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Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet

On March 1st, The Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet hosted a symposium on March 1, 2012 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launching of Limits to Growth, the first report to the Club of Rome published in 1972. This book 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 many of the same economic, social, and environmental challenges as when the book was first published.

The morning session focused on the lessons of Limits to Growth. The afternoon session addressed the difficult challenges of preserving biodiversity, adjusting to a changing climate, and solving the societal issues now facing the planet. The symposium ended with a thought-provoking panel discussion among the speakers on future steps for building a sustainable planet.

Download the full program.

This complete video for the symposium is archived here.

Support provided by The Club of Rome, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Family Foundation, Pedro and Carol Cuatrecasas, and the Smithsonian Institution


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  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    Bolivia has transformed itself by ignoring the Washington Consensus

    By breaking with orthodox prescriptions for progress, Evo Morales has helped to forge a new Bolivia centered on ‘living well’ – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/mar/21/bolivia-washington-consensus… the Bolivian story is not one of “progress”, but of forging an
    alternative economy, one which stems from the original peoples and
    nations. At the centre of its proposal is the Suma Qamaña,
    a notion that has been incorporated into the constitution and that is
    translated as “living well”, meaning to be in harmony and equilibrium
    with other people and with nature. It is a proposal born in the
    community, and it is based, not in the logic of economic profitability,
    but on producing goods according to nature. As Evo Morales has said: “We
    don’t believe in the linear, cumulative conception of progress and of
    an unlimited development at the cost of other people and of nature. To
    live well is to think not only in terms of per capita income, but of
    cultural identity, community, harmony among ourselves and with Mother

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI


    August 29th, 2012

    The State of Sustainable Development According to Professionals
    by RP Siegel – http://www.triplepundit.com/20

    “A solid 77% of respondents felt that there will have to be major
    catastrophes before national government will address these entrenched
    global issues. If that turns out to be true then we’d best hope that
    those catastrophes come sooner rather than later, lest conditions
    continue to worsen rapidly.”

    “Finally, 66% of respondents felt that a fundamentally new approach to the global governance of SD is needed.”

  • http://twitter.com/SustainLandDev SLDI

    UPDATE May 10, 2013

    BBC: CO2 > 400ppm for 1st Time in 3 Million Years – http://j.mp/120pJr4

    Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have broken through a symbolic mark.

    Daily measurements of CO2 at a US government agency lab on Hawaii have topped 400 parts per million for the first time. The station, which sits on the Mauna Loa volcano, feeds its numbers into a continuous record of the concentration of the gas stretching back to 1958. The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago – before modern humans existed. Scientists say the climate back then was also considerably warmer than it is today.

  • SLDI

    April CO2 Topped 400ppm Over Northern Hemisphere
    26.05.2014 – http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/april-co2-topped-400ppm-over-northern-hemisphere-wmo.html

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reached 400 parts per million (ppm) throughout the northern hemisphere in April for the first time, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

    … “This should serve as yet another wakeup call about the constantly rising levels of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change. If we are to preserve our planet for future generations, we need urgent action to curb new emissions of these heat trapping gases,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud was quoted as saying in a WMO news
    release. “Time is running out.”