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Changing our mindsets of acquisition, status, greed, inequity, and procrastination

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Stable Planet Alliance advisory board member J

oseph Merz and four other team members coauthored this peer-reviewed paper as a solutionary 'warning,' published in the open-access UK journal Science Progress on 20 September 2023 and copublished here under a Creative Common License to Sage Publishers. Read the full journal article here.


At Stable Planet Alliance, we know that virtually all of the existential crises facing humanity - whether primarily social, like unemployment, housing or substance abuse, or environmental, like climate change, biodiversity loss or plastics pollution - all arise from root causes. All these things are merely symptoms of ecological overshoot.

But what causes overshoot itself? Yes, it's certainly about our numbers and our appetites - population and consumption. But it's also about our human behaviours that drive them - what we call the 'behavioural crisis' in this paper published in Science Progress this week.

Humanity still sits with evolutionary mindsets that for hundreds of thousands of years were adaptive. But now, faced with 8 billion of

us on a crowded and degraded planet, these same mindsets - exploited and manipulated by the global marketing and media machine - are demonstrably maladaptive, even suicidal. So what can we do to shift our mindsets on a grand scale, and at speed, to divert humanity from the edge of the abyss?

Our paper - coauthored by four marketing executives and creative thinkers at the heart of the industry, including the vice chairman of Ogilvy Global, Rory Sutherland - shows how the same tools that created the problem can likely be used to reverse the problem. Follow the work of the Overshoot Behaviour Lab for more in the next months!


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