Nickerson illustrating a point using a bit of rope

Mike Nickerson was a guest of OPIRG McMaster on Wednesday, and spoke beautifully about the future of humanity on a finite planet. Comparing our existence as a species to human development, he suggests we have been a growing child, consuming without giving back, but now we are at the awkward adolescent stage where me must decide to grow into maturity – a definition of maturity that includes both “full-grown” and a sense of “responsibility.”

Just as a child has a metabolic shift that ends the growth period, the same is not true of our relationship with nature: “There is no metabolic shift for nature'” he says.

Arguing that growth based economies will bring us to an ugly ending, Nickerson has great insights into how a possible future of sustainability can come into being. Shifting our way of existing on earth means applying our creative powers as a society. “Life is where the solutions lie,” he suggests, pointing out that “friends, not things, will make you happy.” Ultimately, the question becomes “what does it mean to be a good human being?”

Twishna Patel of OPIRG’s JUST STOP working group, with Nickerson

“Live as lightly as possible, enjoy life, and manage the material world” in a sustainable way. “Part of the solution is to enjoy ourselves,” he says. but not in the ways of the constant growth economy, where the next product promises happiness but does not deliver.

His book Life Money and Illusion gets into the topic of growth and sustainability and is available for loan from the OPIRG Resource Centre, or for purchase from his web site