Population and Consumption Online Exhibition

This is the second What’s Next for Earth online exhibition based on Think Resilience,
a free online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

“Today we consume resources at a far higher rate than any previous civilization. We can do this mainly due to our reliance on a few particularly useful nonrenewable and depleting resources, namely fossil fuels. Energy from fossil fuels enables us to mine, transform, and transport other resources at very high rates; it also yields synthetic fertilizers to make up for our ongoing depletion of natural soil nutrients. This deep dependency on fossil fuels of course raises the question of what we will do as the depletion of fossil fuels themselves becomes more of an issue.”
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience, lesson 3: Population and Consumption (Full video transcript here).


Marianne Bickett, Christina Conklin, Michele Guieu, Terri Hughes-Oelrich, Pascal Ken, Deborah Kennedy, Michael Kerbow, Cristian Pietrapiana, Quin de la Mer, Marcela Villaseñor, Michelle Waters





I think I’ve finally rounded a corner with this current painting in my studio. I’m not going to call it completed just yet but I can see the finish line.
  • Michael Kerbow

Collapse Collage series


In the 1950s, there were 2 billion on earth, now there are 7+, heading toward 10. What does it mean for justice, resources, and global culture when too many bodies share a warming planet?
  • Christina Conklin



The theme this month is Population and Consumption. What struck me while listening to the Think Resilience course was the fact that “… at our current rate of consumption we humans…(to sustain US consumption) would need the equivalent of four earths to sustain us.” The one earth we do have needs our actions to save life on earth. Thank you WhatsNextForEarth for the great art calls!
  • Marianne Bickett

‘Growth in per-capita consumption is also unsustainable over the long haul’
Richard Heinberg

ink, acrylic on paper

  • Cristian Pietrapiana

Manifest Destiny


Here’s an oldie that I painted almost 20 years ago, and of course the situation has only gotten worse since then. Though my painting practice has changed a lot in the years since I made this, my thoughts regarding what we’re doing to the animals and nature are the same.
  • Michelle Waters


Ink drawing

Human eggs with symbols of connectivity and compass roses. Our precious genetic material floating in a complex world. Climate change is already threatening food production. If we continue increasing our population in a world of declining food production we are on a collision course with reality.
  • Deborah Kennedy

There must be some kind of alternative economic models

Digital collage from calligraphy on paper, photography

Every day, more technology, more needs, more comfort, more products! It is time to go for a new economic model! Some of us are ready! Some are not! Are you ready?
  • Pascal Ken


digital art

Inspired by the Population and Consumption art call, I created a new piece for my Elsewhen series. There are too many of us consuming our host and home. Our way of life has become a self-generating machine without consciousness… are we a suicidal cultural collective?
  • Quin de la Mer


Ephemeral composition
Painted wood scraps from a previous project
20” x 30”

Our planet is finite, this fact will never change. There will never be more minerals, metals, fossil fuels than what already exists. Population growth and consumption are correlated. Although there are immense disparities in the consumption levels around the world, humans are using resources and space exponentially, using resources faster than the Earth can regenerate them, such as forests and fish. We add more than 80 million people a year. This has catastrophic consequences on the rest of the living world. Wildlife and wilderness are both disappearing fast.

Here’s a thought-provoking video to watch on YouTube: “Facing up to overpopulation” by Jane O’Sullivan from the conference “Delivering the Human Future”.
  • Michele Guieu

The Population and Consumption exhibition is based on Think Resilience, the Post Carbon Institute’s free online course. To respond to the art call, we asked the artists to signup and to watch the course, one lesson/video at a time. Each video is approximately 12 minutes long.

[Lesson 1: Introduction to the course]

CHAPTER 1: Our Converging Crises

CHAPTER 2: The Roots and Results of Our Crises

CHAPTER 3: Making Change

CHAPTER 4: Resilience Thinking

  • Lesson 13 – What is Resilience?
  • Lesson 14 – Community Resilience in the 21st Century
  • Lesson 15 – Six Foundations for Building Community Resilience

CHAPTER 5: Economy and Society

  • Lesson 16- How Globalization Undermines Resilience
  • Lesson 17- Economic Relocalization
  • Lesson 18- Social Justice
  • Lesson 19- Education

CHAPTER 6: Basic Needs and Functions

  • Lesson 20- Meeting Essential Community Needs
  • Lesson 21- Resilience in Major Sectors
  • Lesson 22- Review, Assessment & Action

Think Resilience is hosted by Richard Heinberg, one of the world’s leading experts on the urgency and challenges of moving society away from fossil fuels.

We live in a time of tremendous political, environmental, and economic upheaval. What should we do? Think Resilience is an online course offered by Post Carbon Institute to help you get started on doing something. It features twenty-two video lectures—about four hours total—by Richard Heinberg, one of the world’s foremost experts on the urgency and challenges of transitioning society away from fossil fuels. Think Resilience is rooted in Post Carbon Institute’s years of work in energy literacy and community resilience. It packs a lot of information into four hours, and by the end of the course you’ll have a good start on two important skills:

1. How to make sense of the complex challenges society now faces. What are the underlying, systemic forces at play? What brought us to this place? Acting without this understanding is like putting a bandage on a life-threatening injury.

2. How to build community resilience. While we must also act in our individual lives and as national and global citizens, building the resilience of our communities is an essential response to the 21st century’s multiple sustainability crises.

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