Monday, September 28, 2009

Limits To Growth: 30 Year Update ... Review

I just finished this book published in 2004 by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, and Jorgen Randers. It presents findings based on World3, a system dynamics model of world dynamics that projects human welfare and other variables into the future depending on different conditions.

Ch 1 : Overshoot
The concept of overshoot is intuitive and is a very good way to model the impact of human activity on resource limits.

Ch 2 : The Driving Force: Exponential Growth
Human population grows exponentially as does capital. It's interesting to really think about this in terms of what it means for resource use and pollution.

Ch 3 : The Limits: Sources and Sinks
System dynamics vocabulary. Economist Herman Daly is cited. This is actually a lengthy discussion about various resources the earth has and the rates of human usage. The usage of wood is somewhat confusing to me. On the one hand, burning wood releases carbon into the air and also uses up wood. On the other hand, burning wood is considered carbon neutral since the carbon released is the carbon that was put into the wood. On the other hand, I thought wood was an inefficient energy source, which is why we moved to coal and oil. Non-developed places like parts around the Amazon rainforest burn wood, which is bad, but non-developed places also use less energy.

Ch 4 : World3: The Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World
This is a discussion about feedback loops.

Ch 5 : Back from Beyond the Limits: The Ozone Story

Ch 6 : Technology, Markets, and Overshoot

Ch 7 : Transitions to a Sustainable System

Ch 8 : Tools for the Transition to Sustainability

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