Apocalyptic Climate and Global Ecological Warnings Justified

Abrupt climate change threatens Apocalyptic global ecological collapseEcoInternet and this blog are dedicated to highlighting the severity of global ecological crises [search], including threatened abrupt climate change [search], while promoting rigorous and sufficient biocentric 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 civilisation 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 [ark]. The report calls for a ten-fold increase in climate change research and development [ark]. Even Al Gore admits his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” [search] raised awarness, but did not prompt action [ark]. It is hoped Gore's coming sequel [ark] 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 civilisation very vulnerable.
To the consternation of some, even my environmental brethren, the organization I head, EcoInternet, 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.

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20 Responses

  1. curt says:

    Extremely interesting and challenging topic.
    Obviously, we as humans need always to be forced to change our behavior. It is really so simple, no matter, how terribly and artificially we are used to complicate everything.
    We are going to change, because we don't want to extinct. (They are going to be innocent casualties among people, animal and plant species, before we really start to move as we should have. That is in our 'nature', which is hardly spoilt by civilization.)
    Behind any human activity, there is always a name. Behind any really important human activity, there is always a 'great' name.
    By 'great' name, I mean a person with enough Power to really move things – 'Critical Mass of Power', as analogy to nuclear fusion.
    There are some individuals with enough knowledge, overview, resources, media influence and power to accomplish such a challenging and demanding 'mission', worldwide, but not even one of them haven't been active on this topic, yet.
    p.s.
    It is really hard to write/talk about this topic, because it it about live people, not numbers, but, if we want to address this issue seriously, we need to talk facts, statistic probabilities, opportunity costs and many more 'bad' things.

  2. marc sommer says:

    Dream on your dreams boys and girls.
    It will not change us a bit.
    Because if thing gets worse and out of hand, there is no more cooperation amongst us.
    And if not most of us will continue the way we use to live and do things.
    Practically we have n't come further than the dinosaurs as a race.

  3. jun says:

    if more and more people would be concerned on our environment, destruction of this earth would at least slow down. Let us take action now by at least doing this 50 tips on global warming

  4. R. Gates says:

    As I've said so many times, the issue comes down to this: Currently, the human virus is what ails the earth. The earth is sick and getting a fever in attempts to shake off this virus. Now then, the real question is– can the human virus willingly mutate to a non-lethal form FAST ENOUGH. Surely we can mutate, but can we do it FAST ENOUGH. The tipping points may be here or soon here, after which, the collapse of human civilization will come swiftly.
    Personally, I believe that James Lovelock is quite right. The tipping point is past. There is already far too much carbon and most likely methane now as well, in the atmosphere. The human population explosion of the past few hundred years is about to come literally crashing down.
    It seems, Nature does not desire any one species to dominate a planet so completely. There is strength in having a variety of life and no one species ought to so dominate a planet's ecosystem as humans have.

  5. Nicki says:

    The wake up call hasnt come to those who can really do something to change things. May be it never will!! We are all ostriches with our heads burried in the sand! The expression 'it wont happen in my lifetime' I have heard so many times!!! When will we realise that 'Saving Planet Earth' is not the issue. Planet earth will take care of herself very nicely. The human species with its greed and penchant for destruction on a grand scale is the one who cannot or will not be saved!!

  6. Anthony says:

    Richard Heinberg has said: We live in the greatest Empire the World has ever known :”The Empire of OIL”.Replace OIL with the word Civilization.OIL will run out sooner than later,therefore it's only a matter of some time before our Global Civilization collapses.Eventually another will arise but the transition will be very tough : the fall of the Roman Empire will seem tame in comparison!

  7. Ranil says:

    Dear Glen,
    Thanks for the posting.
    I have been shouting 'foul' over the current valuation of Carbon for over
    Ten years now. (see attached letter) but strangely everyone I have presented
    it has ignored this fact. The IPCC, The UNEP, The World Bank, CGIAR etc.
    In the words of the song 'If my eyes don

  8. Joe says:

    Thanks Glen, Keep up the good work; all future environmental housing should have to be
    undertground/ed to some extent/earth-covered, to ensure some semblance of future survival – in my
    opinion; why are 'our Planners' so-(deadly)silent'? Planning is a scam of a profession; I cannot
    recall ever seeing one Planner rigorously interviewed – for Radio, TV or print media, for donkey's
    years. The real-hoax is that we(in western nations) have 'planning', whereas we have capitalist
    dreamers, with secretive jobs that lead them into 'greedy mcmansions and the 'all-too-rich' class.
    What do you think?
    TAKE CARE joe a friend

  9. Kathleen says:

    Hi Glen,
    Please check out the link below. Because you love our Earth as I do, I'm sending this to you. It seems to be useless to try to wake up most folks. Without understanding the aspect that Project Camelot covers, it makes no sense why our 'leaders' are leading the masses to destroy our planet.
    http://projectcamelot.org/norway.html
    Peace to all beings, Kathleen

  10. Dr. Andrew Glikson says:

    I append a short article on “The role of greenhouse gases in the evolution of
    life on Earth” for your information/comment
    With best wishes
    (to other species too …)
    (Dr) Andrew Glikson
    Earth and paleo-climate scientist
    Australian National University
    24 April, 2008
    ———————————-
    THE ROLE OF GREENHOUSE GASES IN THE EVOLUTION OF LIFE ON EARTH
    Not all may be aware of the paleo-climate evidence regarding the delicate
    balance of carbon and oxygen in the atmosphere and the implications of rising
    greenhouse gases (GHG) for the evolution of life on Earth, in view of the
    evidence for factors underlying mass extinction of species through time. The
    atmosphere-ocean-biosphere system is extremely sensitive to forcing by minor
    levels of greenhouse gases, affecting the interchange of CO2, CH4 and oxygen
    between vegetation and animals. Low oxygen levels and high levels CO2, CO,
    CH4, SO2 and H2S in the early terrestrial atmosphere and hydrosphere resulted
    in high-temperature greenhouse conditions, restricting life to anaerobic
    chemothropic microbes. Enrichment in oxygen in the wake of the 850-635 m.y.
    Cryogenian glaciation (“Snowball Earth”) allowed development of free
    oxygen-dependant proteins and complex organisms. Regulation of temperatures
    during the Phanerozoic depended on the balance between solar cycles and the
    greenhouse gas composition of the atmosphere, CO2 being a principal driver of
    climate, with strong perturbations by the aerosol and GHG effects of volcanic
    and asteroid/comet impact events (Royer et al., 2004. CO2 as a primary driver
    of Phanerozoic climate. GSA Today 14, 4 -; 10; Royer, 2006. CO2-forced climate
    thresholds during the Phanerozoic. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70, 5665 -;
    5675; Royer et al., 2007. Climate sensitivity constrained by CO2
    concentrations over the past 420 million years. Nature 446, 530 -; 532)
    Based on studies of the recent climate history of Earth, mammals flourished on
    land only since CO2 levels declined below about 500 parts per million about 34
    million years ago, enhancing development of warm-blooded animals, with
    subsequent decline of mean deep sea temperatures below 6

  11. Nigel Miles says:

    Glen – thanks for your insight and forthrightness.
    I have been stating the obvious to some of my Polish colleagues who sometimes do not fully appreciate what we are promoting. They have still from the interpretation of their wonderful ecological studies of medium sized carnivores (wolves and lynx) the belief that when they broadcast of their plight will be acted upon by society. And this is in Poland the land where 1% of their population have emigrated to the UK for improved financial reasons!…..They forget that the majority of Poles et al would rather see the pelage of these creatures on someone's living room floor having been given an appropriate sum of money for it (the past conditioning of, "Russianisation" process still persists…Russian authorities still give bounties for Canis lupus pelts!)
    Nigel

  12. Who would have thought of it, rice rationing in the US? See LA Times article at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-rice24apr24,1,3902221.story

  13. Spread of avian flu by drinking water:
    Spread of avian flu by drinking water can explain small clusters in households
    Proved awareness to ecology and transmission is necessary to understand the spread of avian flu. For this it is insufficient exclusive to test samples from wild birds, poultry and humans for avian flu viruses. Samples from the known abiotic vehicles also have to be analysed. There are plain links between the cold, rainy seasons as well as floods and the spread of avian flu. That is just why abiotic vehicles have to be analysed. The direct biotic transmission from birds, poultry or humans to humans can not depend on the cold, rainy seasons or floods. Water is a very efficient abiotic vehicle for the spread of viruses – in particular of fecal as well as by mouth, nose and eyes excreted viruses.
    Infected birds and poultry can everywhere contaminate the drinking water. All humans have very intensive contact to drinking water. To prove viruses in water is difficult because of dilution. If you find no viruses you can not be sure that there are not any. On the other hand in water viruses remain viable for a long time. Water has to be tested for influenza viruses by cell culture and in particular by the more sensitive molecular biology method PCR.
    There is a widespread link between avian flu and water, e.g. in Egypt to the Nile delta or Indonesia to residential districts of less prosperous humans with backyard flocks and without central water supply as in Vietnam: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no12/06-0829.htm. See also the WHO web side: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/emerging/h5n1background.pdf .
    Transmission of avian flu by direct contact to infected poultry is an unproved assumption from the WHO. There is no evidence that influenza primarily is transmitted by saliva droplets: "Transmission of influenza A in human beings" http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473309907700294/abstract?iseop=true .
    Avian flu infections may increase in consequence to increase of virus circulation. In hot climates/the tropics flood-related influenza is typical after extreme weather and floods. Virulence of influenza viruses depends on temperature and time. Special in cases of local water supplies with "young" and fresh H5N1 contaminated water from low local wells, cisterns, tanks, rain barrels, ponds, rivers or rice paddies this pathway can explain small clusters in households. At 24

  14. Pascal Molineaux says:

    INdeed, we have alot to worry about as a global society. The challenges that we now face will require fundamental changes in the way we perceive ourselves and define life's purpose. NO longer can we claim that having more is being more, that happiness and having are related. WE must come to realise that we are one people, inspite of our enormous diversity. The Earth is one, and as such extremes of wealth (undreamt of by our ancestors) and exreme, inhumane poverty are no longer to be tolerated. WE must develop a sense of shared responsibility for our wellbeing, both now and into the future. WE must live up to the challenge of living in common sopace ship, as Boulding's analogy so powerfully emphasizes. My wellbeing depends on others well being. Life has a spiritual purpose that trascends the limitless accumulation of wealth. Let us redefine life's purpose and give our descendants a future worth living for.
    WE can al contribute, we must all contribute.
    Pascal MOlineaux

  15. Peter Brown says:

    We need a One Child Policy for the whole world. Adminstered justly and fairly. To reduce the population of the world over the current generations. It is estimated that if the Chinese had not instituted this policy in the 50s there would be between 300 and 400 million more in that country than at present. As it is the pop grows there by 20 million per year. The alternative to this world policy is mass starvations, mass tyranny, destruction of most of the species on the Earth and the end of civilisation

  16. R. Gates says:

    Pascal,
    Your comments are exactly correct, and quite well spell out what WE must do. The question once more comes down to– will enough of WE be WILLING to do it. The battle between selfishness and unselfishness is the oldest of them all.

  17. Thanks to all for your many wonderful comments and other efforts…. and to Glen for this opportunity to communicate openly about what to me looks like the proverbial “mother” of all global challenges: the human overpopulation of Earth in our time.
    It looks like humankind inhabits a tiny celestial orb that is miraculously set among of sea of stars. As far as we know, life as we know it exists nowhere else in the Universe. In the light of these one-of-a-kind circumstances, perhaps we of the human family have the responsibility of assuring the security for the future of life in our planetary home.
    I am trying to focus attention on the pressing need for human beings to protect and preserve the finite resources of Earth and its frangible ecosystems. If we fail to achieve this goal, then an unimaginably bleak future could await our children. In all the seriousness of what could be somehow true, I mean the children of my generation.
    If 6+ billion human beings live on Earth now and 9+ billion are expected to populate our small planet by 2050, then the human species simply cannot keep engaging in certain unbridled activities that we can see overspreading the Earth because the Earth has limited resources upon which all forms of life and human constructions like national economies utterly depend for existence. Without adequate resources and ecosystem system services of Earth, life as we know it and human institutions could collapse, I suppose.
    Now, some portion of the world's human population conspicuously over-consumes the resources of our planetary home. Other people, working in huge multinational conglomerations, are operating businesses in a way that recklessly scours the oceans' floor, decapitates mountains, turns biomass into human mass and, in these and many other ways, end up dissipating natural resources at such an alarming rate that the Earth has insufficient time to restore the resources for human benefit. Still other people in the family of humanity are overpopulating the planet. The leviathan-like scale and rapid growth of global human consumption, production and propagation activities are putting the Earth, life as we know it, and the human community in grave, clear and present danger.
    Elder human beings of the overdeveloped world, of whom I am one, are among the people in our planetary home who are ravenously over-consuming Earth's resources. We could choose to consume less. People in the developing could choose to limit overproduction of unnecessary things, to stop ravaging the planet, and to contain industrial pollution. People in the underdeveloped world could limit their number of offspring. Perhaps these are some ways the family of humanity begins to respond ably to the human-induced global challenges that loom so ominously before humanity in our time.
    While I certainly agree that action should have been taken by my generation of old folks when we were young in the 60s and 70s, when we became aware of the “population bomb,” still we have responsibilities to assume and duties to perform, here and now, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and coming generations.
    The idea of making a conscious choice to do nothing in the face of the recognizably daunting global challenges that are visible before humanity on the far horizon is anathema to me.
    At a minimum, do we not have a “duty to warn” others of the potential for some kind of ecological catastrophe if the human community adamantly chooses to continue relentlessly down the current “primrose path” marked by soon to become unsustainable consumption, production and propagation activities now threatening to overwhelm the surface of Earth?
    Always with thanks,
    Steve

  18. kparcell says:

    The metasystem approach – redundancy of vital systems – is of course the answer. This is what we see in practice when forests collapse, for example. However, the global marketplace itself does not appear to permit for redundancy by definition, inasmuch as we have one globe. Yet, it seems that this global system IS intrinsically redundant, permitting efficient access to alternative sources of essential commodities, etc, but what this thinking overlooks is that all resources are accessed and protected locally, so that the greater our reliance on the global system, the greater our consequent loss of ability to protect resources. Indeed, this the root problem today. The solution is a marketplace metasystem. Here is one: “SunMoney” at homepage.mac.com/forever.net

  19. Michael says:

    aloha
    I read the 'climate apocalyptic' info yu sent, seems so vague old retro repeating their failure to know whats really needed, liveable, healthy, natural, sustainable, renewable & efficient we need/are doing here now at home organically.
    Yes i trust the empire will collapse trying to control its crash, trashing nature for stashing trillion$ away in paranoid places. We see econo recession > depression will help stop U$ destroying Mother nature is calling our hearts & souls to acclimatize to her natural cycles in our bioregions & eco-friendly neighborhoods i been trying since 1972.
    When i campaigned for US congress in Eugene Demo primary with Bucky Fuller energy conservation plateform to recycle all our waste, make & use altgernaive energy sources & bicycle around. Now we are growing more foods locally & i'm collecting lots of dandilion leaves this fertile spring, drying for healthy herb tea. Also promoting PERMACULTURE here 10 years now.

  20. Joe says:

    Let's not create a self-fulfilling prophecy by talking about the end of civlization…Who knows what humans will do this planet in the future. The only hope I see is that the more industrialized a country becomes, the more able it is to implement environmental checks. Hopefully earth can survive pollution for another 100yrs–then we'll all run on solar cells, etc. If not, then we'll have to live in a giant Homemade Aviary like some bird…

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