The present model followed for advancement and development of the world’s global civilization can be summed up as the “business as usual” growth paradigm. The main components of this paradigm are growth, commerce, consumption and economics. Most of us understand this as capitalism, the competition for resources, labor, profits and economic activity.
These are the pistons powering the engine of human global activity in modern societies, the supercharged V-8 engine of the modern human enterprise.
However, they are also the gnashing wheels of global decline and resource destruction which are leading the world to collapse.
The end of the world as we know it is a happening event, occurring daily. The incessant demand of civilization for business as usual is voraciously consuming the world’s remaining resources to the point of total global collapse. Competition for land, water, food and resources has reached crisis levels, with accompanying wars, economic sanctions, deforestation and desertification and anthropogenic global climate change.
Zero-growth advocates seek a wholesale change of the status quo in the hopes to avoid collapse. However, zero-growth will not be enough. Current consumption rates of energy, food, fuel, land, timber, minerals and other natural resources are far, far in excess of sustainable levels even with zero-growth of present population numbers.
The only real solution is negative growth. Contraction of world population levels and economy, human activity and consumption, limited commerce and non-destructive economics. This is diametrically opposed to the present status quo of world activity, development and investments, and the intention of world governments, and receives scant interest, despite being the only viable long-term solution for human survival.
Current extraction and depletion rates of petroleum are primary indicators of the world’s future decline. A petroleum based global economy cannot survive past its depletion rate. Human civilization is highly dependent upon oil energy, for all of its activity, including sustaining or growing human populations.
Alternative energy resources are being increasingly utilized, but recent studies indicate that within the United States, that we can only expect to achieve a maximum of 6% of our present energy consumption through the use of alternative energy sources such as wind power.
Other solutions are proposed, tar sands (highly destructive to the environment), coal (same), hydro, nuclear, bio-fuels, wind, solar, and tidal. All suffer from scalability and a rather serious lack of existing infrastructure and investment throughout the world. None are zero-polluting or “zero-emissions” since all require technology development with the associated environmental costs and their maintenance.
Most are associated with rare-earth elements already in short-supply. As non-renewable resources, these elements are critical to any “switch over” to new technologies to meet global energy demands. However, it is already recognized that we cannot meet global demand. Any future demand of these critical elements is a pipe-dream.
Often overlooked, the development of alternative energy “solutions” actually requires the initial petroleum energy resource to mine the minerals, manufacture the technology and deploy the installations. In time, even this won’t be possible and as our alternative energy solutions will wear out, break down and become unmaintainable for lack of spare parts (and the energy required to make them), they will eventually fail — forever.
The so-called “post-carbon world” is a world where humans face the dark without their mechanical slaves. There are many people working on these scenarios and solutions, speculating and “planning” for global adaption and / or decline. But in the midst of this single energy issue, the business as usual paradigm rules the present day.
There are in fact many other issues of even greater importance. To list a few: food production, fresh water, arable land, human populations, natural resources. Each of these issues are already in global crisis now, and each will be dramatically worsened by a decline in the availability and quality / abundance of energy.
The only exception to this is some of the world’s natural resources will benefit since humans will have less opportunity to exploit them so thoroughly in an energy-depleted world. Other natural resources will be dramatically worsened, such as forests, as fuel wood is rapidly consumed to support existing populations (until such time as population collapse happens).
Yet despite this growing awareness of increasing global crisis and decline, the current practice of business as usual ensures collapse on a apocalyptic scale.
Present human populations are far in excess of sustainable levels without massive energy inputs being increasingly leveraged throughout the entire world. Yet energy decline is widely known and recognized. It is by no means a stretch of the imagination to state that we cannot even begin to maintain our present populations without massive sources of energy, nor can we hope to continue to achieve growth or economic expansion on any scale without a continued supply of this now-essential energy.
Even zero-growth is not sustainable and will be quickly discovered to be impossible, since we cannot maintain present global population levels and resource depletion rates indefinitely. Humanity will be literally forced into a negative growth scenario.
I strongly suspect that this will be a truly horrific time for humanity. Population decline is never “easy”, and oftentimes occurs because of catastrophic events — war, natural disaster, famine, environmental upheaval or disease (and fascism). What I think is unrecognized is that all of these catastrophic events will probably occur in successive and repeating order. This will happen because of competition and economic decline and collapse, and because of environmental factors which we are already witnessing throughout the world.
Neither zero-growth or negative growth will be voluntarily chosen. But they will both happen as resources run out, and as economic decline continues to worsen throughout the world. Because the business as usual paradigm will be viciously maintained as long as humanly possible, war will break out, again and again in competition for resources (we’ve already fought two in the past ten years, there will be many more all over the world).
New disasters are happening on a near-daily basis already, many which can be directly traced to human causes. Humanity is also seeing an upsurge of new diseases and superbugs which are immune to the world’s best antibiotics. Famine is a daily occurrence now — in a still energy-soaked world. This can only dramatically worsen as time goes on.
For a quick daily “fix” on these and other events, read Desdemona Despair every day. I simply don’t have the time anymore to post all the links and stories shown there. The ongoing decline in the environment is accelerating, faster and faster and faster. If you are not already deeply scared then you are grossly under informed.
Beyond any shadow of doubt, we are facing TEOTWAWKI. In fact, this “event” is already here for tens of millions of people throughout the world. No singular event can truly define this horizon, as many separate but distinctly linked events can be traced as the cause.
The world’s governments are still chained to BAU however, seemingly incapable and even unconcerned about the precipice from which they’ve fallen. The “forward looking views” expressed by world leaders is in stark contrast to world realities. The same could be said for nearly all business and commerce — the supercharged V-8 engine and driving wheels of global decline and resource destruction (and climate collapse).
We’ve gotten business as usual, which has served up TEOTWAWKI as the main course. We thought for the longest time that we were receiving something else, but have belatedly discovered that this energy intensive civilization isn’t sustainable anymore and that our activity has now threatened all life on the planet, even our own.
We’re are NOT being given any choices anymore. Once we crossed the threshold of sustainability (a long time ago) we committed ourselves to a one-way path with horrific consequences. In case you do not yet understand, here is what we face:
a) We grow, or we stop growing.
Growth means we return to at least a modicum of prosperity and commerce, forestalling temporarily our collapse only as long as we can maintain the energy inputs and continue to harvest the remaining resources; growth still means continued competition for essential resources since cooperation isn’t what we actually do; growth actually means collapse — eventually, as finite resources can never be infinite, nor can populations always expand indefinitely, nor can energy supplies as utilized today last forever, nor can environmental collapse be “managed”, et. al, — growth actually still means collapse, only a little later (but worse in all probability since there won’t be anything left, see “Why A Slow Crash Will Destroy Everything”).
To stop our growth; we “fall back” as it were to lower population levels with fewer human impacts (eventually), but not without horrific consequences, a.k.a. “die-off”, through starvation, disease, environmental collapse, refugees, war, increased competition for localized essential resources. The “gentle draw down” in human population levels will not happen since BAU is the defacto modus operandi and is extremely unlikely to change since this is essentially how the entire world operates and functions.
The end result will be exactly the same in either scenario.
I’m betting on BAU, or BAFU because I’m absolutely disgusted by the sheer stupidity of world governments and the global plantation owners that run this planet. They have committed humanity to absolute disaster. And to be frank — it appears that this does not bother them one bit. My loathing for these fools is boundless I’m afraid, I see no justifiable reason at all that they do not adapt a new strategy for human survival (and for themselves, obviously).
We’ve only got one planet to live on. It makes perfect sense to make it truly livable, which it already was. Instead, we replaced it with greed, gluttony, corruption and evil profits, enslaving our fellow man to a lifetime of drudgery and toil. The reason was basically simple — some people figured out how to get other people to do their bidding (and work) for them, and they learned that they themselves could have very comfortable lives in the process.
These are the clowns running this planet into the ground, denying the rest of us even the basic right to live without their lordship. I think that this is pure evil to be honest, the manifestation of oppression and slavery.
But the truth is, it’s even worse then that — it’s genocide. It’s ecocide. It’s biocide. It’s what happens when you deplete a planet of essential resources for life itself (all life, not just us) to the point of total collapse — and do nothing about it except do more of it.
It is the height of insanity and sheer stupidity.
And it’s happening to you.