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NASA-Funded Study Sounds Alarm for Civilization

March 17, 2014

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/nasa-funded_study_sounds_alarm_for_civilization_20140316

Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

A new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center confirmed the prospect that worldwide industrial civilization could collapse in the coming decades under “unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution,” Dr. Nafeez Ahmed reports at The Guardian.

The study dismissed the notion that warnings of “collapse” should remain fringe or controversial, citing the history of the fall of previous civilizations to show that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.”

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The most relevant interrelated factors, the study concluded, were population, climate, water, agriculture and energy. Nafeez writes:

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

The study claims that “elites” in industrialized countries are largely responsible for inequality and overconsumption, and challenges the idea that technology can resolve these problems by simply increasing industrial and economic efficiency:

Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.

Full Article at http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/nasa-funded_study_sounds_alarm_for_civilization_20140316

Link to Guardian Article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

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