October 1, 2015
Late in 2013, leaders from Population Media Center, Population Institute and Foundation for Deep Ecology huddled up to review the draft of what would become Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot. No one knew what sort of public reception a large-format, 3 kilogram book — filled with a variety of extremely provocative pictures — would get.
Questions abounded around the table: Who would read this book? Was it too provocative? Could limited resources be invested in more worthwhile programs?
In the end, after much intense discussion, a consensus began forming. The world is continuously flooded with scientific studies documenting environmental decay and destruction by the hand of humankind. They all say essentially the same thing: human societies and planetary health are in existential peril. Transformative, fundamental global human-systems change is the only effective option for avoiding the worst of the sixth mass extinction, anthropological global warming and world-spanning economic and social injustices that are off the charts.
But few hear these cries – and even fewer listen. Stuffy journal publications are simply not capable of grabbing busy, over-committed people by the shirt collar and shaking them into an emotional awareness of our collective problems. While no one knew what would happen with OVER, trying something different seemed well worth the risk.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The demand for the OVER books was beyond our wildest expectations – fueled by over 250 mass-media articles, reaching over 1 billion readers in 47 countries. A second printing of the book was ordered this summer and you — the Speak Out community — now have an additional 4,200 copies to work with. The goals remain the same: emotionally engage policy-makers, conservationists and students all over the world.
This is very much your campaign. Please take a moment to consider colleagues, friends, associates – perhaps even adversaries – that need to get a copy of OVER. Submit your ideas, or refer your contacts to our Book Champion proposal form online. OVER and Speak Out have already made a real difference in the world, but in some senses we are just getting started. It should be a very, very interesting journey as we continue working throughout 2015 and look ahead to 2016.