"A powerful analysis of our situation"

This book shows how societies and individuals can have too much of a good thing, often unconscious of the effects of ingenuity on their environment. When changes are man-made and harmful, a downward spiral begins: development that excludes solutions to problems that arise from development.

What it takes to end an environmental crisis

Cholera in London, 1858
It takes hardship, observation, data, and in the case of London's cholera epidemic - a stench from the River Thames so foul that Parliament ceased functioning. The next order of business was for the members of Parliament to quickly enact legislation ordering the overhaul of London's sewerage system.

Darwin and poetry

Can parts of the mind become atrophied through misuse? Charles Darwin seemed to think it possible, and that it had happened to him. He felt certain that the remedy was to engage the affected parts of the brain in culturally stimulating activities. There has been much speculation that mental illness may have been the culprit. However Darwin, known for speaking his mind only after lengthy reflection, persuades us that he was not speculating wildly. Progress traps appear to follow the same pattern - specialization followed by atrophy. But let Darwin's words express the conundrum:

People who don't believe in climate change?

"You won't find them on the fireline in the American West anymore," said a Federal chief of fire operations, interviewed by CBS News at the site of the fatal wildfire in Arizona on July 1st, 2013. Nineteen firefighters lost their lives fighting the fire near Yarnell, Arizona on June 30.

Flexibility and Progress - why can't our leaders be more like Mandela?

In 2003, Dr. Gilla Family noted in the Creativity Research Journal, "Plenty of evidence exists for goodwill, honest effort, and dedication by individuals, groups, and nations...South Africa broke the back of apartheid and is on the road to reconciliation ...
Plenty of good reasons exist for realistic optimism that catastrophes can be avoided." 1

Freud and the attack on nature

The idea of subjugating and manipulating nature, as the earliest farmers did, still drives human endeavor. As Sigmund Freud put it in Civilization and its Discontents,* "Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by...becoming a member of the human community, and, with the help of...science, going over to the attack on nature and subjecting her to the human will."


This small southwest Pacific island is of special interest because it appears to have achieved sustainable development. An island of 1.8 square miles and 1,200 inhabitants, it is described by Jared Diamond as being "micromanaged for continuous and sustainable food production" 1

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"The Progress Trap - and how to avoid it" Copyright Daniel O'Leary, registered at
the Copyright Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada on April 5, 1991 (ref 405917)

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