Monday, May 17, 2010

Growth As Cancer


Everything you thought you knew is wrong!

Okay, maybe not everything. But what if some of our core beliefs about how the world works turn out to be myths?  This documentary flips our world upside down to see what makes it tick, as it explores the most critical question of our time:

How do we become a sustainable civilization?
Water shortages, hunger, peak oil, species extinction, and even increasing depression are all symptoms of a deeper problem – addiction to unending growth in a world that has limits. Hooked on Growth goes way beyond prescribing Band-Aids to slow the bleeding. This film examines the cultural barriers that prevent us from reacting rationally to the evidence current levels of population and consumption are unsustainable.
It asks why the population conversations are so difficult to have. Why it’s more important to our society to have economic growth than clean air. Why communities seek and subsidize growth even when it destroys quality of life and increases taxes.
Our growth-centric system is broken. It’s not providing the happiness or the prosperity we seek. But that’s good news; it means a shift to a sustainable model will be good for us. We’ll be happier and more prosperous!
Individual and public policy decisions today are informed by a powerful, pro-growth cultural bias. We worship at the Church of Growth Everlasting. Undeterred by the facts, we’re on a collision course powered by denial and the myth that growth brings prosperity. Before we can shift our civilization meaningfully, effectively, and substantially toward true sustainability, the world must be “prepped.” We must become self-aware and recognize the programming that keeps us hooked. Hooked on Growth will do just that. We’ll hear from leading thinkers of our time – scientists, sociologists, economists – to help us separate fact from superstition.
How does a film have some fun while shaking up the fundamental underpinnings of our modern civilization? We follow the travails of an everyday citizen who dares to stand up in his own community and declare, “The emperor has no clothes!”  We follow his adventures as he attempts to provide an intervention in a community addicted to growth. The cultural resistance to getting unhooked is amply illustrated as filmmaker/activist Dave Gardner spars with his city council, chamber of commerce and growth profiteers. He even runs for city council. All the while, we follow Dave’s adventures in getting this film made. He nearly goes broke as humanitarian foundations fund efforts focusing on symptoms rather than a film that dares to expose the system creating those problems. As the film plays out, we find belief in growth everlasting is deeply entrenched around the world.
We’re approaching the end of growth. Will we embrace it? Or go down fighting?

From Las Vegas to Atlanta, Mexico City to Mumbai, the White House to the Vatican, Hooked on Growth takes us on a whirlwind tour of growth mania. It’s Wild Kingdom with a twist: the cameras are turned on humanity as our own survival skills are examined. Hooked on Growth looks into the psychology of denial and crowd behavior. It explores our obsession with urban and economic growth, and our reluctance to address overpopulation issues head-on. This documentary holds up a mirror, encouraging us to examine the beliefs and behaviors we must leave behind – and the values we need to embrace – so our children can survive and thrive.


  1. It asks why the population conversations are so difficult to have. Why it’s more important to our society to have economic growth than clean air.

  2. An interesting way of explaining exponential growth in a finite closed system. Thanks for posting