COP15: The Good, the Bad, and the Smugly

by Brian Czech

On a scale of one to ten, COP15—the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal last month—was a solid five. That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but it represents significant progress from prior COPs, which dabbled along in the one or two range for the better part of three decades. The progress was evident from the start, when UN Secretary General António Guterres kicked off the conference by noting,


Fusion Energy: A Different Take

by Gary Gardner

The recent news that scientists moved a step closer to fusion energy was greeted with enthusiasm and awe in much of the media, a bright spot of cheer amid the ongoing drumbeat of existential global threats. Only the most cynical of curmudgeons could pooh-pooh this hopeful development—right?

After all, energy is the foundation of human development. Civilizational advance is a tale of ongoing successes in shaping energy for human ends.


A Primer on Economic Growth and Biodiversity Conservation for COP15

by Brian Czech

With COP15 coming up, it’s time to don the old conservation biologist hat and proffer a primer on the relationship between economic growth and biodiversity conservation. The last thing we want is a COP15 devoid of discussion about the fundamental conflict between growing the economy and conserving biodiversity. In fact, the 800-pound gorilla—GDP growth—ought to be front and center.

For the uninitiated, COP15 is the UN Biodiversity Conference,


Hurricane Ian: A Profoundly Polluting Event

by Brian Czech

If you’re a steady stater, I know what you’re thinking about Hurricane Ian. For starters, of course, you’re deeply concerned about any family or friends you may have in Florida, along with folks in general along Ian’s path. But you’re also wondering, “What about the pollution?”

The marine pollution that accompanies coastal flooding, most notably from violent hurricanes, is probably ignored by the majority of folks,


Emerging Signs of Grassroots Resistance to Growth

by Christy Shaw

There seem to be encouraging signs that more and more average Americans are speaking out and taking action to oppose uncontrolled growth. Concerned citizens are sounding the alarm that too much growth is doing far more harm than good in their towns, cities and communities.

While there does not yet appear to be a coordinated nationwide coalition of activism, there are definitely increasing signs of grassroots efforts to push back against the all-too common,


Prospects for 负增长 Toward a Steady State Economy in China

by Yiran Cheng

China, as the world’s second-largest economy and a rising superpower, is an integral part of the discussion if a steady state economy is ever to be achieved at a global scale. China’s environmental impact grows by the day, yet serious consideration about intentionally slowing economic growth has seldom occurred, let alone the possibility of a sustained 负增长, the Mandarin translation of “degrowth”.

This is not to say China is oblivious to its environmental toll.


The Environmental Consequences of Putin’s War

by Connor Moynihan

Steady-state advocates know that peace is required for a stable and prosperous world. Herman Daly said, “It is hard to imagine a steady state economy without peace; it is hard to imagine peace in a full world without a steady state economy.” Brian Czech emphasized succinctly, “Peace is a steady state economy.” And peace campaigners have long connected their goals to the environment.


Don’t Fence Me In: Exnovation for Degrowth

by Gregory Mikkelson

During recent visits to my family’s woods in northern Wisconsin, I have methodically snipped, pulled out, and recycled a half-mile of long-abandoned barbed wire. By doing so, I hope to help the biotic communities on either side of the old fence line to reconnect. The work is great exercise, and deeply satisfying.

I have not yet figured out who installed the wire or when, but the stuff was invented by Lucien Smith in 1867,


Economic Growth Takes a Bite out of Fishing

by Stephen Coghlan

“A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work,” proclaimeth bumper stickers throughout my neck of the woods in central Maine. No disagreement here! For humans, fishing is fun and mentally and physically stimulating. Fishing also engenders respect for nature, relieves stress, and sometimes provides a tasty meal; though not so much for the fish.

Fishing is deeply embedded in American culture,


West Virginia v. EPA: A Setback for the Steady State Economy

by Sydney Lyman

Throughout the month of June, many Americans frantically refreshed the Supreme Court’s website each morning, as immensely important cases appeared on the docket in rapid succession. It turned out to be a disorienting month. The freedom to get an abortion was stripped from 40 million people of reproductive age, gun control efforts were stymied, and the separation of church and state in public schools was weakened.