On Being the Right Size…

…was a brilliant essay by JBS Haldane that came to mind when a colleague in Germany sent a link to a conference to be held later this year, sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Limits to Growth Revisited is a Volkswagen Foundation Winter School that will be held in Hanover, Germany from November 24 to December 1.

What caught my eye- apart from the fact that the person who sent the link is a good friend of UoH, was that the meeting was not limited to any particular discipline, and was thus really and truly open to all.

Here is what they say on the site: The buzzword of our time, “sustainability”, is closely related to a book published 40 years ago, in 1972: “The Limits to Growth” written by an MIT project team involving Donella and Dennis Meadows. Using computer models in an attempt to quantify various aspects of the future, “Limits to Growth” has shaped new modes of thinking. The book became a bestseller and is still frequently cited when it comes to analyzing growth related to finite resources.

It seems that since then few things have changed. Stagnant growth in some countries, exponential growth in others, finite resources, and an unbroken depletion of the environment still pose pressing questions and should be issues of great concern for everyone. Again the various developments in different societies call for new matching modes of thinking that promise a secure future for everyone. Major questions are: What is smart or good growth? What are the limits of the future? Why are so many findings of the report still unresolved? Will there be solutions? And which ones could that be?

As objectives, they list:  In order to give fresh impetus to the debate, the Volkswagen Foundation aims to foster new thinking and the development of different models in all areas related to the “Limits to Growth” study at the crossroads of natural and social sciences. The Winter School “Limits to Growth Revisited” is directed specifically at 60 highly talented young scholars from related disciplines. The Foundation intends to grant this selected group of academics the opportunity to create networks with scholars from other research communities.

And finally,   The Volkswagen Foundation invites applications from young scholars of all related disciplines who wish to attend the Winter School and are dedicated to working together and giving significant input for and during the Limits to Growth conference.

I hope that some of the UoH fraternity will find the subject of the school sufficiently interesting, and will apply for participation. The last date is April 30.

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4 thoughts on “On Being the Right Size…

  1. Sir, doesnt Volkswagen organizing this conference brings a note of irony into this whole thing? It is a company which has a record of breaking down and dictating Global South Governments to tone down their environmental regulations for their own self-interests. Indeed I find the gesture humiliating for the environmental and workers’ Rights Activists who had for so long caveated Volkswagen’s selfish initiatives.

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