Home | About | Donate

Averting the Apocalypse: Lessons from Costa Rica

Averting the Apocalypse: Lessons from Costa Rica

Jason Hickel

"If we want to have any hope of averting catastrophe, we’re going to have to do something about our addiction to growth."


Religious origin of ecological crisis

From Bruno Latour’s “Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on The New Climate Regime” pg 210

I realize that is comes after 200 pages of an incredible treatment of science, politics and religion, but these few sentences might speak to some.

“The religious origin of the ecological crisis is indisputable; I hope you understand this but not for the reasons given in Lynn White’s overly famous article that accused Christianity of having reified matter and given man absolute mastery over living beings”

Some sentences. Italics in the original.

… Believing themselves to be attached to the Spirit, they have lost the Earth. Believing that they are defending religion, they have driven everyone to assault the Earth through negligence. Led astray by the supernatural, itself a delayed reaction to the invasion of “nature,” they are no longer in a position to do their duty by defending materiality, unjustly accused, against matter, unduly spirtialized. They need to be reminded of the celebrated evangelical injunction, inverted: “What use is it if you save your soul, if it means loosing the world.”


If I may be so bold as to reduce much of this great article into a one sentence letter:

Dear (great majority of) Economists,
Your FUCKING EXTERNALITIES are killing life on earth.
(not so) Sincerely,
Life on Earth


The old “Chamber of Commerce” adage being ‘if it ain’t growing, it’s dying’ is one big bag of shit…NO, "If we’re growing, WE ARE GOING TO DIE’…idiots…


“To be happy, add not to your possessions, but rather subtract from your desires.”
—several sources, with minor variations, suggesting the sentiment is near-universal

It will be a great day when enough of us have learned to distinguish between our needs and our wants. Of course, the great Bernaysian propaganda machine will do all it can to convince us the two are the same.


Excellent article Dr Hickel. To achieve this in America, the greed heads have to go:

For Grassroots Direct Democracy do we have to go to Mars?

1 Like

Great article. Wish we could all live like they do in Costa Rica. I’m afraid the arch-capitalists among both the leaders and people of wealthy nations like the US, EU, Japan, would rather blow up the planet than live with much less material wealth and share with others. To prove this, just ask almost any American if they would be willing to give up their current lifestyle to live in a 500 sq. ft. apartment, drive an old car or take the bus and/or bike everywhere, eat meat only occasionally, only go camping with no exotic vacations, and so on (a lifestyle that is marginally sustainable). Very, very few people would be willing to live this way. Unfortunately, sustainability will likely only be enforced by nature when the environmental crisis hits wealthy nations although it might be the grandchildren of today’s citizens who will have to suffer from the world that their forebears created.


And there it is. The solution, the only solution is right there waiting for us. All we have to do is to accept it and try it, really try it, as a World Community. Universalism and commited de-growth can save what’s left, if, and only if, we are not foolish enough to wait until it is too late!

1 Like

This article is a great advertisement for socialism. And it’s written without mentioning the word ‘socialism’.

Costa Rica had a communist government in the early 40’s which laid the base for its socialism. In the 40’s revolution this communist government was overthrown by the US puppet Pepe Figueres, who was a democratic socialist.

Democratic socialism, normally abhorred by the US, was supported by the US because that was considered the best that could be obtained in Costa Rica at the time.

The US has chipped away at Costa Rican socialism whenever the opportunity presented itself since the revolution. Presently the IMF is pressuring Costa Rica over its national debt.

The present government of Costa Rica has a strong socialist bent.

A true socialist government is not concerned about economic growth, because the government produces only what is needed by the population.

It is greed for increased profits that makes constant growth necessary for capitalism.

1 Like

I totally agree with your post-