Item Link: Access the Resource
Date of Publication: June 1
Year of Publication: 2022
Publication City: Colorado Springs, CO
Author(s): Dave Gardner
Biologist Paul Ehrlich reflects on the 1972 MIT study, The Limits to Growth, on its 50th anniversary – including the fact that it has been refuted (poorly), ignored, and confirmed.
The study was done by a team of scientists commissioned by the Club of Rome to develop a computer model to simulate the interaction of earth and human systems. It revealed that continuation of the then-current trends in population, industrialization, resource use, and pollution would result in overshooting the carrying capacity of the Earth and result in a general collapse at some point in the first half of the 21st century.
The study results were published in the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth, which holds the record as the top-selling environmental book. The book was authored by four system dynamics scientists (Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William Behrens III). Gaya Herrington, whose 2020 analysis of The Limits to Growth was published in Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology, described the study and book aptly: “the authors identified society’s relentless pursuit of growth not as the solution to, but the cause of, so many of the environmental and social crises that plague humanity still today.”
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