Decades of research and discussion have shown that the human population growth and our increased consumption of natural resources cannot continue - there are limits to growth. This volume demonstrates how we might modify and revise our economic systems using nature as a model.
The book describes how nature uses three growth forms: biomass, information, and networks, resulting in improved overall ecosystem functioning and co-development. As biomass growth is limited by available resources, nature uses the two other growth forms to achieve higher resource use efficiency. Through a universal application of the three `R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle, nature thus shows us a way forward towards better solutions. However, our current approach, dominated by short-term economic thinking, inhibits full utilization of the three `R's and other successful approaches from nature.
Building on ecological principles, the authors present a global model and futures scenario analyses which show that implementation of the proposed changes will lead to a win-win situation. In other words, we can learn from nature how to develop a society that can flourish within the limits to growth with better conditions for prosperity and well-being.
Sven Erik Jorgensen is Professor of Environmental Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the founder and President of the International Society of Ecological Modelling and co-author of key books on systems ecology and ecological modelling. He has received several awards, including the Stockholm Water Prize. Brian D. Fath is Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University, Maryland, USA, and Research Scholar in the Advanced Systems Analysis Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria. Soren Nors Nielsen is Visiting Professor at the Section for Sustainable Transitions, Department of Planning, Aalborg University - Copenhagen, Denmark. Federico M. Pulselli is Researcher in Environmental and Cultural Heritage Chemistry at the University of Siena, Italy. Daniel A. Fiscus is Lecturer and Sustainability Liaison at Frostburg State University, Maryland, USA, where he teaches in sustainability studies and does sustainable development work on campus and in the local community. Simone Bastianoni is Professor of Environmental and Cultural Heritage Chemistry at the University of Siena, Italy.
1. Introduction 2. Limits to Growth 3. How Nature Flourishes within Limits 4. How to Adopt Nature's Properties in our Society? 5. Working with a Global Model 6. To Think Like an Ecosystem is Key to Win-win Outcomes for Humans and Environment 7. Ecological Footprint 8. Sustainability 9. Can We Overcome the Obstacles?