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"Spaceship Earth": Sufficiency and Efficiency Ideals Prior to the Sustainability Debate
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0866-0487
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper sketches research on Spaceship Earth as a figure that reconciled divergent Western visions of future earth in the Cold War period. Like the ark and the lifeboat, the spaceship presented a ‘one-boat’ image of humanity, fragile community, limited resources and the need for a balance of power. At the same time, Spaceship Earth drew on Space Age visions of creating ecologically sufficient and technologically efficient life support systems. The spaceship became a blueprint for managing the earth in a sustainable fashion. This 'proto-sustainability' combined holistic and cybernetic ideals of earth management, and it informed the program of Sustainable Development formulated in the 1980s by promoting not only economic and ecological stability through resource conservation and material recycling but also ecological modernization and economic growth through proficient scientific-technological design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
systems ecology, human ecology, science fiction, ark, lifeboat, spaceship, Space Age, sustainability
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Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-157503OAI: diva2:770265
“Environmental Humanities & New Ecologies in the 21st Century”. Shiv Nadar University, New Delhi/Uttar Pradesh, September 29.

NV 20150416

Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-10 Last updated: 2015-04-16Bibliographically approved

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