Last Call: A Documentary Film About The Limits to Growth

Published: September 20th, 2012

By Sarah Parkinson

“There are physical limits to growth which, given current trends, are very likely to be encountered even within the lifetime of our children…The most likely outcome of running into these limits if we continue to ignore them is that we’ll overshoot those limits and collapse…Every year we delay decreases our ultimate options.”   –Dennis Meadows, 1972


While this warning has been widely publicized and discussed since the Limits to Growth team first released their book in 1972, we have yet to take meaningful action to avoid the collapse they predicted. Last Call, a new documentary film due out in spring 2013, revisits the message of The Limits to Growth and demonstrates its increasing urgency 40 years later.

Last Call explores the scenarios presented in The Limits to Growth and the linkages the study draws between climate change and current problems such as extreme weather events, human conflict, poverty, hunger, financial crisis, resource deficits, and overpopulation. It will focus on the key players involved in the Limits to Growth study, including authors Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows, and William Behrens. The film will combine vintage footage from the 1970s with recent interviews and speeches.

As part of the project, the film crew will travel to the Upper Valley in late October to meet some of the people and places connected to Donella (Dana) Meadows. While here, they will film Cobb Hill, the farm and co-housing community Dana founded in Vermont. They will also see Dana’s archives at Dartmouth College’s Rauner Library, interview friends and colleagues who worked with her at the Sustainability Institute (now DMI), and visit Chelsea Green Publishing, which released much of Dana’s important writing.

While Last Call’s trailer begins with the example of a chess match, there’s no doubting the documentary’s message: infinite growth is certainly no game. The film makes clear that we’ll have to act fast to avoid the collapse predicted in The Limits to Growth and move instead to a new model of equity and sustainability.


For more information about Last Call, visit

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About The Donella Meadows Project

The mission of the Donella Meadows Project is to preserve Donella (Dana) H. Meadows’s legacy as an inspiring leader, scholar, writer, and teacher; to manage the intellectual property rights related to Dana’s published work; to provide and maintain a comprehensive and easily accessible archive of her work online, including articles, columns, and letters; to develop new resources and programs that apply her ideas to current issues and make them available to an ever-larger network of students, practitioners, and leaders in social change.  Read More

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