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NASA says civilization to fall

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)

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.
  • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

    Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update Paperback
    by Donella H. Meadows
    Addresses this issue. In the past when civilizations have collapsed the collapse has been local. There were always new resources just over the horizon.
    That is not the case today. Our civilization is global. If it collapses it will be a worldwide collapse and there will be no new resources to support the rise of a new civilization.
    Our use of resources has followed an exponential growth curve.
    Entropy dictates that a renewable first world industrial economy is not possible.
    It is time to move into space to stay. Only off-planet resources will supply the unlimited resources needed for the next stage of civilization.

    • Will Phoenix

      Hi David,
      I am hoping you are not just Meadows agent lol. Yes, some think this is just a political move or the results of one but then why would a book like that be out there? NASA scientists can’t be all wrong, right? I don’t buy it as just something Obama encouraged. Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading my stuff!

      • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

        Read my comment thread. I cite the best sources relevant to the topic. A sustainable future is something I care about.
        Population growth, and the growing wealth of the 3rd world are putting an unsustainable strain on our environment.
        Poverty and or Death is a hard sell for most people that would rather have wealth and abundance.
        There is a path to a sustainable future of universal abundance. Unfortunately we are not on it.

        • Will Phoenix

          I have not yet covered it now but now NASA is trying to distance itself from this story or rather the study in this story. On the other hand, I just came across another lead from NASA that says we need to go into space and terraform another couple of planets. I sure won’t be on the first planetary moving van I can promise you that. Thanks again for your comments!

          • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

            Terra-forming another planet (mars) is something that would take generations. It won’t happen anytime soon.
            Launch costs are such that it will never be affordable to move large numbers of people off planet with rocket technology.
            Building colonies in space or underground on the moon would be achievable if we had a better understanding of bio-spheres. We have a lot to learn about building self contained bio-spheres that will support people. This knowledge would help us deal with climate change.

            I used to work for a multi-billionaire. One of his big projects puzzled me at the time. In light of the possible collapse of civilization in the next 50 or 70 years it would make sense.

          • Will Phoenix

            I honestly did not cover the story about terraforming three other planets after all. It could very well have been something they were considering for the far future. I do think I will focus more on NASA related stories in the future though because many people are interested in at least some aspects of their various projects. The other issue with biospheres is the unknown human element. Sometimes people think they can handle a situation like that and then they learn differently.

          • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

            It’s not easy to be selected to winter in Antarctica. It takes a special kind of person to live in close quarters with others for a long time and not want to kill those annoying people.
            The problem with biospheres is that the smaller they are the harder they are to make sustainable. If we are ever to live off planet this is something we must master.
            A much greater understanding of biology is required. This is research we should be pursuing more. Perhaps a competition among colleges.

          • Will Phoenix

            That is exactly what I was talking about, David! I imagine it’s especially rough for people who are “only children”.

          • Zen Galacticore

            Good points. And conceiving of crew compositions of long-endurance manned space missions is no doubt a fascinating line-of-work to be in!

            As you implied by, “a special kind of person” for bases (not just in winter), in Antarctica, it will be a serious “job interview”, to judge those best to be a part of a crew that is going to be travelling for possibly years to their destination.

            To compare such selection of compatible crews to the Ye Olde Sailing Ships of yore is pertinent enough, or to modern crews on modern seagoing vessels. But even those ships-of-yore could stop and get fresh water here and there, or stopover on an island, and they always had fresh air, and didn’t have to worry about being afloat in lifeless, cold and hostile space.

            And modern ships at sea, well, we can always remove those crew members that prove psychologically unfit for service. Not so, as you’ve intimated, on a long-distance, interplanetary or interstellar voyage.

          • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

            Yes it does make for difficult interpersonal dynamics. Which also makes good reality TV. Which generates cash flow early in the mission.
            I am an advocate of establishing a moon colony for the purpose of commercializing the moon.
            Living in close quarters with others in a stress full environment is stressful and most people don’t have the right stuff to do it.

          • Zen Galacticore

            And then there’s that pesky problem that many a planetary scientists, exobiologists, and general terraforming enthusiasts never mention about Mars:

            Mars has no molten iron core, and therefore no Magnetosphere. With no magnetosphere, there’s no magnetic, literal force-field protection against lethal cosmic rays. Furthermore, Mars has no ozone layer to protect against much less lethal, but still harmful, ultra-violet rays from Sol.

            While I’m a big fan of the concept of terra-forming other worlds, and I think we can probably create an ozone layer for Mars, creating a magnetosphere is going to be a fair shot harder to do! :)

          • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

            Cosmic rays will require shielding which is mass, which is not economical to lift from earth with rockets. The answer of course is to “live-off-the-land” as much as possible, and get as many heavy things as possible in space.

            For very many reasons it makes a lot of sense for mankind to start on the moon.

            If we are to become a space faring race like Star Trek, the only logical path now, is to start on the moon.

            Currently it is not possible to own what you find on the moon, so there is no profit in going there. Private companies have billions of dollars to invest and could make a lot of money on the moon.

            The moon actually has more exploitable mineral resources than the earth does. It is also an ideal launch point for our journey outward, and we have done nothing for thirty years!

            USA maned spaceflight has gone no where beyond LEO for thirty years and now we can’t even do that. It is very depressing.

    • Mombasa69

      Good comment, but no one wants to invest in anything that doesn’t give a quick return and fast profit, our very nature will eventually end human civilization as we know it, back to a tiny human population for centuries.

      All our huge cities will be little more than tree covered ruins.

      • http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Lost-Money-Corrupts-Congress--/dp/0446576441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394209018&sr=8-1&keywords=republic+lost David D

        I hope you are wrong about this. There are examples of long term investment. On of the spin-off advantages of being space-faring is that if you don’t like someone you can throw a really big rock at them. Advantage of the high ground, basic to military thought.
        As far as going back to the stone age I don’t see it. Perhaps war over resources, depression, starvation, going from 7 Billion + people, to around 1 Billion with a general tech base of 1880’s coal economy but with some ultra-rich high tech hold out billionaires forming a new royal class. People are likely to hold out for thousands of years. They are unlikely to ever have the resources to reach for the stars.
        Perhaps someday aliens will visit our future world and we could hijack their starship :-)
        We are after all, just the kind of barbarians that would do such a thing.

  • Mombasa69

    “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.”

    Civilization is f**ked then, the next generation, the one’s that survive, will be living in a new stone age.