Growth is Madness hosts Hopfenberg

By Adam Brock

What with finals and all, Nelson and I have had less time to spend at the WGY helm as of late. Don’t worry, we’ll be back in a big way in a week or so; in the meantime we’d like to use this opportunity to direct you to some of the other excellent verdy blogs hanging out on these inter nets.

Today’s blog namedrop is John Feeney’s Growth is Madness, which covers the much-needed beat of explaining the earth’s carrying capacity. The official description:

GIM addresses humanity’s most urgent challenge: the need to confront our continued irrational push for unending growth on a finite earth. The emphasis is on population growth and corporate economic growth as they interact with resource consumption rates and our reliance on fossil energy, pushing us toward global ecological collapse.

GIM’s most recent post is a reader Q+A (good idea!) with Dr. Russell Hopfenberg, who has hypothesized a direct correlation between total food production and population growth. According to Hopfenberg, our population explosion and all its attendant ecological devastation won’t let up until we stop increasing the amount of food we grow.

It’s a touchy topic, to be sure – which is exactly why it’s good to see experts and curious readers engaged in open discussion on Feeney’s blog. For better or worse, we could be finding out pretty soon whether the Hopfenberg Hypothesis is correct: a peak in energy supply will probably mean a peak in food supply, as well. After all, what’s the Green Revolution of the 60s and 70s without all those petroleum-based fertilizers?

Best, then, to read up on it now… so go check it out!


2 thoughts on “Growth is Madness hosts Hopfenberg

  1. John Feeney says:

    Thanks for the nod, Adam. It’s a touchy topic indeed, and you’re quite right that, in a sense, the hypothesis may be tested whether we like it or not. Both peak oil and climate change (not to mention aquifer depletion) are likely to hit food production hard.

    At any rate, as I mentioned on my blog, Hopfenberg’s ideas (which are shared by David Pimentel and writer Daniel Quinn) should enter the larger discussion around sustainability if only because our thinking on this previously may have been, in a sense, backwards – assuming we had to keep growing the food supply to keep up with population versus considering that growing it was actually driving population growth.

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