A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”
The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.
It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:
“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”
By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.
These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “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]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”
Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:
“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”
The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:
“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”
Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.
Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:
“…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”
Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that “with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites.”
In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “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).”
Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:
“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”
However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.
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:
“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.”
The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business – and consumers – to recognise that ‘business as usual’ cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.
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.
Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books.
“It remains a fact that the accident is going on,” said Kan, who was prime minister when disaster struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant three years ago. “Despite that, the Liberal Democratic Party is trying to reboot many nuclear power plants.”
Speaking in front of an audience that included German lawmakers in Berlin, Kan said that currently, the plant is still plagued with contaminated water problems and nearly 140,000 evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture remain unable to go back to their homes.
Kan also made it clear that there has been no major disruption to Japanese society and the economy, even though a majority of Japan’s nuclear reactors have been mothballed.
Certainly, Kan’s statements are fair. But, on the one hand, Japan’s struggling economy has been hit hard by the need to import fossil fuels to replace the thermal energy production lost when Japan’s nuclear power plants were idled.
The trade deficit is so tough that Prime Minister Abe’s aggressive fiscal strategies have only pushed the economic improvement so far, as it has been pulled down by the country’s expenditures in importing fossil fuel.
Kan’s message was perceived well by the predominantly anti-nuclear audience.
Following the Fukushima disaster, Germany, for example, had decided to shut down all of its nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.
Tokyo Electric Power Co said Wednesday it had suspended a radioactive water treatment system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant due to deteriorating performance. The operator found Tuesday that one of the three lines in the cleanup system did not eliminate radioactive material sufficiently.
Tokyo Electric halted all three lines called the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), but it did not detect any defects in the other two, said Akitsuka Kobayashi, a company spokesman.
In February, the operator started the three ALPS lines simultaneously on a trial basis, but the system has encountered a series of problems.
If all the lines operated fully, about 750 tons of toxic water could be treated every day, Kobayashi said.
New easier-to-use radiation detectors will be available for residents of Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture as of next month as radiation cleanup efforts continue in the wake of the March 2011 breakdown and subsequent meltdowns and wastewater leaks at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Unlike the detectors residents use now to check cesium levels in food, home-grown farm produce or edible wild plants, the new ones will be faster operating and won’t require cutting 500 grams of food into small pieces, prefecture officials said.
Each of the Fukushima municipalities will have at least one such detector installed at public facilities and available at no charge, for which a special budget has been set aside.
The new detectors are capable of detecting the lowest cesium levels of about 20 becquerels per kilogram.
Voice of Russia, the Japan Times
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_19/Fukushima-nuclear-disaster-still-remains-unresolved-former-Japanese-PM-2677/
Scientists say that very little traces of toxic cesium-134 and cesium-137 from Fukushima nuclear power plant have been detected in Canada, Vancouver.
“The detected concentrations are much lower than the Canadian safety limit for cesium levels in drinking water,” John Smith, a research scientist at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, said.
Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, but cesium-134 has a half-life of just two years, indicating that the material detected in Vancouver is of recent vintage, and not a product of older nuclear waste,according to the international press.
Traces of contamination from Fukushima might float across the Pacific Ocean and reach the West Coast sometime this year, Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity (CMER) said.
March 18, 2014
A great tragedy is unfolding before our eyes today.
It is the tragic fall and devolution of the human species.
For all intents and purposes, humanity as a whole, has crossed the rubicon and is now plunging over the cliff at break neck speed
only to descend into the abyss of his own making.
The fatal blow came at the turn of the millennium, specifically around the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
The decision was made by technocratic jewish elitists to turn America and the rest of the planet into a fascist police state prison-
complete with surveillance cameras, restrictions on human freedom and trillions of dollars, euros, yen etc… being funneled into
a military-industrial-intelligence-security control grid designed to technologically enslave and kill off a large majority of the world’s
population. A concerted global depopulation/eugenics strategy to “cull the masses” and engage in wholesale campaigns of slaughter
and genocide has unfortunately been released upon the human species.
The genius, vision, brilliance and expertise of the world’s peoples, institutions and nations SHOULD have been invested into building a
Global Green World Order for Mankind. The world’s wealth could have helped us develop alternative energy sources (solar, wind,
zero-point anti-gravity etc…) to permanently wean our civilization off the global oil spigot. If we had collectively chosen this path,
we would be well on our way toward solving the global climate change threat which has now plunged the us into a global environmental
catastrophe threatening the the lives of BILLIONS of our fellow human beings (and all other life on Earth) in the years and decades to
In a nutshell, the decision has been made to pursue death and not life. The deliberate poisoning our our food, water, soil and air with
GMO food, fluoride, radiation and CO2 emissions has unfortunately taken precedence over the construction of a healthy, non-polluting,
sustainable, energy independent, and life-affirming global society. As the Death Star juggernaut grows and metastisizes into every facet
of our lives in the years to come, so too, do we lose the environmental ethos and infrastructure that would have permitted our species to survive and thrive
well into the 21st century and beyond.
What is coming down the pike on the dark side (represented by the current powers and forces of evil and death) is what is known as the “mark of the
beast’, in biblical terminology. This biometrically computer based, global electronic spy and surveillance financial control grid, means
that one will not be able to buy nor sell without taking the “mark”.
If the path of global environmental sustainability has been chosen, there would have been no need for any control grid or any sort of “mark” being
imposed upon the sovereign citizens of any nation. We would have learned to live within the biosphere’s limits and thrive in an
overflowing system of abundance,, wealth and prosperity for all. If the light and life side of the force has been chosen, we would have
abandoned all forms of nuclear power, energy and weapons and Fukushima probably would not have ever happened. Free energy systems
would abound and billions of hours of needless human toil could have been prevented.
The Great Tragedy of Mankind today is that we have illegal police state surveillance cameras spying on us for the corporate oligarchy
instead of clean, fresh, nourishing and life-affirming organic agricultural products in our supermarkets.
We have a global internet run by a bunch of NSA control freak psychopaths, when the network could have become the informational
backbone of an ecologically sustainable, free, democratic, privacy and free-speech protected society based on love, compassion,
nurturance and cooperation. This would have aided in developing the law, infrastructure and intelligence necessary for the human
species to become an advanced civilization on Earth. Instead, we now only have war, evil, death, destruction and enslavement to look
Our future generations, if any survive, will look back on this INSANE millennial decision to pursue the ways of evil, death and destruction
as being the greatest, most colossal mistake ever made in the entire history of the human race. We had the golden opportunity to evolve
into a highly advanced environmentally sustainable world civilization and reach for the stars. What a glorious future we could all have
had. But that opportunity is now forever lost.
The only conceivable action to take now is for all good hearted people to completely separate themselves from the technocratic elites
who are plunging the human species into the abyss of planetary extinction. It is the International JEWISH Rothschild Banking Cartel,
headquartered in the CITY of London, UK who are primarily responsible for this fatal and highly pathological breach in world affairs.
Its time to abandon the ways and works of the Rothschild Jew and decisively sever any ties we have with their evil system of state power and
Let us heed the words of Revelations 18:4: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not
partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.“
Berkeley, California USA
On March 17, commodities adviser Jim Sinclair spoke in an interview with Greg Hunter of USA Watchdog on gold, the markets, and ongoing events taking place between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine. During the 30 minute interview, Sinclair laid out a chilling scenario where Russia has positioned themselves to be one move away from collapsing the U.S. economy, and that one wrong move by President Obama could set the entire scenario in motion.
Jim Sinclair: To sanction Russia is to forget that Russia supplies Europe with its gas supplies. I honestly believe sanctioning Russia is the same as shooting yourself in the foot.
Greg Hunter: So Russia could not only say hey, we want gold for our payment (oil), but they could say, hey… we want you to pay us in rubles.
JS: Or pay us in anything. Also, it makes energy cheaper. Why would anyone want to pay in dollars if they can pay in their own currency?
GH: Once Russia started doing that, would there be any coming back from it? (For the dollar) Wouldn’t that be the beginning of the end for the Petro-Dollar?
JS: Russia has the capacity, the inclination of course, to do just one single thing… accept payment for energy in any currency you wish to give. – USA Watchdog
Since the U.S. tied the dollar to oil, the future of America’s monetary system and economy was reliant upon all global oil producers following the Petro-Dollar agreement, which from 1974 to the present has been backed by our economic and military power. But as Russia rose from the ashes of the former Soviet Union, and grew into becoming the world’s largest oil producing nation, the U.S. could no longer enforce the Petro-Dollar through economic and military threats since Russia is their equal when you consider their alliances with China and other BRICs nations.
It is said that stock markets are forward thinking and project what will happen six months into the future. And if you look at what has taken place for the dollar since Ukraine’s uprising started and Russia moved into the Crimea, the dollar itself by falling below 80 on the dollar index, is telling the world that it not only recognizes the potential of becoming irrelevant should Russia bypass the SWIFT system and begin selling oil in any other currency or asset class, but that the U.S. could potentially trigger its own demise by imposing sanctions using the SWIFT system as a weapon, and force Russia to enact their nuclear economic option.
In a global environment where perceptions are reversed, and the United States is now being seen by the world as the ‘Evil Empire’, Russia is using America’s own Petro-Dollar system against them to grow in power and bring the U.S. to the brink of economic collapse. And whether it is Russia or the U.S. itself that pulls the trigger, the future is inevitably rushing towards an end of dollar hegemony. The only question that remains is whether the U.S. has another plan ready to fill the gap, just as they did when they left the gold standard and replaced it with the oil standard forty plus years ago.