Next week, Environment Europe will be joining the Club of Rome 50th Anniversary Meeting. This will be a unique chance to present our new book, ‘ECOSYSTEMS’ to the international audience. Club of Rome is the most respected forum of sustainability thinkers in the world.

The story of the Club of Rome begins with an unlikely encounter between Aurelio Peccei, a successful Italian industrialist, and Alexander King, an eminent Scottish scientist. While travelling around the world for his work, Peccei had grown concerned about the pace of socio-economic development, environmental degradation and the North/South divide. He expressed these concerns in a keynote speech given to ADELA, a new investment company. Through a series of coincidences, Peccei’s speech transcript landed on the desk of Alexander King, who was so impressed that he contacted Peccei and suggested a meeting.

At the invitation of Aurelio Peccei and Alexander King, some 30 European scientists, economists and industrialists gathered in Rome to discuss global problems. The meeting was a monumental flop. King had asked a colleague at the OECD, the astrophysicist Erich Jantsch, to prepare a background paper for discussion. It was a brilliant essay, but too abstract, complicated and controversial. At a dinner afterwards with a small group of participants, they agreed they had been “too foolish, naive and impatient” and simply did not understand the subject enough. They decided to spend the following year educating themselves and call this discussion circle the “Club of Rome”. (History of the Club of Rome)

At the invitation of the Swiss Government, the Club held its first official meeting in Bern. Peccei had invited a Turkish economist and futurologist, Hasan Ozbekhan, to propose a model to study mankind’s predicament. Concerned that it would take too long and cost too much to develop the model, the audience dismissed the proposition. Another scholar present, MIT professor Jay Forrester, then offered a solution. Convinced by the potential of Forrester’s computer models, the Club decided to commission a group of MIT researchers to develop the “World3 Model” and produce the first Report to the Club of Rome.

Early drafts of “The Limits to Growth were leaked to the Dutch press generating an overwhelming response. The book ultimately went on to sell 900,000 copies in a country with a population of 13 million at the time. Frits Boettcher, the head of the Dutch delegation to the OECD Committee on Science and Technology, then persuaded the Club to establish “The Netherlands Association for the Club of Rome”, the first National Association. The foundation of other national associations quickly followed.

Using a methodology developed by pioneering systems-scientist Jay Forrester, and under the supervision of Dennis Meadows, a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology produced the first Report to the Club of Rome. Considered a classic in the sustainability movement, The Limits to Growth was the first study to question the viability of continued growth in the human ecological footprint. It also broke new ground as the first global model commissioned by an independent body rather than a government or the UN. Translated into over 30 languages, the book has sold more than 16 million copies.

At the initiative of the Club of Rome, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky hosted a meeting on “North-South Problems” with six other heads of state. The two-day private brainstorming session ended with a press conference for 300 journalists and the publication of what became known as the “Salzburg Statement”. This statement emphasised that the 1973/4 oil crisis was part of a global problem and not simply a political issue, as many then believed.

In 2012, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, a German leading expert in resources efficiency, and Anders Wijkman, a Swedish politician and former member of the European parliament, were appointed co-Presidents. Ernst is the lead author of three Reports to the Club of Rome: Factor Four (1995), Limits to Privatization (2005), and Factor Five (2009). Anders Wijkman is co-author of the Report to the Club of Rome Bankrupting Nature (2012).

You are most welcome to attend the Private View of the ‘ECOSYSTEMS’ exhibition taking place 13:00-18:00 on 12 November 2018 at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University, Andrew Wiles Building, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6GG. Here you could order your copy of a limited edition album while they are still travelling to Oxford by sea:  #photography #sustainability #landscape #nature #environment #green #forest #biodiversity #oxygen #pollination #water #food #fibre #inspiration #spirituality #connection #social #education #knowledge #art


History of the Club of Rome:


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