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

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Twenty years after their influential book, The Limits to Growth, was published to worldwide acclaim, the authors revise several scenarios of growth, concluding that the global industrial system has already overshot some of the Earth's vital ecological limits.

320 pages, paper

First published January 1, 1992

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About the author

Donella H. Meadows

22 books314 followers
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 team in the department created by Jay Forrester, the inventor of system dynamics as well as the principle of magnetic data storage for computers. She taught at Dartmouth College for 29 years, beginning in 1972.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
113 reviews275 followers
December 30, 2016
I'm not sure any educated person can go a day longer without understanding the Limits of Growth thesis, and how we have to embrace that to get past neo-Liberalism. This later rendition has the argument and also recommendations (many still applicable today).
Profile Image for Tay.
122 reviews11 followers
August 7, 2013
A scientific book for the general public which proposes a sustainable world. They explain a computer model they built back in the 1970s, which they then updated and ran again in the 90s. The results most certainly illustrate that our current world system is headed for an overshoot (using too many resources for too many reasons without enough waste receptacles without noticing the signs saying "TOO MUCH!") and collapse (because we don't act in time to save ourselves).

Very clear book, poetically written at times. Takes us through possible scenarios by asking "what if...?" questions and applying them to the model and explaining the results. Basically - we need to stop having more than replacement children, settle with sufficient material consumption, invest in resource efficiency and agricultural technology to avoid collapse, provide for all the people, and maintain a decent standard of living. ("Basically.")

In the last section, researchers remove their researcher hats and speak inspiringly as humans about visioning, learning, truth-telling, and loving - motivating us to change our material needs to non-material opportunities. Beautiful and smart.
Profile Image for Kawai.
Author 5 books598 followers
April 1, 2021
The model that underlies much of the analysis that carries this book is dated, and therefore so are some of the conclusions. Overall, though, the narrative as a whole is still incredibly valuable, especially when considering the complicated interactions of multiple interconnected systems that underlie global human society. I found the final chapter to be well worth the price of admission.
Profile Image for Edie.
82 reviews27 followers
January 5, 2013
I'm not good at skimming or reading just part of a book. Though that would have been a good thing to do here. It's a sobering yet technical look at how our planet is racing towards (or past) its natural limits, and how we might mitigate the trouble ahead and build a more sustainable society. The action it calls for is profound and fundamental, but that's what I was reading it for. I quite like the final chapters on the vision for the future, as it falls in line well with my own thinking. I'm looking for inspiration along these lines to plan my own future, and would welcome other reading suggestions!
Profile Image for Julian Schlaen.
121 reviews4 followers
November 13, 2017
Si bien se trata de un libro originalmente escrito en los 70's y actualizado a principios de los 90's, resulta muy interesante el enfoque sistémico desde donde analizan la cuestión de equilibrio entre desarrollo, crecimiento y medio ambiente. Un enfoque que deja de lado en gran parte cuestiones subjetivas, y se centra la interrelación entre distintas variables como población, alimentos, servicios y otras variables cuantificables. Sería muy interesante ver algún análisis similar, actualizado con los nuevos avances tecnológicos y los datos ambientales más recientes.
Vale la pena leer este libro.
Profile Image for Karen.
30 reviews
Currently reading
October 16, 2010
Another book that relates to my Environmental Economics class.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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