Surviving Progress Video
Surviving Progress

Sign Up NowWatch the full video - and many others - now with your Gaiam TV subscription!

Surviving Progress (2012)

Only available in United States

Technological advancement, economic development, population increase – are they signs of a thriving society? Or too much of a good thing?

Based on the best-selling book A Short History of Progress, this provocative documentary explores the concept of progress in our modern world, guiding us through a sweeping but detailed survey of the major "progress traps" facing our civilization in the arenas of technology, economics, consumption, and the environment.

Featuring powerful arguments from such visionaries as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Hawking, Craig Venter, Robert Wright, Michael Hudson, and Ronald Wright, this enlightening and visually spectacular film invites us to contemplate the progress traps that destroyed past civilizations and that lie treacherously embedded in our own.

Leading critics of Wall Street, cognitive psychologists, and ecologists lay bare the consequences of progress-as-usual as the film travels around the world – from a burgeoning China to the disappearing rainforests of Brazil to a chimp research lab in New Iberia, Louisiana – to construct a shocking overview of the way our global economic system is eating away at our planet's resources and shackling entire populations with poverty.

Providing an honest look at the risks and pitfalls of running 21st Century "software" (our accumulated knowledge) on 50,000-year-old "hardware" (our primate brains), Surviving Progress offers a challenge: to prove making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead end.

Margaret Atwood, Colin Beavan, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, Michael Hudson, Simon Johnson, Victor Zhikai Gao, Mark Levine, Gary Marcus, Kambale Musavuli, Daniel Povinelli, Marina Silva, Vaclav Smil, David Suzuki, Robert Wright, Jim Thomas
Mathieu Roy, Harold Crooks
English, polyglot with English subtitles

People who watched this also watched

Join the Conversation

Login or sign upsign up to add a comment

MiriamGaiamTV, posted on September 4, 2016

Living with less, consuming less, striving for simplicity.....planting a tree....perhaps we can start there. Why not? It is dangerous to think that regardless of what we do, life will provide. It is certainly not providing in certain places where hunger rules, extreme poverty is the norm, and there isn't such a thing as good health because not even a basic resource, such as water is safe to drink. At least for now, we only have one house to live in, and we are destroying it for the sake of money. I wonder whether we have actually made progress just because we are able to move around faster in cars and planes that use the very fuel that is destroying the rainforest and polluting our air.

Consuming less, striving for simplicity, planting a tree...perhaps I can start there...

Thank you Gaia for always bringing the real issues to our awareness.


rhys.griffith, posted on September 4, 2016

These stories really annoy me because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

freepam, posted on July 24, 2015

You are preaching to the choir here ;-) I really thought this was so well done and inoffensively offering a true vision that no-one would take exception to it. Until I saw the comment by Slash 7.
Empty positivity hasn't worked. It clashes with reality.
Life will provide, yes, but humans will be gone and life will provide for the next experiment.

slash_7, posted on July 18, 2015

IN order to beleive what is being said in this move, one must beleive in NO GOD. And when I say God I mean beliving in the glass always being half empty. The beleif that the glass is aways half full is not only more possitive for the oneself but also more positive for the world and right now we need all the possitive feeling we can give and get. That old belief in scarcity is very dangerous to all of us , it always was and is especially dangerous to us now. Life will provide regardless.

uragreat12, posted on December 27, 2013

Yes, it's a critical conversation and the global brain must, and will come up with solutions

More From Gaia

Password is case sensitive.