The Coming Collapse

Unpleasant breakfast reading… I wonder what my friends here think of this.

I’ve been thinking about how to deal with it for some time, but it’s tough, especially mainly on my own. What do you think?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

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I suspect we have seen the first trip and we have not recovered our balance yet. So I think a massive change is required and we all need to be brave enough for that coming. If it does it will rock the world, but maybe that is what we need to face up to. Change whilst those in control fight with everything they have to retain it is going to be very hard and the struggle to maintain it I think is what will collapse us. Unless we can get a completely different mechanism out there, SAFE global and the news voting etc. on it may help for sure. It will certainly make reality closer to the people I hope.

It would be amazing if it ended in money being completely redefined and control amortised.

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The whole situation reminds me of playing Monopoly with my son. Once he has all the money and property, he still wants to play on, so offers small incentives to continue the game. Until humanity starts playing a completely different game, rather than giving small incentives to continue, we are heading for a cliff. We can’t have infinite growth with finite resources basically - we just screw up the environment that way.
Apart from the need for a totally new economic model, we also have to address the issue of population growth. Bad memes such as contraception is ungodly or whatever need combating. The one thing that would help enormously is to value the education and empowerment of women worldwide - the resolution of many issues flow from this.

We are not overpopulated. Overpopulation is a myth perpetuated by those wanting to maintain artificial scarcity and control over the masses. Remember nothing in nature is wasted. If we promote and maintain self sufficiency and recycle our waste back into useable materials then we won’t have a scarcity issue. Over 40% of the world’s food is WASTED. That alone is a pretty severe scarcity issue. Enough solar radiation hits the earth in one day to power the planet for the next hundred years or more, probably the next thousand or more. Hemp and canabis need to be legal, seriously there are so many industrial and medical applications for those plants that can replace petrolium products and pharmasuticals it’s not even funny. Get rid of the freaking laws against collecting rain water, that’s just an obvious violation of people’s sovereignty and a promotion of artificial scarcity. Every home should be self sustaining. Why do we bother with centralized power and water systems? We’re talking about decentralizing the internet, talking about decentralizing money, so why can’t we arrange for urban agriculture, power and water while we’re at it? Why can’t we decentralize industry and keep it using renewable resources?

Honestly I am totally disgusted with people always blaming “overpopulation” instead of looking at reality.

Imagine building a couple of these in every community, perhaps even one for every household.

You could grow food year round. Or you could opt for aquaponics.

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Yet again, you incorrectly correct me, I did not say we are currently over-populated - I said:

From Wikipaedia:

The InterAcademy Panel Statement on Population Growth, circa 1994, has stated that many environmental problems, such as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, and pollution, are aggravated by the population expansion.[2] Other problems associated with overpopulation include the increased demand for resources such as fresh water and food, starvation and malnutrition, consumption of natural resources (such as fossil fuels) faster than the rate of regeneration, and a deterioration in living conditions

Human life is being wasted in poor countries due to starvation and malnutrition, caused by people having babies they cannot feed - usually due to religious anti-abortion injunctions and genocidal maniacs like the last Pope stating that condoms spread AIDS - the cause of millions of deaths in Africa.

We have to address the issue that people being born need to be fed. New growth means you need to increase production in order to supply for that new growth. If you have a baby you need to be able to feed it. This is not rocket science.

I think the problem you are stating is there are children being born that are not getting fed which illistrates a problem with food production. Your sollution is to have less children. My solution is to increase food production efficiency. Would not the later solve the food crisis problem?

It’s not population that’s the problem. It’s the inefficient way we’re doing shit. It’s monoculture pesticide saturated gmo planted megaindustralized factory farms that strip the land of their nutrients. It’s having no concern for the ecosystem. It’s killing off the bees. It’s just chucking the trash instead of recycling. It’s how we build our houses. It’s not composting our compostables back into DIRT we can grow in. Do you have any idea how much of our trash can be composted? Pretty much anything that’s made from plants can be composted. Thats all your paper, your vegie food matter, your paper egg cartons, your cardboard, your junk mail, your kleenex and toilet paper (tho I realize you might want to throw that one in the humanue composter instead of the main one since humanue takes a long time to compost and you need to do it right), yes even your own shit, literally, can be composted too. Actually plants love human urine as it’s full of nitrates. Dilute it like 2 parts water to 1 part urine and you’ve got instant fertilizer. (You might want to play around with that forumla, been awhile since I read that article). But imagine if we composted our biowaste, like all of it and turning it into dirt we can then grow with. (Oh and incidently I do not appreciate women being on the pill, pissing into the toilet then and that contraceptive staying in the water supply and making men infertile. Give me water and please hold the horse piss.) If you want to take contraceptives that’s cool but keep it in your own system. I do not want to be taking the drugs you choose to put into your body, especially when they are specific to your gender.

You really don’t get it do you - you cannot have infinite growth with finite resources - it’s not rocket science either. Whether we are over populated already or not, it is the inevitable trajectory we are on, whether this is due to either too many people or too few resources.100 people is an over population if we only have resources left for 80 due to environmental damage etc. This damage is a direct consequence of the insane idea that we need continuous economic growth.

Both are required I believe, but to encourage poor families to continue having children that they cannot feed is totally irresponsible.(The main reason this goes on, being to create more followers of the mono-theistic religions).
I agree with most of your last paragraph, but would also say that there are alternative methods of contraception, other than chemical.

What part of we are living in a wasteful society of artificial scarcity do you not understand? I was not proposing infinite growth. I was suggesting using natural renewable resources in an efficient manner which would supply a finite resource (a human life). If you grow your own food and compost your waste and then grow again you aren’t demanding new resources from the system now are you? Your recycling the resources you already have. If you have solar panels on your roof and get your power that way you’re not pulling power from the grid, your generating it yourself, from a power source that has been going for millions of years I might add. The idea of “infinite growth” is when you pull from the system, be it the grid, or the food industrial complex, or society at large. When you are constantly consuming more than you are producing and/or returning to the earth. If you consume more food than you recycle back into compost and plant for next year then you have a problem. However if you maintain the soil, keep returning the nutrients to it in the form of biowaste/compost, keep everything irrigated, make sure everything gets it’s sun, take care of the insects and the worms, and make sure you plant in spring what you expect to harvest in the fall you’re good to go. In short if you make sure you put back what you take out you’re not having an “infinite resource” but rather a cyclical sustainable finite resource model" which is what nature is. Yes there’s a finite number of resources on the planet but they’re all organized into their own cycles and ecosystems and if you respect that and live in harmony with it you can live indefinitely within the system.

Also do you have any idea how much stuff people waste? We’re not short of resources. We’re short on efficiency.

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No part, I fully agree and I’m not contesting this issue. I am talking about the drive for economic growth which impacts on the sustainable model you advocate. This is what leads to the raping of the planet’s resources.

Hey @al_kafir and @Blindsite2k you guys are I think largely in agreement, and both make great points - I agree too. There are actually a lot of issues, and each of us I guess can get on with work on the ones we feel most passionate about, and misty ankle to tackle.

I mailed this question to my bio science mate and he was fairly laid back about the resources issue, he thinks clever humans will sort that, meanwhile dealing with anti-biotic resistance is his thing (and could well be as devastating as any other coming crisis).

I guess the one that seems hardest to handle is climate change, because that had such a long turn around time, if indeed it is reversible, and that could easily wipe out improvements humans make in coping with food shortages for example.

Cutting out 40% food waste will make a big positive impact, but climate change could easily take that back, along with its other effects, such as on water, extreme weather, and habitability.

Which is as @dirvine suggests, is where SAFE can come in, by helping create the recognition, will, and means for mass changes in lifestyle and social organisation.

Great to hear you guys on this. Thanks for responding. I was feeling pretty gloomy again about this, especially when I think if how it could all turn out for my kids. It’s good to have your voices remind me there are people who see ways forward and who want to make this positive change.

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I wrote a small book on this oddly enough. I made the same mistakes as the Club of Rome, which were:

  1. No one saw shale oil and especially gas coming. That makes low EROEI mining tail out much later on, perhaps by as much as thirty years. Had shale oil and gas not turned up, then yes the 2015-2020 collapse was about right.

  2. The next big collapse point starts from around 2030 when Peak Phosphorous is expected, and after which all crop yields start to decline no matter what we do. If we find a new source of abundant cheap energy, Phosphorous can be mined from the deep sea floor, otherwise it’s gone and no substitute exists.

  3. Another major problem coming around 2025 will be running out of copper. You may remember people stealing copper a few years ago, that was running up to the last remaining big copper mine coming online in the Gobi desert. Once that’s gone, cheap copper is gone too, and no substitute exists either.

I personally think we’ll shoot well past the Club of Rome’s predictions, if and only if shale gas keeps flowing. And you never know, deuterium fusion may just give us free electricity, though that will still collapse air and automobile travel and truck transport, so we’ll be down to ships and trains again.

But irrespective of shale gas or fusion energy, all that will merely shift the curve on a bit, the same outcomes are inevitable and that will be the end of this present round of expansion of human civilisation. We’ll get a few centuries of contraction, lots of stuff will get lost and we’ll try again. It’ll be interesting to see how well global telecommunications survives actually.

Niall

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In aggregate I agree with you. In certain regions absolutely yes - most large urban areas, the Sahel in Africa (lack of fresh water), most of China away from the coasts (lack of fresh water), parts of India (lack of fresh water).

Overpopulated regions are easy to calculate via this rough measure: take average rainfall and subtract the amount used by things living in that region. If it’s negative, you have too many humans.

This calculation isn’t always correct as there can be local peculiarities. But it’s generally accurate. People forget a third of all the Sun’s energy reaching the planet goes into making fresh water, it is unbelievably expensive and cannot be substituted for.

Niall

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Yes but this isn’t an overpopulation problem. This is a distribution inefficiency problem. Of course if you jam everyone into a single area they’re going to be overcrowed and uncomfortable and use up resources abnormally fast. That’s why I find the notion of living in cities to be so absurd, and yet for some strange reason it’s so very popular, because you end up with everyone jammed so tightly together. I don’t have an objection to population density per se but when your population density exceeds your ability to produce resources for that population within that density within that location you’ve got a problem. By the way I like how you calculate overpopulation of a given area using rainfall. However what if you gathered or created drinkable water using other means?

I love the overpopulation talk

Maybe we should do more of this

or this

Our problem, is greed and totally not giving a f##@! about earth.

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I’ll agree with this. However No on the lab grown meat. And if you want to produce lab grown meat please label it clearly. If you want to eat that shit that’s cool but I do not. And moreover I do not want to get your GMO meat mixed with my organic meat.

I think you’re missing one of the primary reasons for hunger in third world countries (like those in Africa): subsidized food imports. US farmers get subsidies for growing food, which naturally distorts the price in the market. When it is exported to Africa, it sells for much cheaper than all the local farmers there, making them go out of business. In other words, it’s cheaper to grow food in the US, spray it with chemicals, ship it half way across the globe, and sell it there, than it is to grow food there and sell locally. This means that all the local farmers can’t compete, and they all go out of business. Now everyone there is reliant on the imports and everyone is poor.

There are some good articles about it, but this government subsidization plays one of the biggest roles, IMO.

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You’re a little off;

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/why-does-the-govt-pay-farmers/

Question: Why does the government pay farmers not to grow crops?

Robert Frank: Paying farmers not to grow crops was a substitute for agricultural price support programs designed to ensure that farmers could always sell their crops for enough to support themselves. The price support program meant that farmers had to incur the expense of plowing their fields, fertilizing, irrigating, spraying, and harvesting them, and then selling their crops to the government, which stored them in silos until they either rotted or were consumed by rodents. It was much cheaper just to pay farmers not to grow the crops in the first place.

Of course, paying people not to do work is bound to be politically awkward (think of the old New Yorker cartoon of an accordion player on a subway platform with a sign next to his cup that read, “Will not play Lady of Spain, 25 cents”). So the government described the program as an environmental one rather than an income maintenance scheme. As described to the public, it was compensation to farmers for retiring acreage to reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff into the nation’s water supply.

I gave the wrong impression, I’m 100% for mother nature and her good work. All I’m saying is that lab grown meat seems like a logic solution for the people who live in the cities. Farming should just be done in the cities, because they got enough empty buildings in some places. What I HATE about GMO is that they do it out in nature instead of an controlled environment. When you do stuff out in nature, nature reacts and it usually ends up worse for us humans.

People in poor countries are not poor because governments in other countries subsidize their own farmers. People in poor countries are poor, because their government take loans from banks, who charge high % putting a whole country in a chokehold. Some countries got the natural resources to manage, but they are being systematically exploited. That’s the problem when you can only do business with big corporations. I’m not even talking about the new rights that the US is giving big corporations in foreign countries.

The coming collapse might be new to some, but it’s second nature to the other countries, that they have been draining for years. Another reason why I’m so happy with Maidsafe, is that it will allow people to EXPERIMENT UNLIMITED.

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Yet another reason why I hate gov’t subsidization of business. Damn fascism.

That’s a very small part of the story, where farmers get their promised pay, even when not working, in order not to make surpluses. The reality is that most big farms are subsidized, especially for growing corn:

Edit: There’s even a wikihow on how to get a subsidy. If you want a commercial farm, you’re pretty much guaranteed a subsidy.