Event: 1 March DC Perspectives on Limits to Growth – Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet

Earth Intelligence

Permanent Record Podcast:

http://www.si.edu/consortia/limitstogrowth2012

JORGEN RANDERS:  Decision delays killing us.  Have all the technology we need to address all these problems.  Economists killing us by not factoring in true costs over time.  Mention Norwegian citizen council, decision to use roughly 1% of Norwegian GNP to solve all these problems, citizens agree.

Citing Jeff Immelt, CEO GE August 2010: we know the solution but we don’t like it.

Capitalism will not solve these problems – it demands profit, defines profit in financial terms of the time only.

Regulation is an option but US Congress has demonstrated that a majority will never agree on doing the right thing for the long term.  Democracy is hopeless if one wants to solve a long-term problem.  Voters are short-term and so are politicians.

Need to find a way, as Dennis has suggested, to connect policy decision to short-term goods, but even that does not work.

Better way: look for success stories.  European Commission and Communist Party of China.  Chinese government has more legitimacy with its own public because it is focused on eliminating poverty.

Rather blunt call for stronger government, higher taxes, tougher regulations.  No attention to inherent corruption.   Actually contemplates authority being transferred to the IPCC.

Phi Beta Iota:  Educating the public to  take the long view is harder, but more sustainable and more agile.

Symposium: Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launching of Limits to Growth, the first report to the Club of Rome, a joint symposium entitled “Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet” will be hosted in Washington, DC by the Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet. Please see the attached program statement.

The symposium will be held on Thursday March 1st, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater of the National Museum of the American Indian at 4th Street and Independence Avenue, SW on the National Mall. A reception will follow. If you are interested in attending, please contact [email protected] for more information.

Program Page Below the Line

“Perspectives on Limits to Growth: Challenges to Building a Sustainable Planet”

A One-Day Symposium Co-sponsored by The Club of Rome and the Smithsonian’s Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet

1 March 2012

The Rasmuson Theater
National Museum of the American Indian

In the spring, the Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Institution will be hosting a joint symposium in Washington, DC to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launching of Limits to Growth, the first report of the Club of Rome published in 1972. This book, which sold over ten million copies in various languages, was one of the earliest scholarly works to recognize that the world was fast approaching its sustainable limits. Forty years later, the planet continues to face many of the same economic, social, and environmental challenges as when the book was first published.

The symposium, which will be held in the Rasmuson Theater of the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall, will be divided into two sessions. The morning session will focus on the lessons of Limits to Growth and will consist of presentations by two of the original authors of the work, Dennis Meadows and Jørgen Randers. These talks will be complemented by an outside perspective from Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse.

The afternoon session will address the difficult challenges of preserving biodiversity, adjusting to a changing climate, and solving the societal issues now facing the planet. Dr. Doug Erwin, Senior Scientist and Curator of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History and author of Extinction (Columbia University press), will address how climate has structured biodiversity over long periods of time in the geologic history of the planet. Prof. Richard Alley, a well-known geoscientist from Pennsylvania State University and presenter and author of the of the PBS series and book Earth: The Operators’ Manual, will speak on climate change in the present-day world. Finally, Neva Goodwin, the Director of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University and lead author of Microeconomics in Context and Macroeconomics in Context, will address the many societal challenges that must be addressed in a world without growth, from ecological health to restructuring corporations for social responsibility. The symposium will end with a thought-provoking panel discussion among the speakers on future steps for building a sustainable planet. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Eva J. Pell, Under Secretary for Science.

The Symposium will be open to the public and may be of particular interest to scholars, educators, and policy makers at Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, economic think tanks, universities, and environmental organizations in the Washington metropolitan area.