978-0-930031-55-8 / 9780930031558

Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future


Publisher:Chelsea Green Pub Co



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About the book:

Beyond the Limits Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future is the path-breaking sequel to The Limits to Growth, the international best-seller which sold 9 million copies in 29 languages when it was published 20 years ago. At that time the authors concluded that if the present trends of growth continued unchanged, the limits to physical growth on the planet would be reached in the next 100 years. Now, in Beyond the Limits, the authors show that the world has already overshot some of its limits, and if present trends remain unchanged, we face the virtually certain prospect of a global economic collapse in the next century. That collapse is far from inevitable, however. Now three of the original authors of The Limits to Growth, Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, and Jorgen Randers have written Beyond the Limits to help us confront the possibility of global collapse in order to envision the possibility of a sustainable future. They use World3, their system dynamics computer model, as a unique tool to see far into the next century. And by varying the basic global policy assumptions that go into the model, they are able to show a range of outcomes, from collapse to sustainability. Beyond the Limits comes to the following key conclusions. Human use of essential resources and generation of pollutants has surpassed sustainable rates. Unless there are significant reductions in material and energy flows, the world faces an uncontrolled decline in per capita food output, energy use, and industrial production. In order to avoid this decline, growth in material consumption and population must be eased down at the same time as there is a rapid and drastic increase in the efficiencyof materials and energy use. A sustainable society is technically and economically feasible. The transition to a sustainable society must be made by carefully balancing our long and short-term goals and emphasizing equity and quality of life. It will require honesty, compassion,

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