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Growthbusters: a groundbreaking film challenging society's dearly-held goal of everlasting economic, urban and population growth. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on August 7, 2011.

Growthbusters: a groundbreaking film challenging society's dearly-held goal of everlasting economic, urban and population growth.

About this project

We live in a culture hooked on growth.
Is that our final answer?

FLASH: We made it! Thanks to everyone who pitched in. We could still use more, if you're just discovering us. At this funding level there are still some compromises we'd rather not make. Rest assured your investment here will be put to very good use. But congratulations are in order for everyone around the world who has teamed up to bring this important message to light.

* If you're new to the idea of limits to growth, please take 5 minutes to read one of these pieces of critical background information:Beyond the Limits to Growth
Post Carbon Institute Manifesto

What if some of our core beliefs about how the world works turn out to be myths?

This documentary flips our world upside down to see what makes it tick, as  it explores the most critical question of our time:

How do we become a sustainable civilization?

Water shortages, hunger, peak oil, species extinction, and climate disruption are all symptoms of a deeper problem – addiction to unending growth in a world that has limits. 

Yet our solution to these and other problems of the day always seems to be more growth. Rich countries try to restore economic growth. The same elixir is expected to bring poor nations out of poverty (despite a dismal track record). Cities compete for population growth in a vicious cycle to increase tax revenue to pay for the costs of the last round of growth.

Distinguished MIT/Dartmouth environmental scientist Donella Meadows captured the essence of this dilemma when she wrote:

"The first commandment of economics is: Grow. Grow forever. Companies get bigger. National economies need to swell by a certain percent each year. People should want more, make more, earn more, spend more - ever more.

The first commandment of the Earth is: enough. Just so much and no more....The planet does not get bigger, it gets better. It's creatures learn, mature, diversify, evolve, create amazing beauty and novelty and complexity, but live within absolute limits."

The film we've been waiting for...

GrowthBusters examines the cultural barriers that prevent us from reacting rationally to the evidence we have reached the limits to growth. Current levels of population and consumption are unsustainable.

It asks why the population conversations are so difficult to have. Why it’s more important to our society to have economic growth than clean air. Why communities seek and subsidize growth even when it destroys quality of life and increases taxes.

It's time to embrace the end of the era of growth...

Our growth-centric system is broken. It’s not providing the happiness or the prosperity we seek. But that’s good news; it means a shift to a sustainable model will be good for us. If we can break the chains that enslave us to a broken system with a voracious, destructive appetite, we can be much happier and enjoy real prosperity!

You can view a trailer for the film below, or at

The film is nearly finished & will premiere this October

For five years filmmaker Dave Gardner has been simplifying his lifestyle but maxing out credit cards to get this film made. Support from around the world has built while Dave was researching and filming the GrowthBusters movie.

Hundreds of people have volunteered to help get the film produced. Cinematographers in Delhi, Addis Ababa, Sydney, Bangkok and London have stepped up and filmed for us. Volunteers from New Zealand to Canada have transcribed over 100 interviews. Thousands of supporters have already pitched in over $100,000 to get us this far. Shooting is nearly 100% complete, but most of the editing and other post-production processes lie ahead. And that's why we need you...

What the Money is For:

Your contribution will help us pay for:

  • Graphics & Effects
  • Color Grading of the Film
  • Music Score
  • Sound Design & Mix
  • Acquisition & Licensing of Historical Film Clips
  • Professional Publicist to Book Interviews with Major Media
  • Fesitval Entry Fees & Expenses
  • First Run of DVDs & BluRay Discs

In this final home stretch of editing, releasing and promoting the film, $20,000 is the minimum amount we need to cover the costs. We hope to exceed this goal, so we can employ more original music, better graphics, additional historically significant film clips and the best professional help publicizing the film.

Your Contribution May be Tax-Deductible

If you are a U.S. taxpayer your contribution to this project may be tax deductible, as this is a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit education project. Your deduction must be reduced by the value of any reward you elect to receive. If you give $500 or more and would like a donation receipt, let us know and we'll be happy to provide that, along with an indication of the reward value.

Help GrowthBusters Premiere this October, When World Population will Surpass 7 Billion

Please help us get this critical wake-up call out to the world in October - so it can spark a firestorm of global dialogue about living within our planetary means.

How Will the Film be Distributed?

Our global grass roots network continues to build, waiting to spring into action. This summer supporters are beginning to plan national premieres in their countries, organize community and organizational exhibitions, and make plans for house party screenings - all to begin immediately after our early October world premiere in Washington DC. Visit our screenings page if you'd like to organize an event, large or small.

More Detail on the Documentary 

This 90-minute film chronicles the growthbusting misadventures of the filmmaker, Dave Gardner, as he challenges the "Goliath" of growth profiteers and a growth-addicted system. Gardner takes on City Hall, Wall Street and even the Pope, as he questions society's worship of growth everlasting.

The messaging of the film focuses on recognizing the forces that keep us addicted: mythology, propaganda and undue influence of the growth pushers, and the psychosocial mechanisms preventing us from appropriately evaluating the evidence we have hit limits to growth.

"The cult of endless growth has kept us from seeing clearly the choices in front of us. It's time we paid attention to some alternatives." 
                                            - Bill McKibben, co-founder of

We'll hear from leading thinkers of our time - scientists, sociologists, economists - to help us separate fact from superstition.

All of this means tackling a dark subject with unusual honesty, but also with a healthy dose of Dave's wry humor as he tackles sacred cows and breaks down taboos.

GrowthBusters filmmaker Dave Gardner hands out Endangered Species Condoms

Find out more about the film, see the trailer, and join our email list at

Join our email list

Follow us on facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Read the Filmmaker's Blog

Get Involved/Volunteer

Organize a Screening

Check out music from the film


Interview with GrowthBusters director Dave Gardner on Peak MomentTV

This film is a 501(c)3 non-profit project possible only with the help of enlightened supporters like you.

A huge thanks in advance for believing in our project, supporting it with your contributions, and helping us move a few steps closer to a saner, more sustainable world!

           Dave Gardner and the small, but dedicated team at GrowthBusters


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    7 backers

    A genuine thank you for your show of support. Plus get our backers-only updates!

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    30 backers

    Our sincere thanks. You rock! You are making this project happen & helping spark a crucial global dialogue! Digital download of film as soon as it is available, plus VIP updates.

  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    11 backers

    The above plus a Growthbusters bumper sticker to lead drivers behind you in a sustainable direction.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    30 backers

    Digital download of film, plus oversized GrowthBusters postcard suitable for framing and hanging in your guest bath - or sending to your favorite elected official, plus VIP updates & credit listing on website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    11 backers

    Production Assistant - Digital download of film, awesome GrowthBusters movie poster signed by the director + “backstage pass” password protected access to the film’s interview transcripts, rough cut footage & other goodies. Honorary Production Assistant credit on film website + VIP updates.

  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    20 backers

    Grip - The above + signed pre-release copy of DVD as soon as it is available this fall.
    Honorary Grip credit in the film and on the website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    15 backers

    Key Grip - The above + Growthbusters "Film Crew" t-shirt or Blu-Ray of film.
    Honorary Key Grip credit in the film and on the website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    5 backers

    Cinematographer - The above + Growthbusters soundtrack CD (featuring Pete Seeger), a set of "talking-point" postcards to help you spread the world about de-growth & real sustainability, and a one-on-one phone or Skype chat with the director. Honorary Cinematographer credit in the film/website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    Editor - The above + VIP status at our World Premiere in Washington DC.
    Honorary Editor credit in the film/website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    1 backer

    Director - The above + join a monthly Skype Advisory Roundtable with the filmmakers as we finish this film and start the next one. Help us determine the topic of the next film in the series. Also, access to an online sneak preview of the film before its release. Honorary Director credit in the film/website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers

    Producer - The above + a Q&A Skype session with the director following your own house party screening of the film, or a 5 pack of DVDs to distribute to friends, family or elected officials. Honorary Producer credit in the film and website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer

    Executive Producer - The above + a 10 pack of DVDs to distribute to friends and colleagues or to harass your elected representatives. Honorary Executive Producer credit in the film/website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers

    Studio Executive - The above + you'll be introduced to the crowd and honored at the world premiere after-party, and the filmmaker will attend your screening or house party, (we'll cover travel costs in the U.S.). Honorary Studio Executive Credit in the film/website. 
And a big bear hug from Dave!

Funding period

- (60 days)