Articles by John Feeney

John Feeney's writing for the popular media has appeared in BBC News's Green Room, The Guardian, The Canyon Country Zephyr, The Oil Drum, Dissident Voice, Culture Change, Online Journal,, SHIFT Mag, Aquecimento Global, The Arabesques Review, and other outlets.

Here are some links:



Agriculture: ending the world as we know it

 [6/2014 - Note: I've long preferred an earlier working title I had used for this article: Agriculture: The Beginning and End of Civilization]

As hunter-gatherers, we blended gracefully into Earth's ecosystems. Then everything changed. Agriculture works by destroying habitat and tearing down ecosystems. It has not just caused our numbers to grow into the billions, setting the stage for climate change, it has spurred the sixth mass extinction in earth's history. We are literally consuming the very web of life on which all species depend for survival.

Ultimately, because civilization is killing the planet, we must consider embracing once again a way of living which worked for over two million years. We don’t have to go backwards; we need only nurture who we really are. (After reading the article, find a clarifying addendum at the end of this blog post.)

Agriculture: ending the world as we know it




Population: the elephant in the room

The size and growth of the human population is a fundamental factor in environmental degradation. It threatens humanity and all life on Earth. But there has existed for decades a kind of taboo suppressing open discussion of the problem. The result is that few environmental organizations will touch the topic and programs aimed at reducing fertility rates are few in number and woefully underfunded. This article discusses the taboo and why it's misguided. It introduces the Global Population Speak Out, a project designed to address it.

Population: the elephant in the room




Return of the population timebomb

It's a myth that we can solve the global ecological crisis merely by reducing per capita consumption while ignoring population. Ecological footprint data provide one way of proving that. We must return our attention to population. There is no alternative.

As a pair, this article and Six steps to "getting" the global ecological crisis demonstrate that we are in overshoot and that reducing per capita consumption without addressing population won't get us out.

(Note: (1) The calculations in the article are all correct. They are based on the most precise data provided by the Global Footprint Network (GFN), not the rounded figures used in some of the summaries on their site or, in some instances, in this article. (2) This article was written using GFN's 2006 data. They have since published their 2008 data which show the situation to be considerably worse.)

Return of the population timebomb



Humanity is the greatest challenge 

Though it is the most important challenge humanity has ever faced, the media underplay the global ecological crisis. Overpopulation is its chief proximate driver. (Agriculture is arguably the root driver.)  Yet environmentalists avoid the subject more than any other ecological truth.

Humanity is the greatest challenge



Population and the ecological crisis

The low fertility rates in some European countries may be the best news in the world today. Can the EU show the world the path to sustainability?

Population and the ecological crisis (PDF)


oil drum

Six steps to "getting" the global ecological crisis

Using standard definitions and simple logic, it's easy enough to prove irrefutably that our numbers have exceeded the earth's carrying capacity for humans.

Six steps to "getting" the global ecological crisis (Significantly revised here)



Can ecological economists stop the mainstreamers before it's too late? 

Mainstream economists are trying to kill us. They don't think of it that way, but they should. The standard policies promoting endless economic growth of the conventional sort are destroying the ecosystem.

Can ecological economists stop the mainstreamers before it's too late?
(Originally published at Culture Change.)


 dissident voice

When environmental writers are part of the problem 

It's common among environmental writers today to avoid the topic of human population size and growth. What are they thinking?

When environmental writers are part of the problem


online journal

Earth needs renewed attention to human population growth 

Since the 1970s, the subject of population has faded from prominence. This needs to change as our total resource consumption is the product of population size and the average per capita consumption.

Earth needs renewed attention to human population growth (PDF)



Find additional articles on John's now inactive blog, Growth is Madness! It's a useful resource for analyses of certain ecological questions with emphases on population and ecological economics. Includes guest pieces by such luminaries as Herman Daly and Albert Bandura. A number of the articles debunk common myths such as: (1) the notion that because all humans could fit in Texas that means we are not overpopulated, (2) the assumption that the UN's population projections can be taken as reliable predictions, and (3) the argument that the problem is not population but per capita consumption. For these topics and much more, do try Growth is Madness!