film growth sustainability

Last Call: The Limits to Growth documentary

The Limits to Growth report was a truly groundbreaking book, opening a host of unasked questions about the viability of our consumer society. It was also seriously misunderstood, mostly on purpose, and so its place in history is somewhat checkered. For some, it’s a landmark contribution to the sustainability debate, while others use it as an excuse to disregard the environmental movement as alarmists.

So perhaps, 40 years on, a new exploration of the report will help to clear the air. This time it’s on film, Last Call.

How good the film itself is remains to be seen, but I appreciate the message: that the many crises we face are linked. Climate change, resource depletion, financial crisis and so on are all interconnected. “While these crises are acknowledged by almost everybody” say the film makers, “there is a tendency to consider them separately.”

Here’s the trailer:

22 comments

  1. Jeremy, I wondered what position the documentary makers hold which makes them at the end, categorically claim, that the authors of ‘Limits to Growth’ don’t hold the truth?
    Also, I’ve just read your old ‘Limits to Growth: Common Misconceptions Nov10.2010’ and your first sentence rather surprised me. If you ever have to fight a legitimate litigation case, (I hope not), and it’s anything like the medical litigation case that I fought, you will need to be prepared for white being changed to black repeatedly, by professionals with vested interests. You won’t be surprised again by any number of twisted facts let alone unsubstantiated ones! It was good to read the old comments from you, Stefan and Serena (Nov 10/11. 2010) on why this real ‘big issue’ is not faced. I wish there was more on this, then it might get better recognition. As the authors said, we need a real shift in governmental outlook.

  2. hi there and thanks for your interest in the documentary LAST CALL, the untold reasons of the global crisis. We fully support the visions (and their scientifical base) of the Limtis to growth and we aim to show it worldwide to increase awareness and give our contribution to the ongoing debate ona limited planet vs an unlimited growth. Please subscribe to our newsletter from http://www.lastcallthefilm.org, so that we can keep you updated with the work-in-progress of Last Call and the upcoming campaign related to it.
    the staff of Last Call the film

  3. Obviously all the alarmist claims made (largely that we would be out of almost all resources in 20 years) can be seen with the hindsight of 40 years to be wholly, completely and totally untrue and ones for which the entire “environmental” movement wouyld be deeply ashamed and apologetic if said movement was in any way interested in truth rather than scaring people with lies.

      1. No it doesn’t. It is simply false handwaving. The predictions were made and they were clearly false. Every “environmentalist” who is in any way honest has admitted this. Granted that number continues to be about zero,

  4. Did you read the post? You’re a few years early in your criticism, even on the depletion dates.

    What is false handwaving, by the way? Waving a gloved foot? Not sure what you mean by that?

    1. Well I suppose saying that it “early” to say that things promised to happen in 20 years, which haven’t in 40 haven’t happened might, with extreme politeness, be called hand waving.

      Tell me, can you name a single one of the hundreds of “environmentalist” global scare stories which has happened? A single one?

      Not wishing to suggest for a minute that a single one of these claims represents anything other than the very highest standard of honesty of the movement.

      For example has DDT really killed off all insect and plant life on the planet, or alternately has the movement publicly accepted blame for the consequences of the lie?

      1. The Limits to Growth model runs until 2100. You clearly haven’t read it. When you’ve read it, we can discuss what it actually says.

        If you want a good example of an environmental warning that was ignored, try the collapse of the Atlantic cod stocks. Sometimes we act on the warnings too, and avoid the projected consequences. That’s what happened with DDT and with ozone depletion. And before you say it, because I’ve heard it a thousand times before, DDT is still perfectly legal for use in controlling mosquitos. Go and look it up on the UN website: http://chm.pops.int/Convention/ThePOPs/The12InitialPOPs/tabid/296/Default.aspx

        1. Presumably if you were actually being honest you would have said “we can discuss it in 2100” and your fingers just slipped 🙂

          You don’t have to wait till every single prediction is proven a lie to recognise a trend when you see it. Or perhaps you are going to send me all your money on the off chance that if you don’t by the year 2200 the Great Pumpkin will eat the planet.

          Newfoundland cod stocks are more a Newfoundland problem, albeit a serious one, rather than a global one, or indeed a catastrophe (except for the cod).

          So I ask again – can you name a single global catastrophe story, out of hundreds, which proved to be truthful? Just one? I take it from your silence that every one of them represents the highest standard of honesty to which the “environmentalist movement aspires but still don’t claim any of them are true?

          Thus Limits also represents the highest standard of honesty.

          1. Have you read the post of misconceptions linked to above? It has graphs of the predictions made then, and what’s happened since. Go and take a look. If you can’t be bothered to read the answers given to you, I don’t see much reason to keep replying.

            I’m not sure which ‘global catastrophe predictions’ you’re referring to. Can you name one or two of these ‘hundreds’ you think were false.

          2. “Can you name one or two of these ‘hundreds’ you think were false.”
            i don’t want them simply named; I’d like references to reputable sources that have made the claims as well. Every Tom, Dick and Harry can make a claim, but I’d like to see reputably sourced (i.e. published in the mainstream peer-reviewed literature and/or as part of a report or official statement from a credible scientific institution) claims of “global catastrophe predictions”, not blog posts or media headlines or your memory.

          3. That is a revealing limitation. You are saying that, under no circumstances should any claim by any “environmentalist” politician or activist be treated as truthful. That would include Limits to Growth which is rather giving away your argument.

            How about Ehrlich’s numerous claims? Is he reputable, or a scientist? Did his claims that we would now be dying at 42 because of pollution come from a scientist? Do you defend them?

            How about Saint Al Gore – is he “reputable” or a thieving charlatan and if the latter did you, or indeed any “environmentlist” say so when he first came out with his “convenient truth”? If they supported the fraud then are there any circumstances under which anything else they say should be believed? Particularly “environmentalists” who haven’t publicly apologised for supporting frauds.

  5. Ehrlich was wrong in all kinds of ways, but that’s a big jump from saying that he was wrong to saying that all environmentalists are liars. He’s an extremist. You can’t pick an extreme voice and write off an entire branch of science.

    Gore is a political figure, and you obviously don’t like him. I don’t like him much either, but no doubt for different reasons.

    I suspect, like most people who come onto this website and argue the way you do, that you actually know very little about what environmentalists really think. Most environmentalists don’t see global catastrophe everywhere, and get rather frustrated with alarmist media voices that don’t represent the science. That doesn’t mean there aren’t very real dangers out there, but mainstream environmental opinion is a lot more reasonable than you seem to think it is.

    1. You can if nobody in that “science” is willing to say they are wrong at the time. Indeed real science is about saying that and providing evidence.

      Presumably, not being a complete hypocrite, you are on record as saying people shouldn’t “write off” the “science” of astrology simply because it has no predictive value either. I would be interested in a link to you doing so 😉

      1. People did! This is exactly my point – you’re talking as if the environmental movement is some kind of homogenous block. Population was and is a huge debate within environmental circles and outside of it. (Incidentally, Ehrlich had the bestselling book, but he did not invent the idea of a population crisis)

        To give you some specific examples, among those who critiqued ‘The Population Bomb’ at the time was Barry Commoner, who argued that population is one side of the coin and consumption is the other. His book ‘The Closing Circle’ responded directly to Ehrlich, as did James Ridgeway’s book ‘The Politics of Ecology’. Interestingly, much of the early critique of Ehrlich came from the left, from feminism and from black communities. It wasn’t until Julian Simon in the early 80s that the right began to be skeptical of population control.

        There are similar debates today about every environmental concern, including heated arguments between environmentalists who support nuclear power and those that don’t, or those for or against GM crops.

        So like I say, a little more sophistication in your critique please.

        1. And did any of those named say that Ehrlich was a loony who could have no place in any honest and sane discussion whose every single prediction had been an obvious lie or were these just some pseudo-Marxist critiques?

          In the same how many “environmentalist” acivists have said that CAGW is a fraud. I’ll acknowledge that there are honest environmentalists who have acknowledged that if the warming alarm wasn’t a fraud we would have to go nuclear. Prof Lovelock and Bishop Montefiore and um er …..Partick moore and that’s about it.

          And all 3 have been ostracised for it. Montefiore was expelled from FoE for this honesty. Can you name a single pseudo-environmentalist (the only sort you approve of) who denounced FoE who has publicly denounced FoE as the wholly corrupt anti-human fascist organisation it certainly is & that such fascists can have no role in any honest movement?

          So can you name anybody ami

          1. Why don’t you go and read the critiques of Ehrlich for yourself and find out, instead of relying on second-hand opinions and hearsay.

            Can I name a single environmentalist who has denounced FoE as a “wholly corrupt, anti-human fascist organisation?” No, because that’s an amusingly specific insult. It’s also, ironically enough, a pretty alarmist view of Friends of the Earth.

            Mark Lynas and George Monbiot are two high profile environmentalists who support nuclear power. Both of them support it as a response to climate change.

            At the mention of climate change I suppose you’ll want to hive off into a tirade about how it’s all a fraud, and how I’m a fraud for saying climate change instead of global warming, yadda yadda yadda. Let me just stop you before you start. I have heard it all before and if that’s your view, fine, though every national academy of science disagrees with you. I’m not going to attempt to change your mind. I know every one of your arguments and you will not change mine.

          2. So that would be none then?

            Moonbat’s conversion is recent & not wholehearted. He has certainly not called for a massive programme of cheap nuclear but merely for it being kept artificially expensive but not wholly banned.

            I accept your assurance that your position on alleged catastrophic global warming is wholly invulnerable to mere facts including it failing to happen. This is also the met Office official position but not one that could be held by anybody with any slightest respect for science. I take it you cannot name a single scientist anywhere in the world (not that lovelock has said alarmists are insane) who supports CAGW and is not ultimately paid by the state.

            I think I could do slightly better than that for the similarly unscientific science of astrology.

  6. No, I don’t know any serious scientists or environmentalists that hold the view that Friends of the Earth is a “wholly corrupt, anti-human fascist organisation”. Your opinion is too alarmist and bizarre for anyone mainstream to hold it.

    According to your view, the Royal Society, the National Academy of Science and every National science body in the world – none of them have “the slightest respect for science”. Logic is not on your side, Neil.

    Of course I can name a scientist not working for the state – most of them work for universities. But since you’ve mentioned him – James Lovelock was an independent scientist who funded his work through his books and patents.

    Now, let’s stop wasting each other’s time. By all means comment again if you wish. I’m done with this thread and don’t intend to comment again.

    1. And Lovelock is the only such scientist ever mentioned. Showing the ignorance of the “environmental” movement about their one-time guru.

      Lovelock changed his mind when the climategate emails came out – recognising what a pack of liars the alarmists are and saying only the sceptics had “kept the debate sane”

      So a government funded propaganda organisation (the RS gets £45 mill a year) and an honest scientist who believes you are insane are all you can produce. No wonder you refuse to speak!

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