Welcome to 2020 when the decline of the economy, energy and environment — the collapse of civilization will make the next two decades a shitshow.
As bad as it is, Australia burning isn’t the real horror. It isn’t the fact that the entire landmass is well on the way to becoming uninhabitable. Australia has become a symbol of our apathy.
What should alarm anyone with any remaining cognitive function is that this isn’t causing much of a negative reaction in the world.
This is the real harbinger of doom.
Every media camera should be focused on the land down under because this is what the future holds for the rest of us. People are not interested. And yet it is merely a footnote in a world where the sixth mass extinction does not seem to concern most humans.
We have those among us who vote, teach children, operate dangerous equipment, and even fly airplanes who believe the Earth is flat. It’s not just a few, either. One in six adults think the world is not round and their numbers are growing.
The cult of ignorance is alive and well, on full display at any MAGAT rally where people promote that dinosaurs are a hoax created to encourage people to reject the Bible.
Perhaps all this neo-idiocracy is the result of the propaganda machine, or an indication that humanity has become numb to the death of their planet, but no one is talking about a continent in flames.
Outside of outright lying, there is no putting an alternative view on the future of humanity.
We are doomed.
Disaster Takes Many Forms
The question isn’t how to mitigate the impact of environmental disaster, economic collapse, or energy depletion, it is about whether it will result in humanity’s extinction.
It is not whether billions will die.
The question is whether anyone will survive.
And no, we are not going to colonize Mars. If we can’t survive our own dying planet, why would we survive on one that is already dead and inhospitable to life? Zero resources means no one survives long term.
All indications point to a worsening situation. Energy demands increased up to 2 percent from 2011 to 2017 despite improvements in the efficient use of resources. As fossil fuels make up 87 percent of the global energy consumption, every day we run headlong toward a Mad Max dystopian future as we deplete our reserves.
This has to do with the EROI, the cost invested for the amount of energy returned.
The outlook is bleak.
Eat the Oligarchs
Our economic model that is built on perpetual growth assures our current decline will rapidly accelerate. The system is based on this energy demands from continued expansion despite that production already peaked during the late 20th century.
In other words, we have dwindling resources and growing demand.
Renewable energy is not replacing fossil fuels quickly enough, because it is not as effective. It is doubtful we will see a fully electric jumbo jet in our lifetime.
If you think this only means it will make it difficult to fly to Australia before it incinerates, guess again.
Global food production is very much dependent on fossil fuels. Even if you subscribe to the dinosaur and flat earth theories and apply this to eating, dinner grown from magic beans will have to be transported to people.
What Can We Do?
Sooner or later you run into the limits of growth; at that point the costs of keeping wealth flowing in from your empire or your oil fields begin a ragged but unstoppable increase, while the return on that investment begins an equally ragged and equally unstoppable decline; the gap between your maintenance needs and available resources spins out of control, until your society no longer has enough resources on hand even to provide for its own survival, and it goes under.
That’s catabolic collapse. John Michael Greer
Ecological collapse has already been visited upon 60 percent of the wildlife on the planet, it hasn’t yet been felt by humans — yet. Instead of attempting to refute the avalanche of evidence coming our way, humanity could prepare for the onslaught.
We could start by acknowledging the problem and turning our attention toward our dying planet. We can stop averting our gaze to Australia and the rest of the planet in collapse.
But we won’t.