The latest post from Nate Hagens’ website is a remarkable conversation between Nate and Gaya Herrinmgton
The Limits to Growth (LTG) report is one of the most well known assessments of source and sink constraints to human economic aspirations. LTG has been reviewed and updated numerous times over the last 50 years, most recently by econometrician and sustainability researcher Gaya Herrington. Today, I have a conversation with Gaya about her new book, Five Insights for Avoiding Global Collapse, a more in-depth and personal telling of her 2021 review of the Limits to Growth study.
Gaya is a Dutch econometrician, sustainability researcher, and women’s rights activist. Gaya holds masters’ degrees in both econometrics and sustainability studies. After becoming disillusioned by initially working in the financial sector Gaya became the executive director of StoereVrouwen, a non-profit Dutch women’s movement promoting sustainable economic policies through activism. In 2014, Herrington became the Director of Sustainability Services of KPMG. Most recently, her study on the projections made in the 1972 Limits to Growth report was widely publicized internationally. She is currently Vice President Sustainability Research at Schneider Electric.
More than 50 years after the original LTG report was released, the model trajectories remain relevant – and also controversial – as we continue to track the ‘business as usual’ scenario, which results in collapse in the ‘standard run’ of the original LTG model. Are we locked in on this path and are our growth based economic systems optimized to keep us there? Is it possible to shift our goals to a different path, away from growth, focused on the well-being of all life? Can we plan or mitigate the path to descent?
For those who have yet to find Nate’s website
The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens is a podcast that explores the systems science underpinning the human predicament. Conversation topics will span human behavior, monetary/economic systems, energy, ecology, geopolitics and the environment. The goal of the show is to inform more humans about the path ahead and inspire people to play a role in our collective future. Guests will be from a wide range of scientists, leaders, activists, thinkers, and doers.
We have spent the last century harnessing enormous amounts of fossil energy to build a world of complexity like nothing seen before. In the coming century, humanity will experience A Great Simplification, beginning with the onset of financial and economic turbulence, followed by contraction. The ensuing simplification will be among the most significant events ever experienced by our species.
Those who look through a systems lens can serve as early visionaries of a simpler life with new ways of relating to technology, to consumption, to each other and to Earth’s ecosystems.
Our system – and the components, processes and interactions that comprise it – is incredibly complex. On this podcast we will try to ‘simplify’ the ‘great’ issues of our time to expand the number of people making sense of our reality.
Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles.
Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minn
Nate’s weekly podcasts and occasional “Frankly” monologues are a wonderful collection of pieces. They have made me pause my own thinking. There is so much I didn’t know I didn’t know.