Rupert Read and Samuel Alexander (2019)

I have come to the conclusion in the last few years that this civilisation is going down. It will not last. It cannot, because it shows almost no sign of taking the extreme climate crisis—let alone the broader ecological crisis—for what it is: a long global emergency, an existential threat. This industrial-growthist civilisation will not achieve the Paris climate accord goals;[2] and that means that we will most likely see 3-4 degrees of global over-heat at a minimum, and that is not compatible with civilisation as we know it.

The stakes of course are very, very high, because the climate crisis puts the whole of what we know as civilisation at risk. By ‘this civilisation’ I mean the hegemonic civilisation of globalised capitalism—sometimes called ‘Empire’—which today governs the vast majority of human life on Earth. Only some indigenous civilisations/societies and some peasant cultures lie outside it (although every day the integration deepens and expands). Even those societies and cultures may well be dragged down by Empire, as it fails, if it fells the very global ecosystem that is mother to us all. What I am saying, then, is that this civilisation will be transformed.[3] As I see things, there are three broad possible futures that lie ahead:

(1) This civilisation could collapse utterly and terminally, as a result of climatic instability (leading for instance to catastrophic food shortages as a probable mechanism of collapse), or possibly sooner than that, through nuclear war, pandemic, or financial collapse leading to mass civil breakdown. Any of these are likely to be precipitated in part by ecological/climate instability, as Darfur and Syria were. Or

(2) This civilisation (we) will manage to seed a future successor-civilisation(s), as this one collapses. Or

(3) This civilisation will somehow manage to transform itself deliberately, radically and rapidly, in an unprecedented manner, in time to avert collapse.[4]

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