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

Donella H. Meadows , Jorgen Randers , Dennis L. Meadows
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1972 The Limits of Growth , sponsored by the Club of Rome and produced by a research team on a MIT computer programmed with a World3 model, created a stormy sensation. Denounced as eco-gloom and doom, the book also became a keystone of the era's environmentalism. Now on the eve of the June U.N. Earth Summit, three of the researchers give World3 another run. Although many books and reports examine "sustainability," the authors provide unique insights thanks to their background in systems analysis. Society has gone into overshoot, they argue, a state of being beyond limits without knowing it. These limits are more like speed limits than barriers at the end of the road: the rate at which renewable resources can renew themselves, the rate at which we can change from nonrenewable resources to renewable ones, and the rate at which nature can recycle our pollution. Without being a catch-all on the environmental crisis, the book shows how we are overshooting such crucial resources as food and water while overwhelming nature with pollutants like those causing global warming. World3 runs 13 future scenarios and learns that we can only avoid collapse by unplugging the exponential growth in population (two billions people in the past 20 years) and industrial production (doubled in the past 20 years). If the world settles for two children per couple and the per capita income of South Korea, we can avoid collapse and find an equilibrium at 7.7 billion people through 2100. Systems analysis may sound like an academic specialty, but the authors have written for the general reader and provide a compelling challenge to traditional economics and public complacency.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A sequel to the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth (1972. o.p.), Beyond the Limits uses a sophisticated computer modeling program to project into the next century the consequences of current rates of resource consumption and population growth. A number of modified scenarios are then illustrated, showing the impact on the global environment of alternative patterns of allocation and consumption. While its graphs and tables may intimidate some, Beyond the Limits is clearly written, nonpolemical, and rewards the patient reader. Particularly interesting is the discussion of the crisis with the ozone layer as exemplary of the ability of the world's governments to respond to environmental crises. However, it is the fundamental principles underlying this book that set it apart. Beyond the Limits recognizes that the future doesn't lie in tinkering with resource use or simply squelching population growth in developing countries. A sustainable future will require profound social and psychological readjustments in the developed and developing world. Highly recommended.
- Mary Jane Ballou, Ford Fdn. Lib., New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An impressive sequel to the controversial and influential Limits to Growth (1972) prepared by three of the authors of that environmental clarion call and based on worldwide data compiled during the past 20 years. Donella H. Meadows (Environmental Studies/Dartmouth), Dennis L. Meadows (Management Studies/Univ. of New Hampshire), and Randers (Policy Analysis/Norwegian School of Management) use a vast array of statistics, projections, and charts to assert that global limits have already been exceeded in certain growth areas. Current crop yields can only sustain the world's population at subsistence levels, they point out, while nonrenewable energy resources and fresh water supplies are dwindling, and greenhouse gases and other pollutants increase. But while the prognosis is disaster within decades if nothing is done, there are encouraging signs. Technology offers greater efficiency in energy consumption and pollution control, international response to the ozone crisis has been relatively swift, and recycling efforts are gaining headway. The authors warn, however, that the conditions underlying limit ``overshoots''--population growth and resource depletion in a finite world, for example--remain unaddressed in the corridors of power. Modifying the computer-modeling system employed in their first work, the authors graphically depict plausible futures ranging from utter collapse to manageable growth, each depending on the controls used, and they urgently propose a series of general measures that would commence the long-overdue transition to a sustainable global society. An invaluable update that leaves no doubt that the time to effect meaningful change has grown extremely short, but that nevertheless shuns gloom and doom to be boldly pragmatic about the future. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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