Published by on April 14, 2021
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William R. Catton, Jr., is professor of sociology at Washington State University and author of From Animistic to Naturalistic Sociology and more than seventy-five . William R. Catton Jnr. explained humanity’s overshoot situation in his book. Overshoot, The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change”. The front page. Overshoot has ratings and 30 reviews. Adam said: I’ve been Title: Overshoot Binding: Paperback Author: Catton, William R., JR. Publisher: Combined.

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That is how Catton strikes me. And from these past experiences, we can expect the same would happen to us again in the event of next capacity crisis.

May 22, Rezl rated it it was amazing. I actually wrote the author to ask him if he could recommend other books he considered relevant to the current situation, and he recommended above all others Fred Cottrell’s Energy and Society, also an old one whose insights have not become outdated. History will tell if they already have.

What kind of role are human beings going to play in their own impending crash? By displacing, killing, and destroying flora, fauna, and native Americans for their carrying capacity, the settlers weren’t forced to compete with each other for resources initially. The population of hunter-gatherers grew 0. It is a point of departure for anyone desiring, first and foremost, to view the world through an ecological lens, rather than a faulty and dubious political or cultural one.

Two levels of ghost acreage are identified — that imported via trade and that “created” using fossil fuels. Dec 11, Guy rated it liked it Shelves: After the fever comes the healing.

The crazy cornucopian pipedream ovrrshoot become the primary worldview in most societies. As an antidote to this depressing treatise, I recommend reading those first. This book is a classic in “environmental” or natural resource literature, and was a major influence on my thinking. I’m not sure I agree that such a thing would have been possible without the benefit of hindsight.


But, as if we were driving a car that has become stuck on a overshokt road, we feel an urge to bear down harder than ever on the accelerator and to spin our wheels vigorously in an effort to power ourselves out of the quagmire. I find myself agreeing that there would be risk to sucking that much solar energy out of the system.

As you can see here: To him that predicament is the natural outcome of evolutionary processes and the powers given to humans through those processes.

What Is Sustainable: Overshoot

After his military service he enrolled at Oberlin Collegewhere he met Nancy Lewis. The anecdote about the reindeer on the island is worth ofershoot price of the book. Adapting to ecosystems works, and controlling and exploiting them does not. The consequence is that we are not only well beyond ovedshoot sustainable carrying capacity of the planet, but are actively undermining that capacity for future generations in our zest to maintain the impossible.

Feb ctton, Tie Webb rated it it was amazing Shelves: Sep 07, Mark Spyker rated it it was amazing. We can re-learn how to create soil instead of destroying it, and there are plenty of people around the world showing us how to do this. By tapping into the reserves of fossil fuels that are leftovers from millions of years ago, the human species temporarily increased the limits, the amounts of resources available to feed overshokt and power all our machines and other fuel-using technology, but this can only be done as long as we keep using more and more of those fossil fuels.

Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

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. Preview — Overshoot by William R. He contradicts those scientists, engineers, and technocrats who continue to write optimistically about energy alternatives. Submitted by wtanaka on Sat, Jul 23, Katja Vartiainen rated it really liked it Shelves: The truths that are revealed will change how you view the world and how far from sustainable we really are.


We tend to lash out in response — find a group to blame for our fear of being redundant. Yes, technology will help increase carrying capacity, but is it rational to believe that it will continue to do so indefnitely?

Human life is now being lived in an era of deepening carrying capacity deficit. Catton served as president of the Pacific Sociological Association and as the first chair of the American Sociological Overshot Section on Environmental Sociology.

By this he meant the overshot dependence on fossil fuels which are the ancient dead remains of organisms transformed into oil, natural gas and coal.

To read this book is to understand that it is the only choice available. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. By supposing that our humanity exempts us, we delude ourselves.

William Catton: Overshoot and Bottleneck

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Turns out that may mean complete environmental devastation, and spoiler for the second-to-last chapter possibly even a nightmarish simplification of world ecosystems, condemning our descendants to yo-yo in population like lemmings.

As the rate of oil extraction declines in the coming decades, there will be many growling tummies.

This was before oil, mechanized farming, farm chemicals, and the Green Revolution. Just now discovered this excellent post, Richard.

The observation is made that as the ecosystem becomes simpler, with fewer species competing for consumption, the population cycles become more dramatic.

Overshoot was not published until My purpose in creating this blog is to explore what worked well, and what failed.