top of page

Is Our Global Economy Killing Us? How Our Purchases Destroy Nature & Climate and Cause Violence

Interconnected global trade has brought more prosperity to more people than ever, allowing abundance (in some places) that our ancestors would have seen as magic. This modern globalized economy also allows us to devour the natural environment and warm the climate more efficiently than ever before. Our desire for electronics, beef, soy, palm oil – and everything else – is punishing nature. But we need intact nature if we want to keep a stable climate and avoid pandemics. We need ways to avoid killing ourselves and our planet with our consumer desires.

Today we explore how huge and interconnected our global economy has become. We see examples where our economy is destroying critical rainforests – the Amazon, in Democratic Republic of Congo and in Indonesia & Malaysia. We discuss some core economic philosophy that served its purpose over the years, but is no longer compatible with a safe climate and environment, on a crowded planet with human population of almost 8 billion people. And we look at solutions, because solutions are really good.

DONATE to help the Banyamulenge in Democratic Republic of Congo

For most environmental data I shared, links are available with my other episode:

HUMANS ARE GOING NUTS: More global chaos reduction systems, please? | #2


~ Our World In Data, Extinctions

~ Global Footprint Network (1.6 Earths)

~ The Atlantic, March 2021

The Terrifying Warming Lurking in the Earth’s Ancient Rock Record: Our climate models could be missing something big.

~ Gizmodo, 6/10/21

Landmark Report Links Earth’s 2 Biggest Existential Threats for the First Time: Fifty top scientists warn climate change and biodiversity loss are one and the same.

~ Our World in Data, Human population

~ Our World in Data, World GDP over the last two millienia

Global economic integration:

~ Our World in Data, Trade and Globalization

~ Statista, July 2019 Trends in global export volume of trade in goods from 1950 to 2018

~ Car and Driver, 1/11/19 U.S. Car Brands Aren't What They Used to Be

~ Our World In Data, 2/23/21

Cutting down forests: what are the drivers of deforestation?

Amazon Rainforest:

~ Seeker, 12/30/20

Amazon Rainforest Could Become A Savannah Within 15 Years, Here’s How (4:47)

~ Vox Atlas: The Amazon Part 1 (11:44): Part 2 (10:57): Part 3 (10:04):

~ Washington Post, 8/27/19 How Amazon deforestation is being done in the service of surging beef demand

~ The Intercept, 8/30/20 How Larry Fink, Joe Biden’s Wall Street Ally, Profits From Amazon Cattle Ranching, a Force Behind Deforestation

~ Trase, September 2019 Mapping the deforestation risk of Brazilian beef exports

~ Our World In Data, Soy


~ The Guardian, 2/19/20 How the world got hooked on palm oil

~ Yale Environment 360, 5/27/21

The Time Has Come to Rein In the Global Scourge of Palm Oil

~ Mongabay, August 2020 ‘Meaningless certification’: Study makes the case against ‘sustainable’ palm oil

~ Trase, 7/9/19 Supply chain transparency could be vital to easing tensions around Indonesian palm oil

~ Mongabay, 3/9/21

Deforestation in Indonesia hits record low, but experts fear a rebound

Democratic Republic of Congo:

~ Mongabay, 12/21/20 Poor governance fuels ‘horrible dynamic’ of deforestation in DRC

~ World Resources Institute, 7/9/19 Congo Basin Deforestation Threatens Food and Water Supplies Throughout Africa

~ Mongabay, 7/16/19

Agriculture, mining, hunting push critically endangered gorillas to the brink

~ Washington Post, 4/19/18

The quest for conflict-free mining in Congo: an ugly truth behind ‘ethical consumerism’

~ Genocide Watch, 10/10/20

Genocide Warning: The Vulnerability of Banyamulenge ‘Invaders’

~ Digital Trends, 9/9/18 Companies want to sell you conflict-free phones, but certification isn’t foolproof

Economic Theory:

~ The New Yorker, 2/3/20 Can We Have Prosperity Without Growth?

~ Degrowth, 8/31/20

Book review: ‘Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World’ by Jason Hickel

[I have not read this book yet. I want to. I read Hickel’s previous book The Divide, which was amazing.]

~ Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth

World Trade Organization:

~ Council on Foreign Relations, 2/16/21

What’s Next for the WTO?


bottom of page