BEYOND THE LIMITS by Donella H. Meadows

BEYOND THE LIMITS

Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future

KIRKUS REVIEW

 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.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1992
ISBN: 0-930031-55-5
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1992




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