In 1972, a book changed the world.
The Club of Rome commissioned a report that shifted how we see what humans are doing to the planet. Looking back five decades later, what happened next, what did we do and not do, what did we learn, and what happens now?
In The Limits to Growth, a team from MIT studied the way humans were using the resources of the earth. Using sophisticated computer modelling, the researchers developed scenarios to map out possible paths for humanity, the global economy and the impact on the planet.
Were their models right?
What did the rest of the world do about it?
Now, in 2022, the Club of Rome have brought two of the original authors from the 1972 book, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers, along with an array of other world-renowned thinkers, scientists, analysts and economists from across the globe to answer these questions and grapple with the most acute issue of our time.
In the first section, “Echoes of a Great Book”, Ugo Bardi sets the scene with an in-depth examination of the original report and the effect it has had on how we might think about what humanity is doing to the world.
Two of the original authors of the 1972 report, Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows, then ask what the first book actually said and answer the most common questions that people ask about the book and progress since. Further explorations of the impact and consequences of the ground-breaking original book follow.
Next, in the “Still the Economy, But What Kind?” section, the contributors examine the economic ideas that have informed and arisen from The Limits to Growth in the following decades and critique those assumptions and notions. They ask what must change if we are to stay within the limits set by nature.
In the “New Lenses for a Different Future” section, thinkers from continents and cultures across the globe expand on their unique experiences of acting in and observing a world that may use all its resources before we wake up and act.
The “Did We Learn? Will We?” section ponders where we go from here. Has humanity taken in the lessons of The Limits to Growth? What have we learned in the meantime? And, most importantly, what can we do about it now?
Limits and Beyond: 50 years on from The Limits to Growth, what did we learn and what’s next? reaches back half a century to when the original report shook the world into realising that we live in a finite world, brings it sharply up to date, and looks clear-eyed into the future.
Limits and Beyond is the book that will shape the conversation about our place on the earth for the next 50 years and beyond.
Echoes of a Great Book
Ugo Bardi – The story of an idea
Jorgen Randers – What did The Limits to Growth really say?
Dennis Meadows – Questions about The Limits to Growth
Sviastolav Zabelin – Crisis as a transition. What was, what will be.
Ernst von Weizsacker – 50 years after The Limits to Growth
Gianfranco Bologna – From limits to growth to planetary boundaries
Still the Economy, But What Kind?
Wouter van Dieren – How the Club of Rome became a world agenda
Hunter Lovins – Growth of what?
Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien – Moving beyond The Limits to Growth: Solidarity capitalism
Julia Kim – Bhutan and beyond: The emergence of wellbeing economies
New Lenses for a Different Future
Sirkka Heinonen – The Limits to Growth paves the way from futures shock to futures resilience
Yury Sayamov – The historic Limits to Growth report: 1972 and the present world
Sandrine Dixson-Decleve – Today’s human predicament: The convergence of tipping points
Mamphela Ramphele – Changes 50 years after Limits to Growth
Petra Kunkel – The Limits To Growth rebooted: From patriarchal ignorance to collective stewardship of vital futures – A feminist perspective
Chandran Nair – The Limits to Growth in the Asian century
Yi-Heng Cheng – Prosperity in resilience
Did We Learn? Will We?
Gaya Herrington – I did a data check on World3. Here’s what I found.
Chuck Pezheski – How do we grow socially?
Nora Bateson – What is relevance in a changing world?
Carlos Alvarez Pereira – Learning what we already know
Commissioned as a report to the Club of Rome. Published by Exapt Press, May 2022.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Ugo Bardi teaches physical chemistry at the University of Florence, in Italy. He is interested in resource depletion, system dynamics modeling, climate science, and renewable energy. He is member of the scientific committee of ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil) and regular contributor of The Oil Drum and Resilience. His blog in English is called The Seneca Effect. His most recent book in English is Extracted: How the Quest for Global Mining Wealth is Plundering the Planet (Chelsea Green, 2014). He is also the author of The Limits to Growth Revisited (Springer 2011).
Carlos Alvarez Pereira is a senior professional combining more than 30 years of experience in research and innovation, entrepreneurship, and business management, with a passion for complexity thinking and transdisciplinarity. He is keen on exploring the cultural transformation required to cross the threshold towards equitable human wellbeing within a healthy biosphere. He is a member, and currently Vice-President, of the Club of Rome, a member of the Advisory Board of the International Bateson Institute (IBI), a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), and a member of the Spanish Fulbright Alumni Association, of which he has been Vice-President during 8 years. With an MSc in Aerospace Engineering, he has been a lecturer and researcher in Applied Mathematics at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). He founded and chaired for 14 years the Innaxis Foundation & Research Institute, specialized in the modelling of complex systems and big data applications. He has been the founder and top-level executive during more than 25 years of several consulting companies in Spain, Switzerland, France and Germany in the domains of digital technologies, systems integration and strategic advice.