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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.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Save the Planet

Tired of watching people spend so much time thinking up big solutions to big problems that it has a paralyzing effect on taking action? If you’re like author Courtney White, the answer is yes. That’s why in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, he takes readers on a journey to show how low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions […] Read More..

Beyond the War on Invasive Species – Review in Permaculture Design Magazine

This review was originally published in Permaculture Design, Issue #97, “Life on the Edge,” Fall 2015; www.PermacultureDesignMagazine.com Look in the Mirror Review by Peter Bane For its extensive scholarship, clear voice, and impassioned, hopeful message, this book is a joy to read—a slim but beautifully written teaching text which uses permaculture and ecosystem science as a lens for viewing the […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..
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