You are here

Nasa-Funded Study: Industrial Civilisation Headed for Irreversible Collapse?


This Nasa Earth Observatory image shows a storm system circling around an area of extreme low pressure in 2010, which many scientists attribute to climate change. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system


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."


Early Draft - A Minimal Model for Human and Nature Interaction (32 page .PDF file)

Current Draft - Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies (27 page .PDF file)

Safa Motesharrei - National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

Also see - Human-Nature Interaction in World Modeling with Modelica (12 page .PDF file)

Elsevier - Ecological Economics


Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Comments - by Marc Lallanilla - March 20, 2014

. . . how, exactly, do powerful empires collapse, and why? Researchers now believe they've found an answer, one that has troubling implications for today — because we're clearly on the road to ruin.

The researchers' first task was overturning "the common impression that societal collapse is rare, or even largely fictional," as they wrote in their report, to be published in the journal Ecological Economics.

In fact, they argue, the rise and fall of great social structures is so common a theme in human civilization — recurrent throughout history and worldwide in scope — that it's more the rule than the exception.


howdy folks