Can a collapse of global civilisation be avoided?

According to Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich writing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society* the answer is a provisional “yes”:

“. . . because modern society has shown some capacity to deal with long-term threats, at least if they are obvious or continuously brought to attention (think of the risks of nuclear conflict). Humanity has the assets to get the job done, but the odds of avoiding collapse seem small because the risks are clearly not obvious to most people and the classic signs of impending collapse, especially diminishing returns to complexity, are everywhere. One central psychological barrier to taking dramatic action is the distri- bution of costs and benefits through time: the costs up front, the benefits accruing largely to unknown people in the future. But whether we or more optimistic observers are correct, our own ethical values compel us to think the benefits to those future generations are worth struggling for, to increase at least slightly the chances of avoiding a dissolution of today‚Äôs global civilization as we know it.”

The full article can be found here: Can a collapse of global civilisation be avoided?

*Ehrlich PR, Ehrlich AH. 2013 Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided? Proc R Soc B 280: 20122845. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.2845

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