We may have survived the 2012 “apocalypse” but unfortunately we are not “out of the woods” as it seems our time left on the planet is just ticking away. According to a new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, we may only have a few decades left before we face the end of civilization, the real “apocalypse”.
According to Policy Mic:
The report, written by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center along with a team of natural and social scientists, explains that modern civilization is doomed. And there’s not just one particular group to blame, but the entire fundamental structure and nature of our society.
Analyzing five risk factors for societal collapse (population, climate, water, agriculture and energy), the report says that the sudden downfall of complicated societal structures can follow when these factors converge to form two important criteria. Motesharrei’s report says that all societal collapses over the past 5,000 years have involved both “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity” and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor].” This “Elite” population restricts the flow of resources accessible to the “Masses”, accumulating a surplus for themselves that is high enough to strain natural resources. Eventually this situation will inevitably result in the destruction of society.
Elite power, the report suggests, will buffer “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners,” allowing the privileged to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.”
Worst-case scenario predicted by Motesharrei is pretty horrifying. Including a sudden collapse due to famine/scarcity of resources, and a drawn-out breakdown of society due to overconsumption. The best-case scenario involves recognition of the looming catastrophe by Elites and a more equitable restructuring of society, but I honestly feel like we have a better chance at getting rescued by aliens before that EVER happen. The study recommends the following key solutions towards restructuring:
The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth.
Too little, too late, too much of a long-shot because, as of last year, humans are using more resources than the Earth can replenish and the planet’s distribution of resources among its terrestrial inhabitants is massively unequal. This is exactly what happened to Rome and the Mayans, so why are we any different now?
… historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).
Motesharrei’s report concludes that “closely reflecting the reality of the world today … we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” All signs point to the end, yet why do we continue to ignore the signs, and refuse to listen? Why now that we most certainly face impending doom is more emphasis placed on the trivial, as we are more disconnected to one another than ever before? At a time when we need unity more than ever, it seems that the disparity is so polarizing, and it is truly disheartening.
Nafeez Ahmed at The Guardian writes:
“Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies — by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance — have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.”
The truth is a bitter pill to swallow, and sadly when the Earth is destroyed, civilization has collapsed, and life as we know it ceases to exist…will the couture clothing, gold, diamonds, marble floors, massive mansions, palling around with Jay Z, and popping bottles of champagne have really mattered? It’s sad to know that the lasting legacy of the elite lies in the superficial, and it’s even sadder to know how many people just don’t care to listen to the warnings, or look at what’s going on around them. Ignorance is bliss I guess.