2015 / 1

In The Collapse of Western Civilization, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway depict a dystopian future resulting from climate inaction. But the constricted dramatis personae in their scenario stacks the deck against the social agents that could emerge to alter the narrative.

We live in a full world but still behave as if it were empty. The urgent task ahead of us is to create an economy that remains within the earth’s carrying capacity while rethinking the ultimate purpose of the economy itself.

Commentary by John Barry, Nancy Folbre, Tim Jackson, Giorgos Kallis, Robert Paehlke, Stephen Purdey, Alan Willis, and Eric Zencey, and a response from the author

The Limits to Growth has had a profound impact on environmental research and discourse over the past four decades. Dennis Meadows discusses the genesis of the report and its lessons for our uncertain and perilous global future.

Operating from a realistic paradigm that understands the economy as embedded in the ecosphere is the key to transitioning to a sustainable civilization. Will the increasing unfitness of growth-obsessed neoliberal economics to our social and ecological realities spell its demise?

Humanity is pushing the Earth system into a post-Holocene state that very well could be inhospitable to human civilization. The urgent imperatives of respecting planetary boundaries and transforming the development paradigm have become complementary aspects of a single social-ecological project. 

Commentary by Noel Castree; John Bellamy Foster; Maarten Hajer, Marcel Kok, and Kathrin Ludwig; Richard Heinberg; Jill Jäger; Karen O'Brien; Kate Raworth; and John Robinson and David Maggs, and a response from the author

Our interdependent world demands stronger global governance rooted in a sense of global citizenship. Nurturing such an enlarged identity requires balancing  universalism and pluralism through a dialogical process of reconciliation.

Global futures pioneer Gilberto Gallopín discusses the origins of contemporary global scenario analysis, the ways worldviews can influence our sense of the future, and how the scenario approach offers a powerful way to envision unconventional tomorrows and guide actions today.

The Degrowth Alternative
February 2015

The "degrowth movement" has captured wide attention in recent years. Giorgos Kallis, an eminent scholar of this movement, explains its aims of opening up space for imagining and enacting alternative visions to modern growth-based development.

Commentary by Nicholas Ashford, Maurie Cohen, Herman Daly, Al Hammond, Michael Karlberg, Rajesh Makwana, Mary Mellor, Robert Nadeau, Robert Paehlke, Richard Rosen, Tilman Santarius, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Allen White, and Anders Wijkman, and a response from the author

The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme comments on pivotal forthcoming international developments—the launch of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate negotiations—and the UN's role in fostering a sustainable future.

In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert powerfully documents a planetary tragedy. But the book is heedless of social roots of and solutions for the crisis, indicting, instead, essential flaws in human nature and offering only fatalistic despair.