Original post from April 23, 2008
Ecological Internet and this blog are dedicated to highlighting the severity of global ecological crises, including threatened abrupt climate change, while promoting rigorous and sufficient bio-centric responses. Now more main-stream think tanks and environmentalists are catching up with us.
New Scientist recently published two articles on “The Collapse of Civilization”, exploring why the demise of civilization may be inevitable. They note “recent insights from fields such as complexity theory suggest… once a society develops beyond a certain level of complexity it becomes increasingly fragile… it reaches a point at which even a relatively minor disturbance can bring everything crashing down.”
The article highlights several keys to staving off collapse including promoting decentralized production of food and energy, and allowing for partial collapse and renewal. Several important books on the subject are noted.
A new report by a leading British security think tank finds the global response to climate change to have been slow and inadequate, and warns of conflict on the scale of World Wars lasting for centuries. The report calls for a ten-fold increase in climate change research and development (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/04/22/easecurity122.xml). Even Al Gore admits his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” raised awarness, but did not prompt action. It is hoped Gore’s coming sequel will focus upon highlighting the global ecological crisis in its entirety and sufficient responses.
It is good to see mainstream scientists, activists and policy-makers delving into ecological limits to growth and the likelihood, should the current status quo continue, of global ecological collapse. There is a growing consensus that an increasingly ecologically diminished, complex and networked world has made civilization very vulnerable.
To the consternation of some, even my environmental brethren, the organization I head, Ecological Internet, frequently emphasizes that the inevitable outcome of current environmental trends is apocalyptic ecological collapse [search] that can only be averted through personal sacrifice and societal change.
I have studied and worked on global ecology and limits to growth issues for 21 years including degrees in Political Science, Conservation Biology and Sustainable development and a PhD in Land Resources. This is my learned observation.
How ironic that broad-based acceptance that the world is heading towards global ecological collapse is good news. Yet despite clear trends, the outcome is not assured, and once a problem and its severity are fully acknowledged, it can be solved.