Global Environmental Risk

By Jeanne X. Kasperson; Roger Kasperson | Go to book overview

Appendix:
A summary of
first-generation global models
analysis

Blueprint for Survival (Goldsmith et al. 1972) was written by the editors of the Ecologist; it was designed to complement the modelling work of the Club of Rome. The report criticizes modern society and offers a vision of a radically different and stable society. Industrial society, with its ethos of expansion, is inherently destructive of the environment and society (p. 3) and will eventually self-destruct. In a world of finite resources, unlimited population growth and economic expansion cannot continue (p. 6). “Our task is to create a society that is sustainable and will give the fullest possible satisfaction to its members” (p. 21). Such a society will be based on stability, not expansion. It will be decentralized and governed by four principles: (1) minimum Disruption of ecological processes; (2) maximum conservation and an economy of stock rather than flow; (3) zero population growth; (4) a social system in which the individual can enjoy, rather than feel restricted by, the first three conditions.

The Limits to Growth (Meadows et al. 1972) model was based on five key factors – population, food production, natural resources, industrial production, and pollution – believed to determine, and ultimately to limit, growth. The model demonstrated that exponential growth of population and capital is incompatible with a world of finite physical resources. If 1972 trends continued, the Earth would reach its limits within the next 100 years (p. 23). Because of the lag time inherent in societal responses, population and industrial production would overshoot those limits, resulting in a sudden and uncontrollable collapse. However, economic and

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