It’s the end of the world as we know it . . .
A new study by NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center indicates that our current civilization could collapse in but a few more decades unless the reasons for our present decline are addressed. The study, written by mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, and a group of social and natural scientists, reveals that modern-day civilizations always fall. It’s generally not a matter of one sole factor such as climate change or a major war.
Civilizations rise and fall as part of a recurrent cycle in world history. The study notes that an extreme disruption of a civilization because of “precipitous collapse, often lasting centuries, have been quite common.” The report goes on to state that even complex, advanced civilizations are vulnerable to collapse which in itself makes one question the realistic sustainability of modern-day civilization. The paper also questions the idea that technology is the answer to all of the problems facing civilization today.
Motesharrei and company investigated the dynamics of human nature of past examples of failed civilizations. This aided them in identifying the most important interrelated factors that could assist in determining the risk of the collapse of civilization today. The list of significant factors involved include: agriculture, climate, energy and water. In fact these things are essential to the process of collapse over the past five thousand years.
The researchers, however, were quick to state that the “worst-case scenarios” facing civilization today are not inevitable. In fact, they believe that appropriate structural changes and policies could prevent collapse as well as lay the grounds for a newer, more stable civilization. The key factors to change include reducing economic inequality in order to ensure fairer distribution of resources, a significant reduction in “resource consumption” through the use of less exhaustive renewable resources and a reduction in population growth.
The study concludes: “Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)