(100c) Limits to Growth and Global Sustainability of Food-Energy-Water Nexus

Authors: 
Diwekar, U. M., Vishwamitra Research Institute
Cabezas, H., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
A mathematical representation of the major dynamics of the World, inspired by the “Limits to Growth” model[1] constructed in the 1970s, has been under construction for approximately the past ten years[2]. The mathematical representation includes an ecosystem with food-web model, a human population, industry, energy generation, a macro-economy, and rudiments of a legal system with private property, taxation, and regulation. The work was started in 2004 at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the supervision of Dr. Heriberto Cabezas. Details of the model can be found in the scientific literature[3]. Around 2010, the project was transferred to the Vishwamitra Research Institute led by Dr. Urmila Diwekar in Chicago, Illinois, USA where the work has proceeded under the joint supervision of Dr. Urmila Diwekar and Professor Heriberto Cabezas from the Peter Pazmany Catholic University. Several publications have resulted from this research effort[4],[5], two of which are cited here. The mathematical model now includes water also making it a system where food-energy-water nexus can be studied and is developed sufficiently so that scenario analysis shows that consumption increase predicted for the future makes the compartments, i.e. species, of this model unsustainable. However, complex network analysis offers a pathway to analyze various versions of this model. The value of the model is it provides the conceptual machinery “steering” the system away from




[1] Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. (1972). The limits to growth. New York, 102.

[2] Cabezas, H., Pawlowski, C.W., Whitmore, H.Wm., & A.L. Mayer, "On the Sustainability of Integrated Model Systems with Industrial, Ecological, & Macroeconomic Components," Res., Cons. & Recycl., 50, 122-129 (2007).

[3] Kotecha, P., Diwekar, U.M. and H. Cabezas, “Model Based Approach to Study the Impact of Biofuels on the Sustainability of an Integrated System,“ Clean Tech. Env. Pol.,” 15 (1), 21-33 (2013).

[4] Benavides, P.T., Diwekar, U. and H. Cabezas, “Controllability of Complex Networks for Sustainable System Dynamics,” J. Complex Networks (2015), published on-line. DOI: 10.1093/comnet/cnu051.

[5] Doshi, R., Diwekar, U., Benavides, P.T., Yenkie, K.M. & H. Cabezas, “Maximizing Sustainability of Ecosystem Model through Socio-Economic Policies Derived from Multivariable Optimal Control Theory,” Clean Tech. Env. Policy, 17 (6), 1573-1583 (2015). DOI: 10.1007/s10098-014-0889-2.