Like many people in the past, Donella was a prophet whose message, as plain and obvious as it was, went unheeded by most, and flat out denied by many.
Recently Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia published a paper looking at The Limits To Growth in light of what has happened in the last 30 years. His findings support the predictions made by Dr. Meadows and her colleagues in 1972.
The fact is that in relation to our increasing population our available resources per capita are shrinking and we have passed to point where the planet is no longer able to generate the necessities required to support our global population in any but the most modest manner. A manner that requires about 75% less consumption per person than currently enjoyed by the average Canadian. And, as we consume the ability of renewable resources to actually renew themselves while continuing to increase our population, the situation only gets worse.
How we got into this fix is obvious. Historically since the advent of agriculture and the ability to amass surpluses, we have had no real appreciation for the limits of nature, believing instead that we could continue to grow our society. And in doing so we have developed an economic system built on continual growth.
Those who believe that are dead wrong, and instead of heading us in a direction that will provide a decent, though somewhat more reduced, society for future generations, are heading us into a social and ecological catastrophe that may leave those generations that follow us in a world of awful chaos.
The signs are already there, only someone intentionally ignorant can not see them. The bio-diversity of our environment which supports us is being destroyed to accommodate our increasing population and fixation on growth. Our food supply has been industrialized and no longer produces the same healthy food that our ancestors ate. Chemicals in our environment and in our food may well be responsible for the cancers that now afflict us. And the economic pattern that has emerged is putting most of us at the mercy of a few wealthy interests who control the production of food and manufactured goods.
There is no way out of this unless we fundamentally change our society. And the kind of change that we need can only come about when a majority of us decide that growth must be reversed and healthy ecological choices are more important than wealth or convenience.