Meadows et al (1972 – present) Limits to Growth, A Report for the Club of Rome

August 24, 2015 | Comments Off on Meadows et al (1972 – present) Limits to Growth, A Report for the Club of Rome


The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 as an informal association of independent long-term thinkers interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world. The Club of Rome members share a common concern for the future of humanity and the planet. They sought to identify the most crucial problems for humanity’s future, evaluate risks, choices, and opportunities in alternative future scenarios, to develop and propose practical solutions to foreseen challenges, and to communicate the new insights and knowledge to decision-makers and the general public. In its early years and the first Limits to Growth report, they focused on new pathways for global development. Today the Club of Rome focuses on the “root causes of the systemic crisis by defining and communicating the need for, the vision and the elements of a new economy, which produces real wealth and wellbeing; which does not degrade our natural resources and provides meaningful jobs and sufficient income for all people. The new programme will also address underlying values, beliefs and paradigms.”

Chart courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine
Chart Sources: Meadows, D.H., Meadows, D.L., Randers, J. and Behrens III, W.W. (1972) (Linda Eckstein)

You can access the original Limits to Growth report to the Club of Rome here. The Limits team was directed by Donella Meadows at MIT. The report “presented some challenging scenarios for global sustainability, based on a system dynamics computer model to simulate the interactions of five global economic subsystems, namely: population, food production, industrial production, pollution, and consumption of non-renewable natural resources.” Limits to Growth initiated a great deal of controversy at the time of its release because it concluded that unless civilization significantly curtailed its population and consumption, it would go into a precipitous decline around 2030.