Human society has 90% chance of collapsing in the next few decades. But why?

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Sep 29, 2020, 01:26 PM(IST)

People celebrate the annual Sindhi Cultural Day to highlight the ancient culture of Sindh rooted in the Indus Valley Civilization of Bronze Age, in Karachi on December 1, 2019. Photograph:( AFP )

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Do you think 2020 is the peak of dystopia? Buckle up, because things may just go worse at any moment, or a few decades, at least!

Do you think 2020 is the peak of dystopia? Buckle up, because things may just go worse at any moment, or a few decades, at least!

The planet is facing a lot of crises - for starters, climate change is causing unpredictable weather changes across the globe, setting off unprecedented extreme events, like unstoppable fires in Australia and the US, the mind boggling levels of pollution in India, and the record deforestation and fires in the Amazon - the planet’s lungs! 

Resource depletion

Owing to a combination of natural factors and human action, natural resources may be depleted to a point of no return, and the resources available at hand may not be enough to sustain the entire planet’s population in the coming decades.

Reported first by VICE, two theoretical physicists have concluded that human society as we know it is set on a self-destruct path within the next two to four decades.

Also read: Climate crisis could displace 1.2 billion people by 2050, report warns

The researchers come from Chile and the UK, and published their findings in Nature Scientific. To ascertain the probable time for social collapse, they employed statistical modelling to understand how growing human population and depletion of resources will bring only bad news to society in general.

This is what the authors wrote in the study’s abstract - "Based on the current resource consumption rates and best estimate of technological rate growth our study shows that we have very low probability, less than 10 percent in most optimistic estimate, to survive without facing a catastrophic collapse”. 

Deforestation, and what it means for us

The primary cause of this downfall, according to them, would be due to deforestation. Climate crisis is increasing sea levels, causing bizarre weather, flooding, natural calamities. But the authors took into account deforestation primarily, because it is simply more measurable.

Also read: 'Our planet is dying soon': Meet India's youngest climate change activist

Based on the current rate of deforestation, all forests would be gone from the face of the planet in 100-200 years. Think this a long time? You’re wrong. We’re already feeling the effects of large-scale irresponsible deforestation, and scientists believe its signs and symptoms will become more apparent over time, that the collapse would not be a one-off event.

Due to rampant depletion in resources, we could lose basic support systems required for survival including oxygen production, conservation of soil, and regulation of water cycle, among many!

We’ve already gone from 60 million square kilometres of forests to 40 million square kilometres. In essence, no forests - no humans!

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