[ CHAPTER 5 ]ENOUGH THROUGHPUT

Limiting Resource Use and Waste Production

The Earth has no way of registering good intentions or future inventions or high hopes. It doesn’t even pay attention to dollars, which are, from a planet’s point of view, just a charming human invention. Planets measure only physical things—energy and materials and their flows into and out of the changing populations of living creatures.

DONELLA MEADOWS1

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

Whether a mansion in Monaco, an apartment in Argentina, or a cottage in Cambodia, every household has a measurable metabolism. Materials, from trash cans to ceiling fans, from apple pies to French fries, flow into the household from external sources. Each household also obtains supplies of energy, such ...

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