Photography With an Impact — Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER)

By the time you’ve read this post, the net growth of this planet’s population has increased by about one thousand human beings. That’s right. One thousand, in the course of a few minutes. That’s 1.5 million more people every week. The planet and its resources don’t expand. Human population does, at a frightening pace. This has consequences for each and everyone of us. A new book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) is an impressive piece of art crystallizing the ecological and social tragedies of humanity’s ballooning numbers and consumption. At the heart of the book are powerful and evocative photographs, urban landscapes mostly, illustrating the many challenges caused by human population that by now has reached a size of 7.3 billion people. At the dawn of the 20th century, four times less people lived on earth.

Second-tier Asian cities such as Qingdao, Shandong Province, China (population 8.7 million), are some of the fastest-growing urban zones on earth. | Population Speak Out
Second-tier Asian cities such as Qingdao, Shandong Province, China (population 8.7 million), are some of the fastest-growing urban zones on earth. | Population Speak Out

How do you raise awareness about population explosion? By means of visualization. With photographs. One group thought that the simplest way would be to show people what ticking bomb we’re sitting on. We’re not talking about imminent collapse of the world, but a creeping loss of unrecoverable life quality. Raising awareness about these issues is a project by Population Speak Out, a group uniting world-class scientists, academicians, opinion leaders and thousands of lay environmentalists and concerned citizens to help bring international attention to the crises posed by overdevelopment and human population size and growth.

OVER -- a truly amazing, yet terrifying book with astonishing photography. Available from Amazon.
OVER — a truly amazing, yet terrifying book with astonishing photography. Available from Amazon.
Have a look at a population to get an idea at what speed the human population is growing while useable land decreases. The U.S. Census Bureau‘s site with real-time figures is actually pretty impressive, and at the same time depressing. Each second, nearly three humans are born worldwide, that’s about 150 each minute, nearly a thousand every five minutes, while the number of deaths is roughly half of population growth.

What to do? Well, being aware of the problem is the first step. Doesn’t mean we all should adopt children from now on and squeeze families into a single bedroom flat. But making better use of resources, living more aware and abstaining from what’s not really necessary are certainly a step into the right direction to lessen the overall burden our beautiful planet has to shoulder. Each and everyone of us can make a difference, however tiny it may be. In the end it’s nothing but droplets that form the mighty ocean.

The coffee table book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) features more than 300 pages of stunning, full-spread photography that’s relentless and compelling. The real star of the book is the photography, meticulously paired with lyrical captions. OVER is a large format book, weighing nearly three kilograms, and the production and photographic quality are plain impressive. The scenes depicted throughout much of the book are woven together to create an experience perhaps better described as disturbing. The powerful imagery in this book won’t fail to inspire and make an impact on anyone who takes a little bit of time to dare to see what’s really going on around us.

What do you do to make a difference? For more, visit Global Population Speak Out.

Waves of Humanity Sprawling Mexico City rolls across the landscape, displacing every scrap of natural habitat. "If our species had started with just two people at the time of the earliest agricultural practices some 10,000 years ago, and increased by one percent per year, today humanity would be a solid ball of flesh many thousand light years in diameter, and expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would be many times faster than the speed of light." (Gabor Zovanyi) | Pablo Lopez Luz / Population Speak Out
Waves of Humanity — Sprawling Mexico City rolls across the landscape, displacing every scrap of natural habitat: “If our species had started with just two people at the time of the earliest agricultural practices some 10,000 years ago, and increased by one percent per year, today humanity would be a solid ball of flesh many thousand light years in diameter, and expanding with a radial velocity that, neglecting relativity, would be many times faster than the speed of light.” (Gabor Zovanyi)
| Pablo Lopez Luz / Population Speak Out
Oil Spill Fire Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. "We must realize that not only does every area have a limited carrying capacity, but also that this carrying capacity is shrinking and the demand growing. Until this understanding becomes an intrinsic part of our thinking and wields a powerful influence on our formation of national and international policies we are scarcely likely to see in what direction our destiny lies." (William Vogt) | Daniel Beltra / Population Speak Out
Oil Spill Fire — Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: “We must realize that not only does every area have a limited carrying capacity, but also that this carrying capacity is shrinking and the demand growing. Until this understanding becomes an intrinsic part of our thinking and wields a powerful influence on our formation of national and international policies we are scarcely likely to see in what direction our destiny lies.” (William Vogt)
| Daniel Beltra / Population Speak Out
Feedlot Industrial livestock production in Brazil "Despite the industry’s spin, concentrated animal feeding operations are not the only way to raise livestock and poultry. Thousands of farmers and ranchers integrate crop production, pastures or forages with livestock and poultry to balance nutrients within their operations and minimise off-farm pollution through conservation practices and land management. Yet these sustainable producers, who must compete with factory farms for market share, receive comparatively little or no public funding for their sound management practices." (Martha Noble) | Peter Beltra / Population Speak Out
Feedlot — Industrial livestock production in Brazil: “Despite the industry’s spin, concentrated animal feeding operations are not the only way to raise livestock and poultry. Thousands of farmers and ranchers integrate crop production, pastures or forages with livestock and poultry to balance nutrients within their operations and minimise off-farm pollution through conservation practices and land management. Yet these sustainable producers, who must compete with factory farms for market share, receive comparatively little or no public funding for their sound management practices.” (Martha Noble)
| Peter Beltra / Population Speak Out
Greenhouses Grow Greenhouses As far as the eye can see, greenhouses cover the landscape in Almeria, Spain "We are slaves in the sense that we depend for our daily survival upon an expand-or-expire agro-industrial empire – a crackpot machine – that the specialists cannot comprehend and the managers cannot manage. Which is, furthermore, devouring world resources at an exponential rate." (Edward Abbey) | Yann Arthus Bertrand / Population Speak Out
Greenhouses Grow Greenhouses — As far as the eye can see, greenhouses cover the landscape in Almeria, Spain: “We are slaves in the sense that we depend for our daily survival upon an expand-or-expire agro-industrial empire — a crackpot machine — that the specialists cannot comprehend and the managers cannot manage. Which is, furthermore, devouring world resources at an exponential rate.” (Edward Abbey)
| Yann Arthus Bertrand / Population Speak Out
Trash Wave Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya catches a wave in a remote but garbage-covered bay on Java, Indonesia, the world’s most populated island  "Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans." (Jacques-Yves Cousteau) | Zak Noyle / Population Speak Out
Trash Wave — Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya catches a wave in a remote but garbage-covered bay on Java, Indonesia, the world’s most populated island: “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” (Jacques-Yves Cousteau)
| Zak Noyle / Population Speak Out
Cows and Smoke Ground zero in the war on nature -- cattle graze among the burning Amazon jungle in Brazil  "Throughout history human exploitation of the earth has produced this progression: colonize-destroy-move on." (Garrett Hardin) | Daniel Beltra / Population Speak Out
Cows and Smoke — Ground zero in the war on nature: cattle graze among the burning Amazon jungle in Brazil: “Throughout history human exploitation of the earth has produced this progression: colonize-destroy-move on.” (Garrett Hardin)
| Daniel Beltra / Population Speak Out
Oil Wells Depleting oil fields are yet another symptom of ecological overshoot as seen at the Kern River Oil Field in California "I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress." (Ed Begley, Jr.) | Mark Gamba/Corbis / Population Speak Out
Oil Wells — Depleting oil fields are yet another symptom of ecological overshoot as seen at the Kern River Oil Field in California: “I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress.” (Ed Begley, Jr.)
| Mark Gamba/Corbis / Population Speak Out
Dead Bird On Midway Atoll, far from the centers of world commerce, an albatross, dead from ingesting too much plastic, decays on the beach -- it is a common sight on the remote island. "Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals – the same fate awaits them both; as one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath." (Ecclesiastes 3:19) | Chris Jordan / Population Speak Out
Dead Bird — On Midway Atoll, far from the centers of world commerce, an albatross, dead from ingesting too much plastic, decays on the beach. It is a common sight on the remote island: “Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals – the same fate awaits them both; as one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19)
| Chris Jordan / Population Speak Out
Clear-Cut Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest in Oregon "What an irony it is that these living beings whose shade we sit in, whose fruit we eat, whose limbs we climb, whose roots we water, to whom most of us rarely give a second thought, are so poorly understood. We need to come, as soon as possible, to a profound understanding and appreciation for trees and forests and the vital role they play, for they are among our best allies in the uncertain future that is unfolding." (Jim Robbins) | Daniel Dancer / Population Speak Out
Clear-Cut — Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest in Oregon: “What an irony it is that these living beings whose shade we sit in, whose fruit we eat, whose limbs we climb, whose roots we water, to whom most of us rarely give a second thought, are so poorly understood. We need to come, as soon as possible, to a profound understanding and appreciation for trees and forests and the vital role they play, for they are among our best allies in the uncertain future that is unfolding.” (Jim Robbins)
| Daniel Dancer / Population Speak Out
Hillside Slum Slum-dwelling residents of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, face bleak living conditions in the western hemisphere’s poorest country. "Squatters trade physical safety and public health for a few square meters of land and some security against eviction. They are the pioneer settlers of swamps, floodplains, volcano slopes, unstable hillsides, rubbish mountains, chemical dumps, railroad sidings, and desert fringes... such sites are poverty’s niche in the ecology of the city, and very poor people have little choice but to live with disaster." (Mike Davis) | Google Earth / Population Speak Out
Hillside Slum — Slum-dwelling residents of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, face bleak living conditions in the western hemisphere’s poorest country: “Squatters trade physical safety and public health for a few square meters of land and some security against eviction. They are the pioneer settlers of swamps, floodplains, volcano slopes, unstable hillsides, rubbish mountains, chemical dumps, railroad sidings, and desert fringes… such sites are poverty’s niche in the ecology of the city, and very poor people have little choice but to live with disaster.” (Mike Davis)
| Google Earth / Population Speak Out

+++ You can order Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) from Amazon.




  • Omer

    Indeed. The next 5 generations are going to have to make some difficult decisions.

  • another thought

    Unfortunately in the US we have one of our two major political parties, the Republican party, that denies basic climate science and will not budge on trying to save the environment. This Republican party actually mocks the environmental movement, and is proud to flaunt their anti-environmental actions. In a real sense they block progress for all. I really hope they are defeated in the 2016 elections and defeated soundly.

  • Tascosa

    The climate agreements are deeply flawed and contain no plan to reduce the number of
    polluters, and actually support an increase. The Republicans are
    right to protest. Someone must. The government has redefined n’hood zoning regs, ruined businesses before razing older/short buildings and, with multiple tax incentives (i.e., our money), are
    subsidizing developers (i.e., corporations) to build blocks and blocks of 6- to 12-story, multi-use, Soviet-style apartments.
    Many of these are restricted to artists, homeless, refugees, disabled,
    all of whom receive subsidies for rent, food, health care,
    transportation, interpreters. More green space has been covered in concrete. When
    people say “the government should do this or that…”, it means you and I. Can you afford more? I can’t. This is why our country is in debt. We
    must pay for all this plus the salaries and bennies of all the administrators
    and their clerical staff to keep track. Lots of ideas are out
    there but some should never be implemented.