Views of the World There are four general views of the world: - - Spaceship Earth - Gaia Hypothesis - Limits to Growth - Cornucopian Views of the World Spaceship Earth Concept Spaceship Earth is a view expressing concern over the use of Earth’s limited resources. The idea was presented by Henry George. In 1879, he wrote Earth is a well-provisioned ship on which we sail through space. If the bread and beef above decks seem to grow scarce, we open a hatch and there is a new supply of resources we never used. Views of the World Spaceship Earth Concept…2 The phrase was popularized by Buckminster Fuller in his 1963 book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Fuller refers to fossil fuels. He suggested that we can make all of humanity successful via oilrelated industrial evolution PROVIDED we do not exhaust in a split second of astronomical history the billions of years' energy supplies aboard our Spaceship Earth. Views of the World Spaceship Earth Concept…3 Spaceship Earth regards Earth as a tiny, fragile sphere with limited resources, a rapidly growing population and a threatened life-support system. This viewpoint was fully expressed in Kenneth Boulding’s 1966 essay The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth. Views of the World Gaia Hypothesis Gaia Hypothesis visualizes the Earth as a dynamic and living organism. The Earth is a “geo-biosphere” in which life creates an environment on Earth suitable for life to continue. The 1960s theory was formed by scientist Sir James Lovelock. In 1979, he released his book Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. Lovelock hypothesized that Earth’s living matter functioned like a single, selfregulating organism. Lovelock named this living system after the Greek goddess Gaia. Views of the World Gaia…2 Gaia Hypothesis is nontechnical. Among some scientists, Gaia lacks scientific rigor, and offers quasi-mystical thinking about the planet Earth. Yet, everyone accepts life and the physical environment significantly influence one another. Views of the World Limits to Growth Limits to Growth was presented in 1972 by the Club of Rome. Based on computer models, the Limits to Growth theory predicts possible outcomes of population growth. There are limits to growth because (1) the Earth has finite resources (e.g., space, food, energy) and (2) renewable resources (e.g., wind power, solar) can be overused, depleted or destroyed. Unabated human population will eventually exceed Earth’s carrying capacity (i.e., the maximum number of people that can be sustained by Earth’s resources), and human populations/societies will crash. Views of the World Limits to Growth…2 The 1972 model is a Pessimistic Model because the world’s systems – natural, social and economic – were predicted to collapse within 100 years. I In 1976, the Club of Rome produced the Optimistic Model. Within 200 years, technological solutions would be found to offset any impacts of human population expansion and resource exploitation. A more moderate model was used in 2000 and a less extreme outcome was predicted. Views of the World Cornucopian Thesis Cornucopian Thesis argues that there is no limit to growth and the world’s economies will expand without significant bounds. Rather, people create a short term problem, and using imagination, technology and innovation, people will solve problems. As technology advances, new resources will be found or developed to take the place of depleted old resources. Implicit in this theory is Earth’s resources are not finite. Most Cornucopians are economists who believe constant economic growth will provide solutions.