There’s an argument (a dangerously deluded one, IMHO) that proclaims it arrogant to assume humanity has the potential and ability to degrade or destroy its own home. The earth abides, goes this argument, and although I wish that were true everything I see tells me it’s not.
It’s a matter of perspective, I think, along with the inclination to believe or disbelieve what perspective reveals. I’m not sure anything can be done about our inclinations, but our perspectives can always be expanded.
That’s where Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot comes in. To call it a book is to terminally minimize it. It’s more of a project, an outreach, a desperate attempt to expand all our perspectives, by graphically demonstrating precisely the cost that modern civilization exacts on the landscape. Deservedly, it’s getting a lot of attention.
With this wider perspective, it’s much easier to understand how our industry, agriculture, and lifestyles impact our land, our seas, and our skies. Our narrow, day-to-day view reveals little more than benefit. Zoom out a bit and an entirely different picture emerges.
The effect of these images and the stories that accompany them reveals quite a lot about us. It affirms our age-old affinity for pictures and story, while casting doubt on our somewhat newer assertion of being steadfastly data driven. The data on pollution, environmental damage, and climate change has been voluminous and ubiquitous for decades now, and yet it has changed very little.
The images and stories, meanwhile, are comparatively new. Here’s hoping they’ll grant us new perspective on the harm we’re doing ourselves, and new inducement to change course.