For the first time in history, the activity of human civilization reaches into every corner of the globe. So significant is the role we play that our time has been dubbed the Anthropocene Epoch. This calls for self-examination at a new level. Conversation Earth presents insightful dialog with the leading thinkers of our time. Philosophy, ethics, science, psychology and economics, at a macro level, and all focused on humankinds relationship with the planet.


  • Welcome to Overshoot: Have a Nice Day - 2020 Edition

    Welcome to Overshoot: Have a Nice Day - 2020 Edition

    23/07/2020 Duración: 51min

    The best scientific estimates tell us human civilization is in overshoot. Were you aware of this? Do you know what overshoot is? Earth Overshoot Day in 2020 is August 22. Computer modeling by a team of MIT scientists in 1972 estimated the scale of human activity on the planet would cause systems to fail within a hundred years. Such failure is expected when humanity’s footprint on the planet consistently exceeds its carrying capacity. Since 1972, study after study, and report after report, has warned we are in overshoot – the sum total of human activity is too much for the Earth’s ecosystems to bear. Since 2003, scientists at Global Footprint Network have been analyzing UN data and satellite imagery to estimate the planet’s capacity to meet our needs (biocapacity), and humankind’s footprint - or demand (ecological footprint) - on that capacity. Their analysis suggests we have been in overshoot since about 1970. Welcome to Overshoot explores overshoot’s causes, effects, and possible solutions, as well as some

  • Welcome to Overshoot: Have a Nice Day

    Welcome to Overshoot: Have a Nice Day

    25/07/2019 Duración: 51min

    Since 1972, study after study, and report after report, has warned we are in overshoot – the sum total of human activity is too much for the Earth’s ecosystems to bear. Welcome to Overshoot explores overshoot’s causes, effects, and possible solutions, as well as some of the barriers to solving the problem. Featuring comments from William Catton (author of Overshoot), William Rees (co-originator of ecological footprint analysis), Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics), Herman Daly, Paul Ehrlich and many more luminaries. (New episode 7/25/19)

  • End of Ponzi Economy: Jerry Mander (Encore)

    End of Ponzi Economy: Jerry Mander (Encore)

    19/12/2017 Duración: 28min

    Was globalization a temporary state that has run its course? That’s the case made by Jerry Mander, who believes there is plenty of evidence that the promises of capitalism, consumerism, individual wealth and never-ending growth are coming up empty. He’s founder of the International Forum on Globalization and author of The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local. He also wrote The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System in 2012. Jerry Mander is in a unique position to understand the power of advertising to move us to act against our best interests. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics, he ended up in the advertising business, eventually as a partner at a San Francisco ad agency. He managed several early ad campaigns for the Sierra Club, working with famed environmentalist David Brower. In 1971 he founded the first non-profit advertising agency in the United States, Public Interest Communications. Mander grew to realize the power of advertising was b

  • Moral Revolution: Tom Shadyac Pt 2 (Encore)

    Moral Revolution: Tom Shadyac Pt 2 (Encore)

    13/12/2017 Duración: 28min

    Hollywood director Tom Shadyac traded a mansion and private jets for a mobile home and a bicycle. He had found the traditional trappings of success were not the key to happiness. After a successful Hollywood comedy career and a near-death bicycle accident, Tom eagerly shares his discoveries about life and happiness. In part two of a two-episode conversation, Shadyac discusses technology, morality, competition, success and politics. His documentary, I Am, explored what’s wrong with the world and what we can do about it. His book, Life’s Operating Manual, shares his observations about the true meaning of life. Learn more at

  • Survival of the Kindest (Encore)

    Survival of the Kindest (Encore)

    06/12/2017 Duración: 28min

    Tom Shadyac is a successful Hollywood comedy director who found the traditional trappings of success were not the key to happiness. He traded a mansion and private jets for a mobile home and a bicycle. After a bicycle accident nearly killed him, he decided it was time to tell a different kind of story. His documentary, I Am, featured interviews with Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, David Suzuki, and others about what’s wrong with the world and what we can do about it. He also wrote the book, Life’s Operating Manual, which is a lot like it sounds. In part one of this two-episode conversation, Shadyac discusses human nature, the definition of success, and our cultural story, with a few references to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump along the way. Tom Shadyac Films: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective The Nutty Professor Liar, Liar Patch Adams Bruce Almighty Evan Almighty I Am NOTE: We’re bringing you encore episodes from the 2nd season of Conversation Earth while we make plans for the future. Please support the continuat

  • Why This May Be Our Last New Episode

    Why This May Be Our Last New Episode

    29/11/2017 Duración: 03min

    Host Dave Gardner explains why we'll be sharing encores from the 2nd season of Conversation Earth in the coming weeks, and why there are likely to be no more new episodes. The link mentioned in this brief message from Dave is

  • Reinvent the Economy: Gus Speth 118 (Encore)

    Reinvent the Economy: Gus Speth 118 (Encore)

    21/11/2017 Duración: 29min

    While world leaders wring their hands over forecasts of timid GDP growth, a growing list of visionaries around the world are collaborating to redefine economic objectives in a more meaningful and sustainable way. Former White House advisor Gus Speth has been at the forefront of new economic thought for decades. His prescription for change is not a bunch of economic mumbo-jumbo for boards and bankers. His ideas reach deep into the way we conduct our personal lives.   “We need to get beyond this consumerism, to get beyond our hyperventilating lifestyles...and start focusing on the things that really matter to us, to our future, to our children.” In this 2010 interview, Gus Speth shares new thinking about the purpose of an economy, how climate change was discussed in the Jimmy Carter White House, the successes of environmentalism, and where and how the environmental movement has failed us. NOTE: We are between Season 2 and Season 3. We’re bringing you encore episodes from the first season of Conversation Earth

  • A Not So Big Life: Sarah Susanka (#117 Encore)

    A Not So Big Life: Sarah Susanka (#117 Encore)

    14/11/2017 Duración: 29min

    How we inhabit our homes, our lives, and the planet. Architect Sarah Susanka observed that houses in the U.S. were getting larger – but some rooms were seldom occupied, and often not even furnished. She found clients frequently did not get the immense satisfaction they expected from living in their “dream house.” How this relates to the way we inhabit our lives, and even the planet, is the subject of this conversation. Sarah Susanka’s observations of Americans’ dissatisfaction with their “starter castles” sparked her to write Not so Big House, about how making a house bigger doesn’t necessarily make it better. The book was a major success, leading to appearances on major network morning shows and Oprah. More observation and reflection led Sarah to pen, several years later, The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters. It was a landmark book, important for its perspective on quality vs. quantity, and its encouragement to reflect on what we want “more” of. We’re sharing the best episodes from Sea

  • Limits to Growth: Dennis Meadows (#116 Encore)

    Limits to Growth: Dennis Meadows (#116 Encore)

    08/11/2017 Duración: 28min

    “Our computer-generated scenarios all showed this growth stopping in the early decades of the 21st century, and, I must say, looking back now, it seems that we're right on schedule.” Dennis Meadows led the team at MIT whose computer simulations led to the publication of the top-selling environmental book of all time – The Limits to Growth. Scientists built on Jay Forester’s pioneering system dynamics work to chart future trends of five variables, analyzing how they would influence one another. The five variables were world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion.   Their World3 computer model’s business-as-usual scenario did not paint a rosy picture, and many economists and industrialists criticized the study harshly.   “Our work challenged the foundations of modern economic theory.  It made life for politicians very uncomfortable, and threatened corporations who were looking to increase their markets.  So, all of them, especially the economists, really lit out after

  • Durable Future: Bill McKibben (Encore)

    Durable Future: Bill McKibben (Encore)

    31/10/2017 Duración: 28min

    Relocalization may be the most important strategy for minimizing climate change. According to Bill McKibben, “working as communities is the most important thing that we can be doing right now.” In this wide-ranging conversation about the sustainability of our civilization, McKibben shares his thinking about much more than climate change, including the fact that having “more” is not necessarily the key to our happiness. Bill McKibben has played a major role in public awareness and discussion about climate change. His 1989 book, The End of Nature, was likely the first book for a general audience about climate change. He’s one of the founders of the planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement,, he spearheaded resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fossil fuel divestment movement. Local food, small farms, suburban isolation, more leisure and less stuff, community connections, and greater satisfaction all come up for discussion. Dave Gardner sat down with McKibben in 2007, shortly

  • Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely (Encore)

    Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely (Encore)

    24/10/2017 Duración: 30min

    Do we behave rationally? You might be surprised how often our decision-making deviates from what is in our best interest. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely studies human behavior and decision-making. His experiments have led him to startling conclusions.    “We repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives.”   We may be rats in a maze for scientific study, but Dan Ariely puts a refreshingly human face on the scientific study of why we do the things we do. He offers an insightful explanation of why Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. can't agree on facts:   “When we have an initial belief, reality doesn’t matter as much as we think.  We have an illusion that we’re actually observing reality, but it’s filtered dramatically by what we’re experiencing in our brains, and our expectations.”   Ariely offered this about climate change: “If you were starting from scratch, and you said, ‘Let me create a problem that people would not care about,’ it would look very much like global wa

  • Economic Heresy: Herman Daly (Encore)

    Economic Heresy: Herman Daly (Encore)

    17/10/2017 Duración: 28min

    Would you believe we've entered a period of "uneconomic growth?" Robust economic growth has become the Holy Grail of public policy and politics. But some economists and many scientists have come to believe growth has become “uneconomic." Former World Bank Senior Economist Herman Daly explains this in terms we can all understand.   Daly co-founded the journal, Ecological Economics, and has written and spoken extensively about the fact that “the economy is a sub-system of a larger system. The larger system being the biosphere – the environment.” And that system has its limits.   In this 2010 interview, Herman Daly postulates that, in a full world, the costs of further economic growth exceed the benefits, and we are reaching a point where it is physically impossible to keep growing the global economy. Using easy to understand, real-world examples, Daly delivers an aha moment. After listening to this interview, one is likely to conclude, “Of course! It’s the environment, stupid!” We're offering encores of our b

  • Nature Doesnt Negotiate (Encore)

    Nature Doesn't Negotiate (Encore)

    11/10/2017 Duración: 28min

    “One of the ways that radical ideas become more mainstream is when those of us who hold them aren’t afraid to speak about them.” This thought has guided much of journalism professor Robert Jensen’s work. His writing and speaking often focus on the news that “we live in an economy that is based on the destruction of places all over world.” In this 2015 interview, Jensen explains what he calls “an unprecedented set of threats to the possibility of ongoing, large-scale, human habitation of the planet.”   Jensen takes a critical approach to media and power. Much of his work has focused on pornography, a radical feminist critique of sexuality and men's violence, and white privilege and institutionalized racism. He has written:   “If there is to be a decent future, we have to give up on the imperial fantasy of endless power, the capitalist fantasy of endless growth, the technological fantasy of endless comfort…we should mourn the world that these systems have created and search for something better. Systems that ce

  • What We Want More Of (Encore)

    What We Want More Of (Encore)

    03/10/2017 Duración: 28min

    Our ecosystems contribute tens of trillions of dollars to our economy every year, but – as L. Hunter Lovins notes, “At present we’re losing every major ecosystem on the planet…What are we doing to ourselves?...We have the…intelligence…to make different choices.” Hunter Lovins co-authored the best-selling book, Natural Capitalism, with Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins. In this interview, she outlines those choices and shares how they benefit businesses and the planet. One of the biggest challenges to living sustainably, says Lovins, is our belief we can meet non-material needs through the purchase of material things. “We keep spending all this money, and we aren’t getting any happier.” Wouldn’t you rather have more time than more stuff? She observes that we all have a profound hunger for authenticy, human connection, love. We recorded this interview in 2004, but offer it here because the concepts are as relevant today. Please visit z and let us know you want another season of Con

  • Behaving Against Our Interests: Paul Ehrlich (#110 Encore)

    Behaving Against Our Interests: Paul Ehrlich (#110 Encore)

    26/09/2017 Duración: 29min

    Today it could be argued that human beings daily act against our own self-interests. How? Biologist Paul Ehrlich and fellow scientists tell us we are expanding our population and economy beyond the Earth's carrying capacity - at our peril.  Why do we insist on continuing? Ehrlich has been a keen observer of human behavior for over 50 years, and he thinks “we need a millennium assessment of human behavior.” If we can understand how we behave, and why we behave that way, perhaps we can figure out how to behave as though we want to hang around another thousand years. We're sharing the best episodes from Season One while we take a break and fundraise for Season Three. Please check out our story and pitch in a little at to make sure the series continues.   Ehrlich is best known for authoring The Population Bomb, published in 1968 at the suggestion of the Sierra Club’s first executive director, David Brower. Paul’s wife, Anne Ehrlich, co-authored the book (though the publisher insist

  • Running on Empty: Rex Weyler #109 (Encore)

    Running on Empty: Rex Weyler #109 (Encore)

    19/09/2017 Duración: 29min

    Rex Weyler has lived the life dreamed of by those who want to make a difference. As a young man he joined early Greenpeace expeditions to document and stop commercial whaling. He went on to co-found Greenpeace International, and as a journalist has covered the subject of ecology extensively. We're sharing the best episodes from Season One while we fundraise for Season Three. Check out our story at . Your tax-deductible donation fuels this non-profit project. “The human machine is just steamrolling…toward disaster.” Weyler has lived a rich life and has a keen understanding of the source of joy, but there is sadness in his voice when he talks about how civilization grew right past ecological limits to growth. “I'm not concerned that my children will consume less stuff and have to live lifestyles more like my grandparents. I'm more concerned that my children will have to live in chaos because we were stupid and we tried to drive right past all these limits….” In this newly rel

  • Lying to Ourselves: Lorna Salzman (#108 Encore)

    Lying to Ourselves: Lorna Salzman (#108 Encore)

    12/09/2017 Duración: 29min

    What went wrong with the environmental movement? Environmental activist, organizer and author Lorna Salzman shares her thoughts about climate change, consumerism, cheap energy, economics, lawyers and politics. She discusses “what went wrong with the environmental movement,” plus irrationality, denial, and outright lies we tell ourselves, and each other. Lorna Salzman has the chops to be an outspoken critic of many in the modern environmental movement. She played a key role in the early days of Friends of the Earth alongside David Brower (the first executive director of the Sierra Club), beginning a 40-year career as an environmental activist, writer, lecturer and organizer. A contender for the Green Party presidential nomination in 2004, Salzman is an iconoclast in every sense of the word.   In this 2010 interview at her summer cottage, Lorna Salzman shared her thoughts about climate change, consumerism, cheap energy, economics, lawyers and politics. She discusses “what went wrong with the environmental move

  • Cornucopian Myth: William Catton (#107 Encore)

    Cornucopian Myth: William Catton (#107 Encore)

    05/09/2017 Duración: 29min

    “The age of growth and the age in which growth is going to be considered a good thing is coming to an end.” The late sociologist William R. Catton was certain of this, but spent a significant portion of his professional life attempting to understand why mainstream society was reluctant to prove his point.   Catton authored the landmark book, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change, published in 1980. He brought important sociological perspective to a subject dominated by biologists and physicists. He observed that our lives are built around an obsolete cultural belief system, developed when the size of human civilization had not yet outgrown the carrying capacity of the planet.   According to scientists at the Global Footprint Network, human civilization surpassed a sustainable scale (a combination of population and consumption) in the 1970s. Catton observed a lag between that reality and the dominant worldview that affects our rate of consumption – of both renewable and nonrenewable resources

  • Cruel Hoax: Stephanie Mills #106 (Encore)

    Cruel Hoax: Stephanie Mills #106 (Encore)

    28/08/2017 Duración: 29min

    Stephanie Mills made headlines in the Spring of 1969 when she vowed, in her commencement address (titled The Future is a Cruel Hoax), to conceive no children. “Our days as a race on this planet are, at this moment, numbered,” she proclaimed, “and the reason for our finite, unrosy future is that we are breeding ourselves out of existence.” In this 2010 interview, Stephanie reflects on the life she has led and the important decision she made at the age of twenty-two. She shares insight about “the 500-year war on subsistence,” and the dumbing down of discourse about overpopulation. Vote for another season of Conversation Earth at: Learn more about Stephanie Mills and the Conversation Earth series at

  • Rewriting Our Cultural Narrative: William Rees #105 (Encore)

    Rewriting Our Cultural Narrative: William Rees #105 (Encore)

    22/08/2017 Duración: 29min

    How big is your ecological footprint? Probably bigger than you think. After all, out of sight, out of mind. As an originator of ecological footprint analysis, population ecologist William Rees knows a thing or two about our impact on the planet. In this interview he provides some fascinating, and surprising insights. Did you know most of us in the industrialized world have a footprint three or four times our fair share? Or that the “global economy is a giant Ponzi scheme? It turns out localized economies have their advantages over globalization. William Rees points out that globalization has allowed concentrated populations to extend their footprints all over the world. “We’re seeing growth in human technological capacity and human populations and the scale of the economy that’s completely unprecedented.” Vote for another season of Conversation Earth at Learn more at Photo Credit: By Nick Wiebe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]

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