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Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  636 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
This disc is intended for serious students of "Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update." It permits users to reproduce and examine the details of the ten scenarios published in the book. The CD can be run on most Macintosh and PC operating systems. With it you will be able to: Reproduce the three graphs for each of the scenarios as they appear in the book.Graph the eleven ind ...more
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Published December 1st 2004 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,574)
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Jan-Maat
This is the book that poses the difficult question of if intelligent life exists on earth. It is an update of the original Limits to Growth and Beyond the Limits with a couple fewer scenarios. The scenarios all model the consequences of the pursuit of growth measured in terms of industrial output, food, services

The authors describe the assumptions that go into their computer model and observe that the majority of resulting scenarios result in overshoot and collapse and they discuss a couple of p
...more
E
Mar 08, 2010 E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Serious critique of contemporary technological society

This book is neither easy nor pleasant reading. However, it is not the purely pessimistic voice of doom or the rabid environmentalist tract that many reviews described when the first edition came out 30 years ago. Rather, it is a sort of cross between a primer on budgeting and the warning a doctor might give to an overweight smoker. A good budget rests on a few simple assumptions: Resources are limited; you must plan for the future; and if yo
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Tuck
oh fuck. these folks were spot on when they wrote in 1972 that our consumption and pollution would catch up with the earth's ability to absorb it without drastic repercussions. while the authors didn't take into account class, politics, capitalism, or violence (they said it was too variable to lump in gross generalizations into their systems analysis so left those out, and made it "a-political", but this really needs to be added in, say for example you are super rich, have a house in tahoe, and ...more
Jacob
May 20, 2010 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm kind of obsessed with the 21st century and what lies in store for humanity in the next 100 years or so. I've read numerous books that predict the overshoot of the Earth's carrying capacity, but this is the first book that looks at the problem with statistical systems approach. The mathematics and profound analysis are what make The Limits to Growth stand out from the crowd. The authors explain (within the confines of their statistical model) exactly what needs to change in order to prevent a ...more
Héctor
"Reading the 30th-year update reminds me of why the systems approach to thinking about our future is not only valuable, but indispensable. Thirty years ago, it was easy for the critics to dismiss the limits to growth. But in today's world, with its collapsing fisheries, shrinking forests, falling water tables, dying coral reefs, expanding deserts, eroding soils, rising temperatures, and disappearing species, it is not so easy to do so. We are all indebted to the Limits team for reminding us agai ...more
Nick Klagge
Aug 08, 2013 Nick Klagge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
A very good, if sobering, book.

The original of this book was written in 1972; this is an edition that the authors updated in 2002, 30 years after the original. The book is a discussion of physical limits associated with the expansion of the human population and economy: arable land, potable water, nonrenewable resources, etc. The authors are systems researchers and they make use of a computer model that describes positive and negative feedback loops for a wide variety of things, including demogr
...more
Darlene
Dec 11, 2010 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good effort at modeling the economic/environmental interactions of the world and a call to action to help us avoid collapse in the next hundred years or so. We need to put capital into technologies that reduce pollution, increase food/hectare of land, reduce erosion, use resources efficiently etc. This is necessary but not sufficient. We need to reduce the material throughputs of the system by consuming less (lowering our material standard of living in the industrialised countries and raising ...more
Scott Goddard
Dec 28, 2014 Scott Goddard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only recently have I decided to explore the divergent and dissonance-filled topic of climate change. It is obviously something that has, is, and will continue to affect the human race, an implication that ought to lionise it in a critical way. Indeed Meadows et al. convincingly show how, under a set of prescriptive parameters, what kind of scenarios could eventually play out on the planet. Some are absurd, as they rightly concede, whilst others are aligned more closely to reality. Prior to these ...more
Steve Bedford
Jun 25, 2012 Steve Bedford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a lot of thoughts about this book. I was worried that it would be a doom and gloom type affair, but it turns out that it was quite inspiring. Sure, it was hard to read in an "Oh God, we're screwed because nobody is going to listen" kind of way, but I think the culture of the US is slowly (maybe too slowly) shifting toward realizing that we need to be more sustainable, which is slightly encouraging.
Danni
Sep 06, 2014 Danni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a marvelous book that everyone should read!

Limits to Growth: the 30 Year Update takes a comprehensive look at the original study done by the authors in 1972 and has updated the models to reflect the changes that have occurred since then. Even someone with only a basic high school education will be able to enjoy and understand the topics presented in the work. The authors carefully describe what factors influenced the World3 model. They also take time to explain in depth what the model ca
...more
Meg Perry
Jul 08, 2015 Meg Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone with children or grandchildren should read this book, a thirty year update to the original Limits to Growth, which suggested that the global population was using the planet's resources far faster than they could be replaced. Thirty years ago their first book was largely ignored, and in this edition, published in 2004, they found the situation far more dire. There is plenty of proof to back up their statements, but the science is presented in a very readable manner. Curious about what th ...more
Arun Singh
This is an important book for its message. It may seem a bit outdated now, given how the overshoots in land and water use, population, and pollution, that it points to, have been covered variously by the rapid evolution of media and internet, at least in the previous decade. But the message of the book, and of several groups and societies across the world, about the need to strongly reconsider our way of growth still seems to continue falling on deaf ears. 20 years of COP, more or less wasted in ...more
Hong
Feb 12, 2016 Hong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Q: Could you summarize this book?
A: Several scientists built a computer model to forecast the destiny of humanity in 21st century and predict a decline in human welfare (after some decades). This type of overshoot behavior is well-known in any systems that exhibits (i) exponential growth (e.g., ever-increasing rate of resources extraction), (ii) delay mechanism of some sort (e.g., time lag between CFC production and ozone depletion) and (iii) physical limit (earth is finite in size). To avoid
...more
Ryan
Jan 31, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
A classic in environmental literature, the tremendous debate and controversy generated when it was first published back in 1972 makes this one of the most famous publications the world has ever seen. For the first time it set a time, albeit a broad range in which our global civilization could collapse as we overshoot the Earth's limits. Basically these can be classified as source limits and sink limits, the former being the natural resources at hand from fossil fuels to raw materials and land, w ...more
Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership
One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3,000 senior leaders from around the world. To find out more, click here.

As a commissioned report to the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth uses a computer simulation model developed at MIT to investigate five major trends of lgobal concern: accelerating industrialisation, rapid population growth, widespread malnutrition, depletion of non-renewable resources, and a deteriorating environm
...more
Luke
Mar 25, 2011 Luke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment
A reasoned and reasonable heartfelt plea for the world to accept the possibility and implications of "overshoot" of the capacity of a finite world. They convincingly argue that if there are physical limits (to resources, sources, and sinks), and delays in society's response to signals of approaching these limits (due to incomplete information, capital turnover, intentional misdirection) then overshoot follows. More importantly, if those limits are "erodable" - if exceeding the limit reduces the ...more
Fenix Rose
Filled with graphs and well written making it easy to read and understand yet full of content.
We dont hear much talk about exponential increases. How even when %declines the affects can still rise high fast because it is % of a larger base. Or talk about positive and negative feedback loops and the interconnectedness of different things.
This book talks about all that. Gives an overview, since exacts can not really be known or measured accurately.
What we can economy really isnt economical, it is
...more
Peter
Jun 28, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! To be able to come back thirty years later and revisit your ground-breaking original study! Thats what Meadows et al have done here. (Donella died in 2001 and the book was finished after her death, as a tribute to her) They analyze some of the data of the past three decades. It is not hopeless, but the chances of failure are larger than the chances of success.
Their World3 model includes many internal feedback loops that generate the results, e.g. increased resource utilization results in i
...more
Ian
Aug 12, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: capitalism, ecology
The book certainly provides an excellent overview of the potential limits, the consequences for exceeding them, and some of the steps that must be taken to avoid collapse. However, I feel that, while the authors discuss the need for changes in economic and political systems, they fail to grasp and communicate the scale of those changes. To permanently replace greed and short shortsightedness with fairness, equality, and sustainability requires creating a system which doesn't reward or rely on pe ...more
Metageek
This is a renewed edition of the classic book "The Limits of Growth" written by members of the Club of Rome. The original version of this book was one of the main inspirations of the whole ecology movement. The book essentially proposes that unlimited growth, such as many economists advocate, is not possible in a planet that has limited resources (even if large). The original book is also credited to have resulted in the 1973 oil crisis by alerting the OPEC countries that they controlled a limit ...more
Greening USiena
L'aggiornamento, pubblicato nel 2006, del fondamentale 'Rapporto sui Limiti dello Sviluppo' risalente al 1972 rappresenta uno dei contributi più importanti forniti dalla comunità scientifica al dibattito sulla possibilità di un pianeta finito di sostenere una crescita infinita. In un periodo in cui la crisi economica sembra non aver scalfito di un centimetro la fiducia di politici ed economisti nello sviluppo galoppante come antidoto alla crisi stessa, si tratta di una lettura illuminante e più ...more
Fred Beshears
Great book.

Donella and Dennis Meadows were (and are) unfairly criticized by pro-growth economists for not factoring in an exponential growth rate for technology. They were not opposed to techno-fixes per se. But, unlike the pro-growthers, I guess they just didn't want to assume that game changing technology would necessarily arrive in a timely fashion.

I'm a fan of the Meadows and a big fan of Kenneth Boulding. If you're planning to read Limits, you should first check out Boulding's 1965 paper:
...more
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
For the most part, you're just better off reading the news. This book came out in 2004 and a lot has already changed with respect to the global environment. On the one hand, the fears about GMOs aired by the authors have for the most part fallen flat. On the other hand, unforeseen dangers to the environment have emerged, like the prospect of vastly increased greenhouse gas emissions from a glut of cheap energy brought on by exploiting the methane hydrates of the world's oceans. There are interes ...more
Brian
Jul 21, 2008 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertainment-0 Stars
Education- 1 Star
Readability- 1 star
Innovation- 0 Stars
Inspiration- 1 Stars


A pretty good look at why we should be concerned about the enviornment. These were some of the original folks to bring up the issue back in the 70's. I think they do a good job laying out what could happen. They basically have 3 scenarios disaster, limp a long without complete breakdown, and fix things so they get better.

Given how things are currently treding we look headed for the disaster case. The
...more
Enrico
Nov 24, 2010 Enrico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: decrescita
Il testo fondamentale, nel suo ultimo aggiornamento, per comprendere le dinamiche di quel sistema enormemente complesso che è l'antroposfera.
Con modelli matematici di formulazione complicata, ma qui esposti in modo molto semplice e chiaro, vengono mostrati i rischi di collasso della società globale a causa dei limiti strutturali (risorse, inquinamento) generalmente ignorati dalla religione economica: e si evidenzia, con una serie di scenari calibrati, come il nostro margine di azione per un futu
...more
Tomek Yaneesh
Jan 16, 2015 Tomek Yaneesh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill... and you can continue reading this book. Based on hard data and computer modelling the authors explore the possible future of our planet and the mankind. Most of scenarios are alarming unless actions are taken. Actions which are not in line with the overwhelming voice of the media, politicians and the majority of our societies calling for more growth and goods gatheri
...more
Pier-andré Doyon
On attend incessamment la mise à jour de ce rapport très complet(la présente version date de 2002 et les auteurs avaient dans l'idée de le rééditer à chaque dix ans pour l'adapter aux nouvelles données) qui a posé les bases de la réflexion du le développement soutenable. Ni alarmistes, ni laxistes, les trois auteurs soumettent une série de données à leur ordinateur pour calculer les scénarios possibles de la croissance économique sur nos écosystèmes et notre qualité de vie. Ce n'est pas une préd ...more
Anthony
Jan 16, 2008 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to the World3 model that the Meadows, Meadows, and Randers team used to forecast the state of the world for the next 100 years. Based on the STELLA programming language, the models used in this 30-year anniversary edition seek to incorporate additional knowledge and accuracy gained over the past several decades to fine-tune the expected outcomes of resource availability, industrial output per capita, average lifespan, human ecological footprint, etc. The future is not promisi ...more
Nrtashi
Aug 01, 2014 Nrtashi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
The first 6 chapters were quite interesting and informative. The last 2...were wishful thinking and your regular hippie bullshit about love and community. You can skip them and you won't lose anything at all.
Aaron
Nov 19, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will change the way you think about the world. It is the product of the first computer models that were capable of simulating population growth, industrial output, pollution, etc. While some chapters can be skipped and are quite dry, each contains nuggets that can alter your view of how we collectively occupy the planet. The authors demonstrate that without moving towards a sustainable method of using the Earth's resources, we are headed toward a crash in which industry, commerce and p ...more
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Donella H. "Dana" Meadows was a pioneering American environmental scientist, teacher, and writer. She was educated in science, receiving a B.A. in chemistry from Carleton College in 1963, and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard in 1968. After a year-long trip with her husband, Dennis Meadows, from England to Sri Lanka and back, she became, along with him, a research fellow at MIT, as a member of a ...more
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“People don't need enormous cars; they need admiration and respect. They don't need a constant stream of new clothes; they need to feel that others consider them to be attractive, and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don't need electronic entertainment; they need something interesting to occupy their minds and emotions. And so forth. Trying to fill real but nonmaterial needs-for identity, community, self-esteem, challenge, love, joy-with material things is to set up an unquenchable appetite for false solutions to never-satisfied longings. A society that allows itself to admit and articulate its nonmaterial human needs, and to find nonmaterial ways to satisfy them, world require much lower material and energy throughputs and would provide much higher levels of human fulfillment.” 18 likes
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