background preloader

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”. It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon. Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. The task was very ambitious. The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash. So were they right? The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. So far, Limits to Growth checks out with reality.

Related:  FuturOur EnvironmentBig Pictures

The End of History? The short, strange era of human civilization would appear to be drawing to a close. The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world. It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end. The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend. The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years.

theconversation The Earth beneath your feet is “humming” all the time. Typically these vibrations are too faint and low-frequency for your ears to hear. But they can be detected by seismometers, the instruments designed to study the generally more powerful vibrations that emanate from earthquakes. Now researchers have used an array of seismometers in Japan to show that a group of tremors they detected had their origin in a violent “weather bomb” storm on the other side of the planet off the coast of Greenland. World's Largest Tree Of Life Visualizes 50,000 Species Across Time Biologists love a good family tree. Mapping the relations between species since the beginning of time is an important aspect of researching the history of evolution. However, classifying and visualizing the links between the millions of species of fauna in the world is no easy task. Temple University researchers recently put together the world's largest tree of life visualized across time. The family tree of living and extinct organisms encompasses 50,000 species—only a fraction of the world's history of life—and would easily take up hundreds of pages if laid out linearly. To fit their work onto a printed page, the researchers, led by evolutionary biologist S.

Britain investigates alleged VIP pedophile ring from '70s and '80s The allegations about so-called VIP pedophiles involve prestigious London addresses, some of the highest-ranking members of Britain’s establishment and the suspected abuse of young boys in the 1970s and 1980s, including three who were slain. Six parliamentarians have been implicated in the scandal, which threatens to expose a powerful political elite who may have raped and exploited juveniles for more than a decade and put their self-interests ahead of the protection of children. John Mann, a member of Parliament, has presented Scotland Yard with a dossier that he said names 22 high-profile figures, including three members of Parliament serving in the House of Commons and three members of the House of Lords, who are believed to have been involved in a pedophile ring. The dossier includes the names of 14 Conservative politicians, five Labor politicians and three from other parties, Mann told reporters. The clamor for answers and accusations of a “cover up” have not abated since.

Atmospheric acidity almost back down to preindustrial levels After increased industrialization in the 1930s, atmospheric acidity levels rose up sharply to a peak in the 1970s, but 40 years after the US and Europe introduced legislation to combat air pollution, acidity in the air has now dropped back down to pre-1930 levels. These figures come out of research by the University of Copenhagen, which used a new technique to measure the pH balance of ice core samples from the Greenland ice sheet, and how it's changed year to year. In an area as cold as Greenland, the snow that falls never has a chance to melt. Top Brookings Infographics of 2014 If the old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words," is true, then I hope you'll enjoy the ten thousand words below, all culled from the cornucopia of Brookings infographics published in 2014, and presented in no particular order. John Hudak cataloged presidential executive orders (through mid-June 2014), finding that President Obama, to that time, had been issuing executive orders at the slowest rate since Grover Cleveland. Bruce Jones, David Steven, and Emily O'Brien examined how energy issues are becoming more central to U.S. foreign policy, and showed China's energy vulnerabilities in this chart. In the latest "Foresight Africa" publication, Brookings experts explore top issues facing Africa in 2015.

Christie Wants Obama to Push Cuba to Return New Jersey Trooper’s Killer - Photo Gov. of New Jersey has asked to demand that Cuba return a woman convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper 41 years ago, the governor’s office said on Sunday. Mr. Christie made the request in a letter that was sent to the White House on Friday, two days after President Obama announced that he would move to normalize relations with Cuba. The woman, Joanne Chesimard, a leader of the Black Liberation Army who was convicted of murder in the 1973 killing, is believed to be living in Cuba under political asylum. Ms.

26 ideas from the future “One of the things about learning how to read — we have been doing a lot of consuming of information through our eyes and so on — that may be a very inefficient channel. So my prediction is that we’re going to ingest information. You’re going to swallow a pill and know English. You’re going to swallow a pill and know Shakespeare. The way to do it is through the bloodstream; once it’s in your bloodstream, it basically goes through and gets into the brain and when it knows it’s in the brain it deposits the information in the right places.