to learn more and/or take action can find one another, find resources, find fellow-troublemakers. I can’t talk to everybody, though I do try. The endpoint of all of it is action – behavioural change – on several levels: consuming and not-consuming, changing the way we relate to each other and the world, kicking corporate and government ass, and transitioning to a more resilient way of life before the shit hits the fan in a more obvious way in the developed world.

CM: How do you see your film/writing work as finding/shaping solutions to this global problem?

JC: It quickly became obvious to me that I couldn’t just cut together a bunch of talking heads, because no one person was suggesting a set of systemic solutions to overshoot. But they educated me in systemic thinking, and I put pieces together based on their knowledge and wisdom. So to some degree I was organizing, but beyond that also thinking through the implications of what they were saying on a personal level, an emotional level, a logistical level. Holy crap – do I have to live in a hut? How do I stop driving when I have three kids in soccer? Will I get arrested if I protest that nuclear plant? Is anybody else doing these things or would it just be me? So finding a palatable way to present the solutions was just as important as the solutions themselves.

CM: Do you think that artists’ involvement in Climate Change is consistent with the history in which artists’ involvement in social change and or education?

JC: I hope so. If we lose this one, we’re fucked.

CM: How do you think the language of your artistic expression contributes to the larger climate change dialogue?

JC: Well, Rex Weyler – a co-founder of Greenpeace International – refers to “How to Boil a Frog” as “the world’s funniest movie about global warming”. That’s how I’d like it to be known, not only so people will see it, but so that everyone – including artists – will remember that these things have to be presented with humour, or else everyone will just jump off a bridge before they take action. Bad for repeat business.

CM: Do you think the language (of emotions and associations) that you as an artist/filmmaker possess is powerful enough to engage and encourage behavioural change?

JC: Based on the reactions I’ve gotten from all over the world, from an audience that still probably only numbers in the thousands, I’d say it can have that effect, at least on people who are at some personal tipping point. As to whether it can work on the level it was engineered for – creating a global tipping point – well, we’ll have to wait and see. Buy a DVD and loan it to somebody and let’s find out.

CM: How has your perception of climate change motivated you to act on your art and in your daily life?

JC: Well, it got me to spend half a million dollars making a movie, which was definitely not on my agenda, and isn’t what I do for a living. And I did that specifically because I realized that making personal-level changes was necessary, but insufficient, to save my daughter’s life. I cannot save her without saving everyone – so I had to try to do something that would defend the global commons. Very few people have the potential means to do that. I was (maybe) one of them. So therefore I had to do it. That doesn’t mean I’ll succeed, but I couldn’t do anything less. And making the movie ultimately engaged my instincts for story-telling and how to reach a mass audience – specifically, I realized that the totality of our situation was so grim that nobody would ever pay to hear about it unless it was delivered inside of a comedy. As a comedy writer, that became an intriguing challenge.

Just because I’m trying to save civilization, of course, doesn’t mean I get a free pass in my personal life. I’m hardly a paragon of virtue – in fact, I lean on the fact that I’m a confused, struggling hypocrite to make sure people know that whatever I’m doing, they can certainly do too (and probably do it better). But now I take mass transit whenever possible and avoid driving my car, I don’t eat beef (and I’m eating less meat in general), I buy used stuff (clothes, books, etc.) rather than new if I can, I don’t buy gas from Exxon, I grow vegetables in my back yard, I’m constantly involved in activism and lending my talents to local and global causes where I can do some good, I communicate with people I’ve gotten to know all over the world, and I’m building a local community of friends largely based on great food, laughter and playing live music. So my life is definitely not the same as it was 5 years ago.

CM: You talk about yourself as a storyteller, what are the important stories about climate change that need to be told and why?

JC: Principally two, I think. One, the Nightmare Scenario of systemic collapse needs to be told in every way possible – that’s where we’re headed if we don’t take a sharp turn now in consumption, population, and waste. That’s a very dark future, with unimaginable population collapse in this century. And two, the Positive Scenario needs to be visualized for people – the sustainable future we CAN have if we make changes now. My friend Vandy, who did focus groups for years on various products, points out that very few people can visualize something they haven’t seen before. That’s what artists can do, at least potentially. So we have to lay out all the positives of a sustainable future, and I don’t mean by saying it’s sustainable – that motivates approximately nobody. I mean we have to show that that future means people are back in community and out of isolation and loneliness, that they feel their lives are meaningful and important to others, that they’re having fun, laughing, eating healthy food they feel good about, consuming in a way that they know everyone (including their children and grandchildren) can consume in (not just a privileged few at the expense of the many), having great sex in the afternoon, and so on. People have to be reminded that, yes, their present has a lot of neat stuff in it, but they’ve also lost some things along the way that are apparently more important to their happiness than the iPad, based on the number of anti-depressants people are taking.

CM: What is your relationship to the scientists that are documenting climate science?

JC: I’ve interviewed a few along the way, and sent rough cuts of the movie to others for comment. My relationship has always been very positive. I love scientists, especially when they get cantankerous and swear.

CM: Has your relationship with scientists changed before and after your documentary?

JC: Yes, in the sense that before that, I didn’t know any. But maybe more importantly, I think I looked at scientists – and journalists – as infallible purveyors of truth. The picture, of course, is much more complex than that. Climatologists, as a group, are some of the best human beings we’ve ever produced – they’re meticulous, dedicated to not saying more than they know, dedicated to the public good (often at great personal cost), massively cooperative across disciplines – but they’re also, generally, wonks. They’ve been boxed into a scientific culture that says they can’t talk about their feelings, because then they wouldn’t be objective. Of course, 99.9999% of humanity couldn’t care less about facts – ALL they hear is feelings. If 98% of climatologists came out and said “Holy shit, we’re about to go over a fucking cliff and these bastards who say we’re not are just lying greedy assholes who are trying to kill you for one last buck before the collapse! Let’s stop putting out CO2 right the fuck NOW before we all end up burning in a hell we made ourselves!”… Well, I think people would pay more attention. Did I mention I like it when they swear?

CM: Do you perceive yourself as an active audience of the contemporary issues of climate change?

JC: Maybe too much so. The danger of diving into this particular abyss is that there’s such an attraction to keep reading articles that say the same things over and over. “See? I KNEW we were fucked that way!” So, as my friend Anita told me at one point: “You know enough.” At some point you have to realize that you’re reading instead of acting, because reading is easier, and doesn’t take any commitment.

On the other hand, once I became global-warming literate, I began to see the web of systemic causation that binds so many different news stories and cultural issues together. Food shortages, extreme weather, loss of indigenous cultures, income inequality, resource wars, widespread depression and anxiety – these and many other big issues are bound together by climate change, and in the bigger picture by global overshoot. So the world stops being a confusing mass of bad news to be avoided, and starts to look like a global system having a logical response to really shitty input. That calms me down, in a weird way, because it gives me some focus in terms of what I can do to make things better. I don’t have to give to a million different causes. I can just take action on solutions to global overshoot, which is what I present in the movie.

CM: Do you think that you must know scientific facts about climate change to make climate change art, films, stories?

JC: No. I think some of the most powerful art in the world on this subject will probably be made by people – indigenous or developed world – who just intuit the truth, and present it emotionally through their chosen medium. They could potentially reach the most people because they’re bypassing completely the scientific debate clusterfuck that has everyone stuck in their recently-evolved forebrains, rather than taking action from the limbic system that we’ve relied on for millions of years to save our asses.

CM: How can the artist avoid the anxiety of a changing global phenomenon?

JC: It would be a disservice to humanity to avoid that anxiety. It’s our job as artists – and I include everyone in the world in this statement – to experience and process that anxiety, and then transform it into action and community-building through the alchemy of our own psyches.

CM: Where do you see your artistic endeavor in the broader climate change dialogue?

JC: I am the court jester of global warming. I’m just trying to tell the truth without getting beheaded.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Obesity or Cancer? The argument for De-Growth

Following is an excerpt of interviews with Friend o' the Frog Rex Weyler, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International, on the subject of "de-growth."

“GDP, the so-called measure of economic growth, does not separate costs from benefits.”
- Herman Daly, World Bank Economist, author of “Steady State Economics.”

In 2008, economists and scientists met in Paris to discuss “Economic Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity.” The Degrowth (Décroissance) movement grew out of this economic revolution in France. In 2010, a similar conference convened in Barcelona. For the last two years I have helped organize the Degrowth Conference in Vancouver, Canada. I have been asked by journalists and traditional economists why degrowth is necessary. Here are answers to some of their questions:

Why focus on ending growth? Isn’t growth natural?

Yes, growth is natural, but even in nature, growth is limited.

The Degrowth movement addresses consumption growth, which historically linked to economic growth, population growth, and the impacts of resource extraction – oil spills, polluted rivers, atmospheric carbon – and complicated by system feedbacks such as melting permafrost and methane releases. We call this consumption and resulting waste “throughput.”

We now hear talk of “decoupling” economic growth from material and energy throughput, which would be desirable, but must be realistic about decoupling because we possess very few actual examples. Historically, all economic growth leads to increased energy and materials throughput. For example, some people once claimed that computers would “save paper” but this did not happen. Human society today uses six-times more paper than we did in 1960. Computers accelerated economic growth, and although this yielded benefits to certain sectors of society, the growth required consumption, resulting in ecological devastation and social inequity.

But don’t we want certain economic sectors to grow, like renewable energy and developing economies?

Yes. But to achieve ecological balance and social equity we need to respect the limits nature places on material and energy throughput. A social transition can take place without total system growth, but even solar panels and windmills require materials and energy, rare-earth metals, copper, steel, silicon and so forth. We don’t mine silicon with solar energy, we mine it with hydrocarbons.

We need to appreciate the magnitude of the transitions we contemplate. Today, the rich 15-percent of Earth’s people consume about 85-percent of the resources. Meanwhile, our population grows and nations expect their economies to grow by 3-to-4-percent annually. Projecting these growth rates to 2050, a world of 9 billion people with social justice and better living standards, powered with renewable energy would require about 30-times more resources than we consume today. We would be fair and wise to ask: Is that possible?

Furthermore, energy systems – windmills, solar arrays, dams – have fixed life-spans, so even if we built enough renewable energy to power a world of 9 billion people, that infrastructure would have to be built again, and again, forever. In nature, desire does not equal capacity. We have to start with Earth’s real capacity and design our cultural transition based on that capacity.

The key policy of any ecological energy plan must be conservation, the only solution that does not require material growth. Conservation has to start with the wealthy nations. If rich consumers reduced energy consumption by half – possible since rich consumer economies waste so much energy – then the rest of the world could double energy use, and we could reduce total world energy use closer to a sustainable level. But if we attempt to power the wasteful, consumer culture built on fossil fuel for 9-billion people, we encounter some inconvenient laws of physics, thermodynamics, and ecology.

But can we not become more efficient through innovation?

Yes, but we will need to question our assumptions. Historically, humans have made millions of industrial efficiency gains, without reducing consumption. When society achieves efficiency with a resource, it becomes cheaper, so we tend to use more, not less. This phenomenon, documented by William Jevons during the coal era, is known in economics as the rebound effect. Efficiency could reduce consumption, but humanity has a poor track record of doing so. Efficiency gains have historically increased profits or reduced consumer costs, not saved resources. We can change this but we should not be naive.

But growth is a natural biological and evolutionary impulse.

Yes, growth is not innately evil. However, growth is not innately “good,” and can become destructive even in nature. When cells don’t stop growing, we call that cancer; if our bodies don’t stop growing, that is obesity. Successful species grow until they overshoot their habitat capacity. Growth can become a liability.

Throughout history, certain dominant societies grew until they depleted their habitats. A few learned to simplify, degrow, and endure. Modern advocates of degrowth are not against social diversity or innovation. The degrowth movement is simply cautioning society about the historic link between economic growth and ecosystem destruction. Wishful thinking won’t change this.

Diversity and complexity grow continuously. Does Nature really have a limit on growth?

The word “growth” does not mean the same thing in different contexts. The growth of non-material qualities – species diversity, innovation, or human ideas – is quite different from the growth of material things such as populations, cell phones, or power plants.

Non-physical qualities – beauty, love – can grow, but even these require physical foundations with limits. Nature can produce five species of finches or fifty species but nature imposes limits on the total biomass of finches, or forests, humans, or human technical artefacts. Forests reach a limit we call “maturity” at which point the forests reaches dynamic homeostasis, roughly stable biomass with growing diversity.

Humans can create virtually unlimited musical styles, but only a limited number of maple cellos with ebony fingerboards. A massive biophysical supply chain makes “non-material” social innovation possible. Dreaming up innovations may require near-zero material throughput, but the practical application of innovation requires energy and materials.

The infrastructure of knowledge – education, books, Internet, conferences – that nurture an environment of ideas, requires throughput. For this reason, cultures that have dominated in technical innovation also dominated in resource consumption. The Internet may feel like “free” information but requires massive materials, energy, and waste sinks. Growth of difference (diversity) is not the same as growth of stuff. We’ll need to be precise about claims that economic growth can avoid throughput growth.

But the biosphere has grown its energy and material throughput for billions of years with no sign of stopping.

This needs to be qualified for two reasons: Growth rates and natural collapse events.

Nature’s growth rates remain tiny compared to human economies. Nations typically attempt to grow their economies at 3-4-percent annually. Since about 1750, this equates to a doubling of human consumption every 20 years. On the other hand, over the last 500-million years, Earth’s biomass has doubled about every 50 million years, 2-million-times slower than human economic and consumption growth. Growth is natural, but not at the rate of return our bankers and neoclassical economists want to grow.

Secondly, collapse appears frequently in the fossil record and in human history. Biological diversity reached capacity limits not only during the famous “five extinctions” but in thousands of minor extinctions. About 600-million-years-ago (mya), free oxygen allowed cells to extract more energy from the ecosystem, unleashing tremendous diversity growth. However, this growth reached the limits of habitat capacity many times between 550mya and 200mya, as species diversity crashed, recovered, and crashed again. Growth does stop in nature, and reverses. The rate of diversity growth peaked during the Cambrian era, 500-550mya, and has never been equalled since. Diversity is not a one-way progression; it grows, stutters, collapses, and recovers based on environmental conditions.

Today, human sprawl reduces Earth’s biological diversity. Humans occupy and impact habitats, replacing and obliterating species. If natural growth was unlimited, then these other species could survive human expansion, but human expansion yields ecological decline, exposing nature’s limits.

Likewise, we witness some cultural diversity growth and simultaneous cultural loss. Dominant cultures displace smaller, unique cultures. Industrial growth has diminished cultural diversity as well as species diversity. Economist Kenneth Boulding called these ecological and cultural losses the “metabolic costs” of growth. Donella Meadows, and others simply pointed out the “Limits to Growth.”

Historical anthropologist Joseph Tainter has shown that when societies grow, they inevitably face problems related to habitat capacity. To solve these problems, they develop new technologies, but these solutions tend to create new problems (irrigation causes salinization, nuclear energy causes leukemia, and so forth.) Highly complex societies eventually experience “diminishing returns” on their innovations, which Tainter explains in The Collapse of Complex Societies. A few societies overcame this dilemma by simplifying their systems, but most overshot their habitat and collapsed. Growth is not a solution for societies in overshoot, including our modern industrial societies. Rather, solutions to overshoot involve reduced consumption, simplification, and a return to fundamental rules of ecology.

Human social complexity has grown over the last 100,000 years, punctuated with collapses and ecosystem decline. Human success clearly incurs ecological and social costs. Since human impact now threatens global ecosystem balance, we don’t know if human complexity will continue to grow.

Degrowth advocates claim that the best strategy to ensure maximum human diversity is to stabilize our consumption and expansion. Dynamic homeostasis, nature’s genuine sustainability, makes demands on growing things, and simplicity proves as important as complexity. The notion of degrowth is not intended to destroy human society, but to preserve it.

If our growth economy recycles as nature does, are we not more sustainable?

Yes, of course, but we need to understand nature’s costs and limits regarding recycling. Human economies should attempt to approach 100-percent recycling, but recycling itself requires energy and materials. The laws of energy transformation teach us that there is no such thing as 100-percent recycling, even in nature. Recycling is a cost of growth and complexity, and it consumes energy.

Attacking growth is counter-productive because people expect growth, and want to find hope.

In the autumn, when leaves fall and the air turns cold, it is not “pessimism” to point out that winter is coming. If hope is delusional, it is useless.

The degrowth movement does not “attack” growth, which has its appropriate place in nature. The degrowth movement simply exposes the pretence of our culture that celebrates the benefits of economic growth but ignores the costs.
Rich nations typically ignore the costs of growth is by exporting those costs to poor nations and to nature, sending city garbage to the country, dumping toxic waste at sea, exploiting workers to make consumer products cheap, or devastating the landscape with mining. A large portion of China’s CO2 emissions, for example, are really European and American CO2 emissions, because those nations consume the products of that pollution.

Naturally, people resist the idea of limits on their consumption. These instincts to grow were forged in natural evolution. But our instincts don’t make limits disappear. Even in non-human nature, instincts can become counter-productive. Aggression, for example, exists because it had survival value, but in certain contexts aggression becomes destructive. When the context changes, instincts can be harmful. Once a species reaches its habitat limits, the instincts to grow and expand become a liability.

Aren’t ecosystems destroyed just as thoroughly in poor nations as wealthy ones?

Yes, but usually because those nations are plundered and exploited by the rich. Sheer numbers of habitants anywhere can deplete an environment, but wealthy-nation industrial expansion is the leading source of global ecological destruction. Many cultures were sustainable for thousands of years, and could have endured many thousands more, until colonized by industrial nations, which took their resources, took slaves, waged war, practiced genocide, and so forth. In the industrial era, rich nations export destructive resource extraction, waste disposal, and social costs to the poor nations. Africa is not ecologically depleted and poor because Africans consumed too much stuff; it is depleted and poor because Europe and North America plundered it to fuel their economic growth. Now, China, Japan, and other industrialized nations have joined the plunder of poor nations and the global commons. Wealthy consumption and economic growth remain the primary causes of ecological destruction.

Rather than degrowth, should we not focus on preserving ecosystems?

If our social, political, and economic planners actually understood ecosystems, we might avoid a lot of problems we face.

But degrowth not just a rallying cry or a trivial idea. Degrowth is an important concept that our society needs to understand, whether we call it Degrowth, Limits to Growth, Costs of Complexity, Overshoot, Carrying Capacity, Metabolic Costs of Evolutionary Success, Diminishing Returns on Innovation, Entropic Limits, “The Meek Shall inherit the Earth,” or “Richer lives, simpler means” as Arne Naess said.

The problem for our society is not that these ideas are too complex or wrong, but that they are annoying and inconvenient for the wealthy and powerful. Millionaires wants to be a billionaires. The more that individuals grab and horde, the less there is for everyone. On the other hand, as we learn to share and live modestly, our ecosystems can recover and provide us with nature’s bounty.

The Degrowth movement advocates richer, more rewarding lives with less material stuff. Our economic efforts should focus on providing basic needs to everyone in the human family, rather than enriching a few, while others starve. Beyond basic necessities, happiness does not come from consuming more stuff. Happiness comes from friends, family, community, creativity, leisure, love, and companionship. These things can grow without much material throughput. These are the qualities of life we should be helping to grow.

We better get this right, because humanity may not get many more chances. This may be the most important public dialogue of the next century.


Useful resources:

Degrowth Research: Recherche & Décroissance

Albert Bartlett on Exponential Growth: “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy” video lecture

William Catton, Overshoot

Donella Meadows, et. al., Limits to Growth (D. H. Meadows, D. L. Meadows, J. Randers, W. Behrens, 1972; New American Library, 1977)

Herman Daly, Steady-State Economics (1977, 1991)

Mark Anielski: Genuine Wealth

Lourdes Beneria, Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if People Mattered

Kenneth Boulding, The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth, 1966

Ivan Illich, Energy and Equity, 1973, Le Monde also discusses the negative social and ecological impact of high-energy society.

Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, (1971).

T. Gutowski, et. al. (“Thermodynamic Analysis of Resources Used in Manufacturing Processes,” Environ. Sci. Technol. 43(5) pp1584-1590, 2009).

K. De Decker, (2009) “The Monster Footprint of Digital Technology” tracks the embodied energy and material resources of silicon based technology.

Arne Naess, Ecology, community and lifestyle

Wendell Berry, Solving for Pattern, on appropriate solutions