A new report by a sustainability analyst has confirmed the grim prediction of a 1970s study that warned of the collapse of human civilization by the end of the 21st century. The report, published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology, compared the current state of the world with 12 possible scenarios generated by a team of MIT researchers in 1972. The report found that the world is closely following two of the scenarios that result in a sharp decline in economic growth, population, food production, and natural resources within the next two decades1.
The report’s author, Gaya Herrington, said that continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth, is not possible. She said that the only way to avoid the collapse scenario is to shift the global priorities and adopt a more sustainable approach to development. She also said that the collapse would not be the end of the human race, but rather a societal turning point that would see standards of living drop around the world for decades.
The report echoes the findings of another recent study that warned of the existential climate-related security risk posed by the human-driven global warming. The study, published by an Australian think tank, laid out a future where society could collapse due to instability set off by migration patterns of billions of people affected by drought, rising sea levels, and environmental destruction. The study called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the worst-case scenario.
These reports highlight the urgent need for a radical transformation of the current system that is depleting the planet’s resources and threatening the survival of humanity. They also show that the collapse is not inevitable, and that there is still hope for a more sustainable and equitable future.