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 "Confirming many of the trends outlined in The Limits to Growth 

  three decades ago, we are now 20 percent above the Earth's carrying

  capacity, and on a collision course with unsupportable population 

  growth, biodiversity loss, runaway climate change and global food

  and water shortages. With even the Pentagon warning that global

  warming could pose more of a threat than terrorism, it's time we

  paid serious attention to the sustainable prescriptions outlined in -

  Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Global Update." — Jim Motavalli

 

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Last Call examines the predictions and impact of one of the

most important and controversial environmental books of all time -

The Limits to Growth, published four decades ago.

In 1972, the publication of the book shook the world, selling 30 million copies in 30

languages, and marked a turning point in thinking about the environment. Prepared for

the Club of Rome, the book was based on the work of a team of young scientists from

MIT who created the first computer model to analyze the interaction over time of

exponential growth with finite natural resources.

Their primary message was that the human footprint, if unchecked, would grow beyond

the carrying capacity of the planet on a sustainable basis. They concluded that humanity

must adapt to the planet’s limits or risk overshoot, which could result in the collapse of

global support systems and human decline. Their conclusions stimulated broad interest

and significant debate, but not much action on their scenario for avoiding overshoot.

 

 

Limits to Growth is a study about the future of our planet.

 

On behalf of the Club of Rome - Donnella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers

and their team worked on systems analysis at Jay W. Forrester’s institute at MIT.

They created a computing model which took into account the relations between various

global developments and produced computer simulations for alternative scenarios.

Part of the modelling were different amounts of possibly available resources, different

levels of agricultural productivity, birth control or environmental protection.  

 

Most scenarios resulted in an ongoing growth of population and of the economy until

to a turning point around 2030. Only drastic measures for environmental protection

proved to be suitable to change this systems behaviour, and only under these

circumstances, scenarios could be calculated in which both world population and

wealth could remain at a constant level.

 

However, so far the necessary political measures were not taken.

 

 

 

The necessity of taking the industrial world to its next stage of evolution

is not a disasterit is an amazing opportunity.  How to seize the

opportunity, how to bring into being a world that is not only sustainable,

functional, and equitable but also deeply desirable is a question of

leadership and ethics and vision and courage, properties not of

computer models but of the human heart and soul

 

 

 

 

 

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Views: 112

Comment by Michael Grove on June 16, 2013 at 9:40

In 1972, the now-classic book Limits to Growth explored the consequences for Earth’s

ecosystems of exponential growth in population, industrialization, pollution, food production,

and resource depletion. That book, which still stands as the best-selling environmental title

ever published, reported on the first attempts to use computers to model the likely interactions

between trends in resources, consumption, and population. It summarized the first major

scientific study to question the assumption that economic growth can and will continue more

or less uninterrupted into the foreseeable future - Richard Heinberg / Post Carbon Institute 

Comment by Michael Grove on June 16, 2013 at 9:59

As Richard Heinberg has said -

Limits to Growth foresaw this inflection point nearly forty years ago. But the world failed to heed

the warning; as a result, adaptation now will be much more difficult than would have been the case

if growth had been proactively curtailed decades ago. Global leaders now face the need to accomplish

four enormous tasks simultaneously:

1. Rapidly reduce dependence on fossil fuels. 

2. Adapt to the end of economic growth.  

3. Design and provide a sustainable way of life for 7 billion people.

4. Deal with the environmental consequences of the past 100 years of fossil-fueled growth.  

Each of these four tasks represents an enormous challenge whose difficulty is multiplied by the

simultaneous need to address the other three. The convergence of so many civilization-threatening

planetary crises is unique in our history as a species.

 

 

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