Human populations have lived a rural lifestyle through most of history, depending on agriculture or hunting and gathering. As abundant oil reserves fueled the rise of modern civilization, urban life grew along with it. In 1800 only 3% of the world’s population lived in cities, in 1900 that number reached 14% which increased to 30% in 1950. The majority of our species became urban in 2008 as more than half of humans are now living in cities. Because of petroleum powered agriculture we’ve supplanted increasingly more humans from food production into other activities. With the exhaustion of our biosphere and the end of cheap oil can we draw on examples from cities of the past to shape the human population centers of the future? Will lessons before economic growth provide a context for life after growth?
In Extraenvironmentalist #48 we speak with archeologist Paul Sinclair about the Urban Mind project. Paul discusses a new field of archeological research that is discovering the role of urban gardening throughout history and during wartime in ancient cities. We ask Paul about the role of cities in shaping the way humans think and he tells us how he survived a food crisis in Mozambique. After discussing a world before economic growth, Donnie Maclurcan of the Post Growth Institute tells us how we can start building a post-growth world [1h 14m]. Donnie describes the benefits of asset mapping your community and why you should participate in Free Money Day on September 15th. Last of all, John Michael Greer joins us [1h 58m] to answer listener questions and to talk about David Korowicz’s FEASTA study, Trade Off: A Study in Global Systemic Collapse which details how a cascading collapse could lead to rapid end for the global supply chain.