Views of the World

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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.
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