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Jonathon Porritt recommends Limits To Growth

British writer and environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, co-founder of Forum for the Future, a prominent sustainable development charity in the United Kingdom, selected Chelsea Green’s own Limits to Growth as one of five best books for saving the world!

Read Jonathon’s explanation of his choice in an interview with Five Books, below.

Tell me about Limits to Growth.
This is a report produced in 1972, but it’s still as current now as it was then and is still available today. It was commissioned by the Club of Rome and produced by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. What they did was simply to look at projections for world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion and draw up models of what would happen to the earth in those areas. At the heart of it was the message that we need to make wiser use of the earth’s finite resources. That is true now and it was true 30 years ago. We have to get into a different mindset about the earth’s resources. It’s not saying that everything is going to run out tomorrow, but if we get smart there is no reason why the earth shouldn’t be able to sustain us way into the future.

When is it all going to run out?
Tricky question! But if we take, for example, the aluminium can – we are all familiar with that – if it was in a closed loop cycle, if nearly every can were recycled, then, clearly the amount of aluminium that would need to be mined would be very small. It’s easy to see how the economy can keep churning with renewable resources in that way, but with oil and gas, these are strictly finite. There are a lot of hydrocarbons in the world and, though not everybody agrees with me, I think there will always be a lot simply because we will stop using them for environmental reasons long before it runs out. So, this is a report without laughs in it? You want laughs? Well, I suppose I mean – is it readable? Yes, it’s written for the layperson so it’s very readable. I wouldn’t choose anything unreadable unless you think Moby-Dick is unreadable. Read more about Limits To Growth: The 30 Year Update by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, and Jorgen Randers.


Dear Humans: Listen to Ben Kilham. Signed, The Bears.

When it comes to fatal human-bear encounters, too often it’s the bear who ends up on the losing end. The most recent story occurred in Thetford, Vt., where a hungry bear with slim pickings began seeking out food in town. After unsuccessful attempts to thwart the bear – known to bear rehab specialist and author […] Read More

Reimagining Restoration as a Radical Act

Finding ways to manage “invasive” species as we’ve come to know them has sparked a vigorous debate within conservation and restoration communities, as well as farmers, gardeners, and permaculturalists.In her thought-provoking book Beyond the War on Invasive Species, author Tao Orion urges us to rethink and reimagine restoration as a way to break out of […] Read More

Trust Your Unconsciousness: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas on Writing

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a New York Times-bestelling author, traveler, and astute observer of the natural world. In Dreaming of Lions, a paperback edition of her memoir, Thomas pens a powerful new afterword and a selection of photos from her extraordinary life is included. Below is an excerpt from her chapter about writing, and her […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you.Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all […] Read More

Recipe: Pascal Baudar’s Basic Wild Kimchi

Experiment with what you have, anything from the mustard family will work extremely well. Read More
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