“The Limits to Growth” – 40 Years Later

“Above the cloud with its shadow is the star with its light.”  – Pythagoras

On March 1, 2012 The Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Institution are hosting a symposium to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launching of the book, The Limits to Growth. The symposium on this landmark work and its implications for today will be globally webcast for free starting at 9 am EST.

When The Limits to Growth was published in 1972, it had a seminal impact on me and thousands of others who responded to its message — the call of the land articulated in stark scientific terms — with healthy, positive agrarian initiatives. Collectively, those initiatives helped lay the groundwork for the good food movement of today.

The Limits to Growth was selected as one of the most influential environmental books of the 20th century, and it sold over 12 million copies in 37 languages. It was one of the earliest scholarly works to recognize that the world was fast approaching its sustainable limits.

Forty years later, the planet continues to face the economic, social, and environmental challenges outlined in the book, and environmental health and stability continue to deteriorate.

One of the original co-authors, Dennis Meadows will give the first presentation at the seminar,”It Is Too Late for Sustainable Development.” His formal remarks will describe how his understanding about the interaction of limits with physical growth on the planet has changed over the past 40 years, and also justify his proposal that humanity’s focus should now be more on resilience than on sustainability.

The symposium will also include original coauthor Jørgen Randers, Neva Goodwin, and Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse.

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