Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

Overshoot The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change Title Overshoot Binding Paperback Author Catton William R JR Publisher Combined Academic Publishers

  • Title: Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
  • Author: William R. Catton Jr. Stewart L. Udall
  • ISBN: 9780252009884
  • Page: 440
  • Format: Paperback
  • Title Overshoot Binding Paperback Author Catton, William R JR Publisher Combined Academic Publishers

    One thought on “Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change”

    1. I've been reading books on “the Problem of Civilization” for several years now. I'm constantly seeking to refine my conceptualization of the way humans interact with each other and their environment. Contrary to what one reviewer says (that most of Catton's book is “common knowledge for any under-40 environmentalists”), I felt that Overshoot expanded my understanding of environmental issues as a whole more than any book I've ever read – excluding perhaps the big leap that occurred when [...]

    2. William Catton’s book, Overshoot, describes the process by which most modern societies have achieved overshoot — a population in excess of the permanent carrying capacity of the habitat. It examines the long human saga, and reveals embarrassing failures of foresight that make our big brains wince and blush. Catton drives an iron stake through the heart of our goofy worldview — the myths, fantasies, and illusions of progress. Readers are served a generous full strength dose of ecological re [...]

    3. This is easily among the top five most important and compelling books I've ever read. I almost qualified that as "nonfiction books," but the sentence stands as true without the modifier, and I cannot record this book highly enough to everyone.Catton recent passed. He had a long life, relatively speaking, and I hope it was happy. He was certainly one of the most important, eloquent (and unfortunately little-known or appreciated) voices of the past century. RIP, and may your legacy have greater, n [...]

    4. I love this. The argumentation is excellent, and the implications are profound and dire. The anecdote about the reindeer on the island is worth the price of the book.

    5. Another reviewer has taken the words out of my mouth.Catton's thesis, succinctly put:"Human beings, in two million years of cultural evolution, have several times succeeded in taking over additional portions of the earth's total life-supporting capacity, at the expense of other creatures. Each time, human population has increased. But man has now learned to rely on a technology that augments human carrying capacity in a necessarily temporary way--as temporary as the extension of life by eating t [...]

    6. Impressive. For the clarity and consistency of his ecological thought, and even more so given that the book was first published in 1980 when even among green activists and academics there was only a fuzzy understanding of the nature and depth of the ecological predicament created by our industrial civilization. For that matter, even now there probably aren't more than 5% of the population of the US who would really understand his worldview.Catton gets so many things right that it feels a bit lik [...]

    7. Masterful. The author wrote this book in 1982, but a lot of it reads as if it was taken from last year's news. The basic theme is that this planet can only support a certain number of people (or any other creatures) indefinitely; there is a limit based on the renewable natural resources we consume and the rate at which they are regenerated by nature. By tapping into the reserves of fossil fuels that are leftovers from millions of years ago, the human species temporarily increased the limits, the [...]

    8. If you are completely uninformed about the fact that humanity is living beyond its means, then you may find some insight here. There is an old saying that a man with a hammer sees every problem as a nail. That is how Catton strikes me. His hammer is his obsessive idea that populations in nature that overshoot the ability of the environment to support them plunge into a rapid die off. Nor does he offer any solutions other than the warning that we're doomed--curtailed consumption or not. There are [...]

    9. Brilliant but devastating. Anyone who thinks we're going to technologically solve the problems that face humanity really needs to give this a read.I readToo Smart for Our Own Good a few years ago and that was almost reassuring, because I felt relieved that someone was at last looking seriously at the issues. Now I've readOvershoot and I have a horrible sinking feeling it was published in 1982. People have been trying to raise awareness about these issues since before I was born. And almost no on [...]

    10. tl;dr Fossil fuels have enabled man to greatly exceed the carrying capacity of the Earth, but since they are finite, population crash is inevitable. It's biology, and there's no technological deus ex machina coming that can help us escape it.Modern man no longer belongs to the species Homo sapiens, argues William Catton in this remarkably prescient work published back in 1982, but to a species more aptly named energy-gobbling monster Homo colossus. Leaning on the same mindsets that freed (some) [...]

    11. The title of the book "overshoot" gives me a straightforward impression that it is about the carrying capacity such as natural resources that would soon reach exhaustion. But the content of the book suggests otherwise.      The author believes that innovation of technology can provide substitutes to currently exhausting resources and expand the carrying capacity infinitely. His seemingly convincing argument that affirms the divinity of technology is a historical account. He says, in huma [...]

    12. An important book far ahead of its time in many ways, though I suppose it belonged to the era of environmental awakening in the 1970s that came after the oil crisis and with the Carter administration. Belongs with such classics as Limits to Growth in heralding the concept of a finite carrying capacity for mankind. Terms commonly used today like ecological footprint have yet to be coined, instead Catton uses words like 'ghost acreage' and 'phantom carrying capacity' to drive home similar ideas of [...]

    13. This book is a classic in "environmental" or natural resource literature, and was a major influence on my thinking. The book is about one big idea - how the ecological exploitation of our planet's resources affects human societies. It describes how humans were/are able to expand their dominance of the planet by continually finding new ways to exploit ecological and natural resources to expand human carrying capacity. These include not just new technologies, but also trade, discovery of new lands [...]

    14. Even though this was written in the '70s and only published in 1980, this book remains a critically important work: sobering and important, regarded by Michael Dowd ("Thank God for Evolution") and his wife Connie Barlow as the single most important work on ecology in the world today, despite its venerable age. From another review: "The cultural paradigm Catton refers to as 'Exuberance' is so deeply entrenched in our culture that even now, 30 years after the release of the book, in an age glutted [...]

    15. I abandoned the book halfway through. It presents a few simple ecological principles - community, nice, succession, and views human society in that perspective. It spend most of the time making the simple premise that humanity has overshot the carrying capacity of the world and will therefore soon see the end of the age of exuberance. The book claims that this overshoot is the cause of many social ills, like genocide and world wars, which is an extreme oversimplification. The footnotes to suppor [...]

    16. Again four stars. This book is well researched, serious account of what mess we are in, and the future generations even more so. The reason, what is also behind the Syrian crisis, is the ecological crisis, the long drought that affected the already difficult, suppressed Syrians. We are going to face ecological refugees in the future on a constant basis, and this book explains very well how we got here, and what have we done wrong. Its also addresses - a bit- the problem how to deal with it. It i [...]

    17. for some reason catton came upon a very important understanding of the unsustainable relationship between the planet's ecology and the industrial economy built by humans, felt overcome by hopelessness and fear, and decided to write a book trying to rub his feelings of sorrow and misanthropy into the faces of the readerssically decides humanity is doomed and everyone is either a fool or worse, for not recognizing that. rejects politics as habit, even more vociferously than he rejects technologica [...]

    18. This is a very sober, straightforward assessment of human society in it's ecological context throughout history. There are not many books out there like this one, which is depressing given how extremely unlikely it is that the human population is anywhere near the carrying capacity of a world without fossil fuels. If you want to reproduce after reading this, you probably have a learning disability.

    19. Although it took me a while to get through this book, I found it incredibly worthwhile to read and fully understand. Because this book does not have a plot or characters, I found it easy to put down and pick up again which is why I read this over so lengthy a time. This is an incredibly important issue that I think everyone needs to be made aware of. If you get a chance for a nonfiction book- read this one!

    20. This 35 year old book is still timely, curiously enough, both because it was far-sighted then and because it addresses a topic, that while not timeless, is still relevent. It is both very important and wonderfully written. The chapters are concise and proceed in a smooth flow to a paradigm-breaking conclusion.

    21. Excellent book that was written ahead of its time or perhaps when society had a more open mind. The truths that are revealed will change how you view the world and how far from sustainable we really are.

    22. definately a good read for anyone interested in climate change, or any of the environmental issues facing our generation

    23. Excellent introduction to the relationship between the carrying capacity of our planet and the fossil fuels we use to produce food.

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