Aesthetically Speaking

BOOK REVIEW: “Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot”

tom butlermusimbi-kanyoro“Advertising-fueled overconsumption. Crushing poverty. Resource wars. Climate chaos and unraveling ecosystems. An energy sector madly trying to power growth using any means necessary—from splitting atoms to fracking shale to decapitating mountains in search of coal.

Every major problem facing humanity is exacerbated by a needlessly ballooning human population. So why is the explosive growth of the human family… generally ignored by policy makers and the media?

mother-and-childAnchored by a series of provocative photo essays, Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot presents the stark reality of a world transformed by human action, action that threatens our future world and the buzzing, blossoming diversity of life with which we share the planet.”

— Excerpted from the Bookjacket

During the State of the Union address earlier this year, President Obama called climate change the greatest threat facing the country today. To highlight his feeling that time is of the essence, he recently visited Alaska, where global warming is already exacting a terrible toll in the form of receding shorelines, a melting Arctic ice cap and the destruction of animal habitats.

Why has this issue failed to hold the nation’s attention any longer than the media coverage of the latest flood, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster? Perhaps we can blame the populace’s notoriously short attention span.

Or maybe it’s due to the fact that debates about rising sea levels, carbon emissions and atmospheric warming trends rely on mind-numbing statistics that can’t effectively communicate the urgency of the crisis.

pooltrash-waveFor that reason, “Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot” represents a very valuable contribution to the cause. Instead of quoting numbers, this eye-opening opus relies primarily on photographs to make its convincing case.

Edited by Tom Butler, the visually-arresting, coffee table book features shocking scenes of ecological blight all around the world, ranging from defoliated rain forests to pollution-filled skies to pumped dry, abandoned oil wells to mountainous trash landfills. Taken together, the pictures deliver a clear message that the devastation is a direct consequence of human shortsightedness.

The breathtaking shots are supplemented by persuasive essays disputing the fundamental assumption of capitalism that “perpetual economic growth is “synonymous with progress.” After reading the text and taking in heartbreaking tableaux of oil spills, raging wildfires, dry lake beds and toxic dumps, it’s hard to argue with the conclusion reached by contributor Jared Diamond that “All of our current environmental problems are unanticipated harmful consequences of our existing technology.”

A captivating clarion call for the Green Revolution!

photo-cover“Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot”
Edited by Tom Butler
Foreword by Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro
Goff Books
Hardcover, $50.00
330 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-939621-23-8

September 3, 2015
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