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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. 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. These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. As the MIT researchers explained in 1972, under the scenario, growing population and demands for material wealth would lead to more industrial output and pollution. Related:  FuturBig PicturesOur Environment and its Degradation

Inequality and Web Search Trends Photo In the hardest places to live in the United States, people spend a lot of time thinking about diets and religion. In the easiest places to live, people spend a lot of time thinking about cameras. This summer, The Upshot conducted an analysis of every county in the country to determine which were the toughest places to live, based on an index of six factors including income, education and life expectancy. The results, based on a decade of search data, offer a portrait of the very different subjects that occupy the thoughts of richer America and poorer America. In the hardest places to live – which include large areas of Kentucky, Arkansas, Maine, New Mexico and Oregon – health problems, weight-loss diets, guns, video games and religion are all common search topics. To be clear, these aren’t the most common searches in our list of hardest places. In the easiest places to live, the Canon Elph and other digital cameras dominate the top of the correlation list.

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. Sad species.

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. The spiral strip represents time from top to bottom in greyscale, from the origin of life 4 billion years ago (the darkest gray) to today. "Since there are at least 2 million species that have been named, and maybe 10 million out there," Hedges explains in a phone interview, the project presented a design challenge. [All Images: Temple University]

Integral Sustainability: Correlating Action Logics with Sustainability to Provide Insight into the Dynamics of Change | Simon Divecha %D0G7DDB@ :64 5D./7:4 .? 5671F.1F< ,B `71A79B RSO\@ OS 0C :64 E943.0A? Oa B479? 678 G441 :64 =79/4?: .18A? *:491 W +V #947? >7548 =.:6 ? ! LeA4154@ 4756 :971? D47849? [< ;01? L'arbre miraculeux qui pourrait changer le monde Pour Daniel Rodary, tout est parti d’un constat : certains végétaux peuvent faire le bien. Beaucoup de bien. Cet écologue français de 43 ans travaille pour l’association Biomimicry Europa, spécialisée dans le biomimétisme. Ce domaine de recherches s’inspire de la nature pour créer des solutions durables. Parmi elles : les végétaux dits « oxalogènes ». Un rêve éveillé d’ingénieur ! Très nutritives, ses noix peuvent se conserver sèches et s’utiliser en guise de pommes de terre, en farine, dans des sauces ou des boissons. Un arbre miracle ? Des paysans sont formés à planter leurs arbres, et des femmes à en cuisiner les noix. Pour en savoir plus : > L’association spécialisée en biomimétisme : > Le cabinet de conseil qui étudie comment le vivant capte et stocke le carbone : > Le projet européen qui vise à trouver des solutions pour stocker le carbone : Céline Lison

The Depopulation Time Bomb The future of nations is not written in the stars but in their demographics. In particular, a futurist can study national fertility rates, urbanisation trends and the age structure of population groups to get a picture of a country’s long-term future. Remarkable polymath Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of America and, back in the 1770s, he enjoyed unbridled optimism about the future of his nation, which at the time was still overwhelmingly rural and comparatively “backward”. Why, then, was his prognosis so rosy? America’s birth-rate, he reasoned, was double that of Europe’s. Today, the position in America has been reversed and there are no grounds for any of Franklin’s demographic optimism. The following table shows the population for each region of the world, in millions, followed by the annual rate of increase (%) of population for the years 2010-2015: World: 7,080,072; 1.1 (average rate of increase) But something else is interesting here. Acknowledgments

Il est urgent de regarder « L’Urgence de ralentir » Nous aussi, nous avons pris notre temps. Un peu de temps pour regarder « L’Urgence de ralentir », documentaire de Philippe Borrel diffusé mardi dernier sur Arte. Première image, première phrase, celle d’Edgar Morin : « Un suicidaire, au moins, il sait qu’il veut se suicider.Là, cette course, elle est suicidaire, inconsciemment. » Passées les images d’illustration, à base de billets verts en apesanteur et de poulets à la javel, le téléspectateur part à la rencontre des promoteurs d’un ralentissement de nos sociétés. Le réalisateur commence par montrer à quel point le temps de la finance s’est déconnecté du temps humain. Pas facile de faire rentrer le téléspectateur dans l’espace temporel des algorithmes aux noms barbares, comme « sniper » ou « guérilla ». Une fois que le déphasage, entre le temps de la finance et celui de l’économie, a été visualisé et expliqué, le documentaire propose un patchwork mondial d’initiatives locales. « Le problème, c’est l’être humain. 84 minutes, 2004

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. Since 2000, poverty has grown twice as fast in America's suburbs as in America's cities. "Fox News has an acceptance, a popularity it is better to say, among Republicans and conservatives," E.J.