Abstract for: Metaphorical Models for Limits to Growth and Industrialisation

In this interactive half-day workshop we develop and run system dynamics models and simulators to explore sustainability and limits to growth in industrial society. I first describe a small model of the fishing industry. I then use the same model as a metaphor to think about global growth and industrialisation and to interpret the closed-loop feedback structure and dynamics of Jay Forrester’s World Dynamics model. This famously concise (yet dynamically intricate) model represents an industrial society whose growth is eventually curtailed. We also consider how the conceptual framework from World Dynamics might be adapted to address the societal effects of global warming. In the spirit of SD conference workshops, participants not only listen but also join-in. There is an opportunity to build a tiny metaphorical model and to run a sustainability simulator. We then use these experiences to discuss the role of models in shaping public debate and political action on global warming and climate change.