The Perfect Storm: Six Trends Converging on Collapse

I have an uneasy feeling lately. Everywhere I look I see signs that all is not well. Of course, I’ve been seeing those signs for a couple of years, but things seem to be speeding up and now more and more people appear to be noticing. What interesting times we live in.

There are dark clouds gathering on the horizon. They are the clouds of six hugely troubling global trends, climate change being just one of the six. Individually, each of these trends is a potential civilization buster. Collectively, they are converging to form the perfect storm–a storm of such magnitude that it will dwarf anything that mankind has ever seen. If we are unsuccessful in our attempts to calm this storm, without a doubt it will destroy life as we know it on Planet Earth!

There is a popular saying that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” If we keep doing business in the same way as we have for the past century, each of these six trends will continue their steep rates of decline, collapsing the natural systems that form the foundation for our civilization and the lifeblood of the global economy. Perhaps the current Gulf oil spill is the wake up call that mankind needs to snap us out of our complacency, realize that we are soiling our nest and that continuation of “business as usual” will destroy the world as we know it? Time will tell whether we heed this warning, go back sleep once the oil spill is contained, or simply tire of the endless media coverage, numb ourselves, and set these critical issues to the side.

We already have the technology and the means to turn this dark tide, but we lack the commitment to make the hard choices and sweeping changes that are necessary for shifting the future of our world from its current course of collapse to a new course of sustainability.

The following six trends are converging to form the perfect storm for global destruction, each of which is a potential civilization buster in its own right, if left unchecked:

1. Climate Change

2. Peak Oil

3. Collapse of the World’s Oceans

4. Deforestation

5. The Global Food Crisis

6. Over Population

Read more from Matthew Stein

Photo by: Madeira

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9 comments

  1. “People lead and Governments follow”

    I think that speaks volumes where our society is concerned today. Society as it is now is too self indulgent and self entitled to do anything at present. In the past there has always been a huge motivator to get the people moving eg fear of Hitler. People are not scared, angry or suffering enough to do anything and Governments won’t take the action necessary because they want to be re-elected. By the time everyone decides to act it will be too late.

  2. It was interesting reading the comments on the original article. Not so long ago, an article like this one would have been howled down by most readers. This was not the case. Most comments expressed concern and discussed the issues. Notably one person was strongly against the ideas of the article and basically spammed the comments with criticism and contrary statements.

    Which brings me to a question: if more and more people are waking up to the predicament that we face (as seems to be the case, even if it is still quite a small number), what happens if a lot of people “wake up” and want a solution?

    My instinctive reaction is that there is no “solution” to these criticise, other than a radical reduction in population (which doesn’t represent a solution, so much as just an end – abrupt or otherwise – for the majority of the population). This is where my imagination tends to run away into some pretty nasty consequences, usually involving a lot of fighting and fragmentation of society, rather than calm collective action.

    It would be ironic if by creating the awareness that we want in other people about the danger of our predicament, that we actually brought it about faster …

    1. It will be interesting to see how society reacts as more and more people become aware of these issues. I think there will be some really nasty places to be living as the awareness seeps in. In Australia, I’d be avoiding the cities. I get a feeling that as people become aware of the population issues (as they now seem to be) there will be a backlash against immigrants. I see it already starting in Australia, and I sense it will get worse.

      For those of us that are already aware of the issues and who have had the time to process what is happening (i.e. have moved through denial, anger, depression and to acceptance): We will need to step up and be leaders as more people become aware. People will be scared and angry and will want answers. We have to be ready to offer an alternate, simpler way of life as industrial civilisation unwinds.

      1. The issue of leadership is an interesting one Mia (partly for me because I have worked with someone for the last 10 years who studies and provides leadership training in the corporate world).

        The problem as I see it (in my small community anyway) is one of timing. Jump in too early and you can’t provide real solutions for everyone – even in a small community.

        If you don’t wait until the population has decreased to the point where it can be supported from local production you are bound to create disappointment as a leader (with nasty personal consequences). As you say, cities are going to be bad, since there is no way that they can feed even a fraction of their population.

        Our aim here is to have the knowledge and plant genetic material on hand to be able to scale up rapidly when the time comes that more local food production is required.

        It could be considered a kind of “stealth leadership”. It only becomes apparent when it is needed.

  3. Thank you for the interesting read. I really enjoy this blog, and you actually have inspired me to start my own (via Facebook) using some of the articles you have posted here. I think it is important to spread awareness of these kinds of issues. While increased awareness of our global situation may lead to some “nasty consequences” faster as the previous commenter suggested was possible, if we don’t come up with a solution ourselves, nature will do it for us, and I don’t think we’ll like her methods…

  4. Good post Mia,

    Have been writing about all of these issues for a while now. What really opened my eyes was the documentary “What a way to go – Life at the End of Empire”. I knew a little about each subject, but this doco really brought all issues together in a very depressing way. I highly recommend it to all your readers.

    Gav x

    1. Thanks for the recommendation Gav. I agree that ‘What a way to go – Life at the End of Empire’ is an excellent documentary. I watched it some time ago, but it’s probably time to watch it again. I may already have it in my documentary page, but if not, I’ll add it.

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