It really is the end of the world as we know it. Watch this Ted video to learn some reasons why. Although it is the end of the old world, for many optimists it is the beginning of a new, and improved world. The fact that the present world is ending is proven by science. Ever increasing population and consumption of resources with limitless growth is impossible (by the laws of physics) to sustain on a finite planet. It is also proven by history.The end of the stone age world, the iron age world and the exploration age world happened. So too, will the end of the fossil fuels based industrial world. What will take its place? Or will there just be a smoldering lump of coal? Debate rages.
Some people believe that human degradation of the earth will mean savage, rapid and zombie apocalypse style disasters. Some think the natural consequence of global warming, such as hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy, floods, fires and drought will kill us. Still others think that the resulting wars, refugee camps and their accompanying diseases will wear down the already tattered fabric of social cohesion. Then there are those who believe in Biblical end times. These guys may go with the Rapture, leaving the rest of humanity to toil in the rubble with no one to ridicule except those terrifying looking, armed libertarian atheists. Who wants to risk that?
There are those that know meteors and super novas occur every day in the Universe. There are those who noting the decline of species each and every day know that the lack of biodiversity will have a horrific cascade effect. Although there are certainly more ways to collapse all life on Earth, ever so perverted and popular culture demands that we have a top ten list. None of these are currently happening, however, to the same proven degree that climate change is documented.
Then, finally there are the optimists. As one of these, this writer and other ecopsychologists believe that civilization has already begun to unravel. The end of an era of dirty fuels, fossil based oil dependent agriculture and infrastructure is here. The end of petrochemicals that built the 19th and 20th century is obfuscated by murky air and even dirtier politics. But the sunset of those now destructive and declining, finite resources will usher in a whole new set of alternative energy sources, agriculture and cultural values.
One of these values is supporting a smaller number of humans in greater balance with the rest of the living biosphere. That is population must be controlled out of a desire for the quality of sustainable life. It is theorized that this could be significantly better than the present tragedy of starvation and scarcity based lives. Fewer people with advanced technology, not a return to short and brutish lives of distant ancestors, will prevail.
Preparing for the end of the world does not have to be dire. In fact, hoping for community, regenerated forests, Eco-systems and healthier, cleaner air, water and food is much of a delightful hobby for many survivalists who are even now squirreling away their precious seed banks, water tanks, gold Swiss francs and, of course, lots of penicillin and guns.
Should you prepare for the end of the world? That depends. If you believe in pretending that the fossil fuel based world and exploitation of resources model is correct, you should ignore all this information and just make a big enough storm shelter to hide an (ostrich sized) human head inside of it. On the other hand, if everything you see around you indicates it's best to start creating a leaner, and technologically greener world based on cooperation rather than conquest or competition, stay tuned. Grab your water and seed bottles and don't forget the rock and roll. Some of us would really like to preserve a few antique delights of the already gone, former Earth.