AtKisson, Alan. Believing Cassandra
White River Junction, VT
Chelsea Green Publishing
Pages 14 and 25
In one of several articles concerning the book [Limits to Growth], Time magazine described it as written in "restrained, nonhysterical, at times almost apologetic language," and noted with sadness that "the study closes almost every escape hatch." Technology would solve the resources problem only to exacerbate the pollution problem. Efficiency could reduce pollution, but that wouldn't stop population growth from running rampant and using up all the land for growing food. "There is only one way out," says the report: "economic as well as population growth must be stopped cold some time between 1975 and 1990 by holding world investment in new plant and machinery equal to the rate at which physical capital wears out."
Efficiency and clean-up technologies did make it possible to reduce emissions of various kinds -- but growth in population and affluence erased many of those gains while increasing unforeseen forms of pollution such as greenhouse gases and ozone-layer destroyers.
There are no limits to Development. The way we live can always be made better: more beautiful, more inventive, more creative, more efficient, more fulfilling. Technologies can be radically and continuously improved. Humans can learn, change, adapt, and evolve, often with astonishing rapidity. We can repair most of the damage we have caused, restore some of what has been lost, reinvent the systems on which we depend for survival. We have transformed ourselves and our civilizations many times in the past, at both large scales and small; we are doing so now; and we will do so over and over again. Since there is no limit on humanity's capacity to evolve, Development can go on virtually forever.