Are we on the Verge of Global Collapse? (2023)

MDPI enables researchers to publish open access, meaning that their research is accessible online and free for anyone who wants to access it. Because of this open access, articles are more likely to be included in search engines and indexing databases. This allows researchers’ work to reach a bigger audience and create a bigger impact. They can also publish their work in various formats, including in book format. Using the service MDPI Books, authors have the opportunity to publish research in this way. Books published by MDPI cover many exciting topics and current trends in research. One of these trends follows sustainability, economics, and the environment. A particularly highly anticipated book that covers this trend is “5 Insights to Avoid Global Collapse” by sustainability expert Gaya Herrington.

This is a huge trend right now because of the current climate crisis. We can no longer deny the effects that humans have had and continue to have on the planet. The evidence is clear that the earth’s surface temperature has increased by 1°C from 1880. Although this may not seem a large increase, the significance of this is very telling by the planet’s reactions. This includes increased droughts, forest fires, and increased ocean temperatures. All of which can result in the death of ecosystems, such as coral reefs, rainforests, and urban ecosystems.

Ecosystems are where communities of organisms begin and thrive. Without them, we would see the fall of many crucial species and their roles on the planet. One example of this is bees which pollinate many important crops such as broccoli.

It’s well known that we must act now to limit the rise in global temperature. So much so that in 2015 an international treaty was signed to combat climate change. This is known as the Paris Agreement which pledges to limit global warming to below 2°C.

MDPI books support key elements of what is necessary for a sustainable future: sustainability education and global participation.

About the author

Are we on the Verge of Global Collapse? (1)

Gaya Herrington is Vice President of Schneider Electrical Global, a specialist company in energy management.

(Video) Is Civilization on the Brink of Collapse?

Last summer, Herrington’s research started trending all over the world. It validated the findings from the 1972 book Limits to Growth. That if humanity kept endorsing economic growth while ignoring environmental costs, there would be a sharp decline in the standards of living and human population in the 21st century.

The study used a model which was based on the work of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists.

This method was a system dynamics model, which helps to make decisions for complex issues. The easiest way to describe this kind of model is that it resembles a flow chart of sorts.

It consists of variables which are all connected. This means that when the model is run, one can get an idea of how all these different interactions will play out over time. Complex issues like climate change, for example, can be overwhelming. System dynamics modelling helps to make sense of them, and points to lasting solutions. The Limits to Growth model, for example, consisted of interacting variables such as population, fertility rate, pollution, industrial production, welfare level, and ecological footprint, among other things.

Herrington used the Limits to Growth model in her research last year, to examine how the output compared against current real-world data. Herrington concluded that empirical data showed a close track with the model, which would indicate a global collapse setting in around present time and starting its steep decline around 2040 if nothing changes.

Her latest book release with MDPI will update her research with the latest empirical data. Along with this exclusive research update, her book also contains a more in-depth discussion about what her findings indicate for future global developments. Importantly, the book identifies which systemic changes we can still make, for a better tomorrow. For example, recognising that growth is not a good goal, and is the cause of society’s problems.

What does the term global collapse mean?

Global collapse is a terrifying phrase. It means that economic and industrial growth will stop and then decline. This would result in increases in pollution and mortality rates, and decreases in food production, population, fertility rates, non-renewable resources, and overall human welfare. But Herrington’s conclusions are not all negative; the results show that we do still have time to avoid ecosystem breakdown.

(Video) Are We on the Verge of an Epic Financial Collapse?

Global collapse has been at the forefront of people’s minds over the last few years. During the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the global economy. This put the environment in the spotlight and reminded the public of how fragile our world is. An Ipsos Mori survey from 2020 asked the public if they feel they have a responsibility to ensure our generation doesn’t destroy the planet, 80% of participants agreed with this sentiment.

The environment has been a big factor in this, as the public has witnessed key evidence of climate change. One example of this is an increase in forest fires which have been seen all around the globe, including in Australia, South and North America, Europe, and even the Arctic.

Just last month, Europe reported its highest ever recorded temperature at 43°C. This resulted in widespread wildfires in France and Spain, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes. The heatwave in the UK also reported its highest ever temperature at 40.2°C, which resulted in various fires breaking out in the south of England.

This has been a problem for decades in the US, and continues to be a problem. The incidence of forest fires is projected to increase over the next 50 years. This devastation has been caused by a global temperature increase of 1°C. As all these issues feed into each other, the data can be used to predict the damage that we are causing to civilisation, as well as the (un)sustainability of our current behaviours.

Time to Change?

Gaya Herrington explains that “what we do this decade, is going to define where humanity stands at the end of the century.”

The pandemic has demonstrated that humanity is in fact capable of quick and drastic behaviour change, if necessary. it’s not too late to change. Although the disruptions to society were initially socio-economic in nature, they also affected the environment. During this time, there were fewer vehicles on the road. There was thus less pollution, and emissions declined by 7%. Furthermore, because there were fewer vehicles on the road, there was also less noise pollution.

We sat down with Gaya Herrington to discuss her new book “5 insights to avoid global collapse” and how we can all come together to make systemic change.

(Video) Are We On The Precipice Of Global Collapse? | Ep. 1568

What did you hope to achieve by writing this book?

GH: It’s about engaging the broader base of people who are not economic or sustainability experts, yet on some level sense that something needs to change.

I think this sense is widespread. But many people don’t really know how to promote change. So, my hope for this book is that it will be easily accessible to everybody.

What is your advice for those who want to know more about how to make our economy or society more sustainable?

GH: I would say to read my book. My overall goal for this book is to reach those who are not experts in the field. Because of this, I have written it so that is easy to follow and understand, I start by explaining the basics and build upon this knowledge throughout the book. It’s filled with references for whatever topic the reader subsequently wants to learn more about.

What changes should we be making?

GH: Ultimately, it’s about changing our mindset. Society needs to redefine of what has the most value and align our overall goals accordingly.

Right now, society’s pursuit seems to be growth; that’s something we need to let go of. We need to reimagine what our purpose is. You don’t need to be an economist or sustainability expert to understand this. Especially in the richer countries, people intuitively have a feeling that they have a bigger purpose, and that in the current society, they aren’t fulfilling it.

So, we need to find something different to pursue than growth. We could redefine society’s goal as human well-being within ecological limits. I think that would be a lot more motivating for people.

Why was this an important book to write for you personally?

GH: I believe my research resonated with a lot of people when it came out.

(Video) MIT Has Predicted that Society Will Collapse in 2040 | Economics Explained

I wish I was wrong about an upcoming onset of collapse, but I don’t believe that I am. And even if I am partially right in my research, that means that we’re living in an incredibly important time in history, a now or never moment. We have time to act and significantly change our ways. But that window of opportunity is closing fast.

And I think if we don’t use this opportunity, our future will be unstable. Obviously, this matters to me as a person, as I care about humanity in general. But also, I am a mother, so I am thinking of my own children.

Watching my 1-year-old daughter has recently brought back memories of how I felt as a child. There’s a tendency to look at the younger generation as energetic and carefree once you’ve passed your thirties. But now I remember how powerless I often felt as a child, and how much I looked up to adults. I trusted they would take care of me. Now the younger generation realizes in agony that the adults haven’t been doing that. When I think of their anxiety, which is quite well documented, it crushes my soul a bit.

What changes have you made in your everyday life to combat climate change?

I think it’s very important that your actions are aligned with what you’re saying. So, if I write this book and eat steak every day, it makes me not credible. I recycle and buy biodegradable products. Before I buy anything, I ask, ‘do I really need this?’. But I am not perfect, and I never can be, because I am embedded in a society that makes it impossible for anyone to meet their needs without causing harm. The most important individual action you can take is to seek out sustainability allies. We need to come together and make systemic changes.

If you want to read more about systemic change you can read Gaya Herrington’s book about global collapse for free here, or if you would like to read more about MDPI books and their services, please visit the MDPI books page.


How soon will civilization collapse? ›

Overall, the new findings aligned closely with the 1970s study and concluded that civilisation can expect a halt to economic growth in the next 20 years and, in the worst-case scenario, see societal collapse around 2040.

What does on the verge of collapse mean? ›

If you are on the verge of something or come to the verge of something, you are very close to experiencing it: on the verge of collapse/success/tears/death/disaster/war.

Will society collapse by 2040? ›

Scientists in the 1970s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicted the fall of society. Using the LtG model, the fall of society will take place around 2040. The 2100s will be comparable to the 1900s in terms of the world's population, industrial output, food and resources.

What is a global collapse? ›

Global collapse is a terrifying phrase. It means that economic and industrial growth will stop and then decline. This would result in increases in pollution and mortality rates, and decreases in food production, population, fertility rates, non-renewable resources, and overall human welfare.

What will happen to Earth in 2050? ›

World population is expected to increase from 7 billion today to over 9 billion in 2050. A growing population is likely to increase pressures on the natural resources that supply energy and food. World GDP is projected to almost quadruple by 2050, despite the recent recession.

How long does humanity have left? ›

How much time on Earth do we have left? The upshot: Earth has at least 1.5 billion years left to support life, the researchers report this month in Geophysical Research Letters.

What would be the cause of collapse? ›

There are three main causes of collapse: simple fainting, heart problems, and seizures. When a doctor investigates the cause of collapse, they will always perform an ECG to monitor the activity of your heart. It's vital that any cardiac issues are identified as they can be potentially life-threatening.

What happens when you just collapse? ›

Put simply, fainting happens when there is a drop in blood flow to the brain. When the brain isn't getting the blood (and importantly, the oxygen) it needs, it causes you to lose consciousness and fall down. Fascinatingly (and perhaps counterintuitively), falling is the body's way of trying to recover.

What is in the verge of giving up? ›

On the verge of giving up means surrendering or stop an activity. At a point when (something) is about to happen or is very likely to happen.

How likely is it for society to collapse? ›

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% in most optimistic estimate, to survive without facing a catastrophic collapse.

How many years will the world survive? ›

Four billion years from now, the increase in Earth's surface temperature will cause a runaway greenhouse effect, creating conditions more extreme than present-day Venus and heating Earth's surface enough to melt it. By that point, all life on Earth will be extinct.

What are the signs of civilization collapse? ›

Despite its subjectivity, archaeologists do have characteristics they look for that signal the decline of civilisations, including disruption to trade routes, shifts in supply and demand, disease, environmental degradation, and extreme political dysfunction.

What countries are most likely to collapse? ›

Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents expect Russia to either become a failed state or break up by 2033. More than a fifth (21 percent) consider Russia the most likely country to become a failed state within the next ten years, which is more than twice the percentage for the next most common choice, Afghanistan.

Is a world economic crash coming? ›

While the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and International Monetary Fund expect global growth to plunge to 2.2-2.7% in 2023, from 6.1% in 2021, that still leaves the world economy unlikely to shrink for consecutive quarters.

Is the world economy about to crash? ›

The global economy could face a recession and one of the weakest paces of growth on record in 2023, according to annual projections released Tuesday by the World Bank Group, following a year of accelerated inflation, worsening financial conditions and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

What is gonna happen to Earth in 2025? ›

While the solar cycle is not yet at its peak, the space agency said activity has already surpassed predictions. Solar flares and eruptions will likely increase from now until 2025, as we reach “solar maximum,” writes Nicola Fox, the director of NASA's heliophysics division.

How much longer will Earth sustain? ›

The end of earth will come in 7.59 billion years, unfortunately the end for all life on earth will come much sooner. Various geological catastrophes, like the formation of large igneous provinces (in short LIPs), pose a real danger to life on earth.

What will the world look like in 2070? ›

2070 will be marked by increased acidification of oceans and slow but remorseless sea-level rise that will take hundreds if not thousands of years to reverse – a rise of more than half a metre this century will be the trajectory. “It's a very different world,” Thorne says.

Are we in a mass extinction? ›

The planet has experienced five previous mass extinction events, the last one occurring 65.5 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs from existence. Experts now believe we're in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.

When did humans almost go extinct? ›

New genetic findings suggest that early humans living about one million years ago were extremely close to extinction. The genetic evidence suggests that the effective population—an indicator of genetic diversity—of early human species back then, including Homo erectus, H.

Will humanity survive the next 100 years? ›

Yes, almost certainly, but the factors that determine the outcome are so immensely complex that our blunt and instrumental efforts are almost meaningless. The only thing that makes a difference is the combined impact of all individual animals including humans.

What is the first thing you should do if someone collapses? ›

If someone else faints
  1. Position the person on his or her back. If there are no injuries and the person is breathing, raise the person's legs above heart level — about 12 inches (30 centimeters) — if possible. ...
  2. Check for breathing. If the person isn't breathing, begin CPR.

Can you just collapse? ›

Very occasionally, people collapse without losing consciousness — their muscles just give way. This can happen due to problems with generalised weakness and frailty, a problem with the heart or brain, a seizure or an issue affecting the inner ear.

What are the 5 factors of collapse? ›

Diamond identifies five sets of factors that precipitate societal collapse: environmental damage like deforestation, pollution, soil depletion, or erosion; climate change; hostile neighbors; the withdrawal of support from friendly neighbors; and the ways in which a society responds to its problems, be they ...

What do you feel before you collapse? ›

Before fainting, you may have sweaty palms, dizziness, lightheadedness, problems seeing, or nausea. In young people, the problem usually has no serious cause, though falls related to fainting can lead to injury. But in some cases, it can be due to an underlying heart problem that is more concerning.

How do you feel after collapsing? ›

Feeling ill and nauseous after a faint is very common, and is part of the digestive “vagal” activation, which often also makes you feel washed out for a time after a faint. Why this fainting reaction happens more often to some people than to other is unknown.

Is Collapsing serious? ›

Fortunately, most episodes of fainting are over quickly and are no cause for alarm. But on occasion, when a person collapses for no apparent reason, there may be an underlying condition that deserves attention.

When should we give up? ›

When you're only staying out of obligation. Whether we're talking about a job, relationship, or even a random hobby we picked up along the way, if we're staying only from obligation, it might just be time to quit. Relationships require commitment — but love and affection should factor in, too.

Why are people giving up? ›

Lack of self-belief and poor self-perception is what causes many people to give up on their goals. The best way to deal with a lack of self-belief is to stop judging yourself and stop being overly critical of your actions. Increase your self-awareness and become mindful of your positives.

Why is not giving up worth it? ›

You become more motivated to persevere; thus, you give more value to the work you are doing. You will embrace the fact that there will always be a way to get things done. You learn how to prioritize the things that need to be accomplished first. #9 Never Giving Up Leads You to Happiness.

When was the last civilization collapse? ›

1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed is a 2014 non-fiction book about the Late Bronze Age collapse by American archaeologist Eric H. Cline.
1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.
Cover of the first edition
AuthorEric H. Cline
Media typePrint, e-book, audio book
12 more rows

What does society collapse mean in 2040? ›

However, the data revealed an even bleaker future – our world could experience a total societal collapse by 2040. A total societal collapse would mean an abrupt decline in quality of life, food production, industrial output and ultimately the human population. View gallery.

How can we rebuild society after collapse? ›

A 7-Step Guide for Rebooting Civilization After the Apocalypse
  1. Survive the immediate aftermath. ...
  2. Scavenge what you need. ...
  3. Reconstruct the calendar. ...
  4. Restart a chemical industry. ...
  5. Tree-powered cars. ...
  6. Reestablish contact with remote communities of other survivors. ...
  7. How to relearn all else.
Apr 16, 2014

How many times have humans almost been extinct? ›

According to reports, there have been five major incidents where humans came close to extinction. Around 75,000 years ago, the Toba volcano in Indonesia erupted.

Will climate change cause human extinction? ›

The risk that global warming could lead to human extinction is “dangerously under explored”, climate scientists have warned. As the globe heats up and emissions continue to rise, a team of international researchers has urged governments to start paying attention to “worst case scenario” outcomes.

Are we coming out of an ice age? ›

Not likely, says Gebbie, because there's now so much heat baked into the Earth's system that the melting ice sheets would not readily regrow to their previous size, even if the atmosphere cools.

WHO declared if our civilization fails? ›

W. B. Donham, “If our civilization fails, it will be mainly because of breakdown of administration”. Paul H. Appleby: “Administration is the basis of government. No government can exist without administration.

What happens before a society collapses? ›

What happens before a society collapses? Possible causes of a societal collapse include natural catastrophe, war, pestilence, famine, economic collapse, population decline, and mass migration. A collapsed society may revert to a more primitive state, be absorbed into a stronger society, or completely disappear.

Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided? ›

One key to avoiding a global collapse, and thus an area requiring great effort and caution is avoiding climate-related mass famines. Our agricultural system evolved in a geological period of relatively constant and benign climate and was well attuned to twentieth-century conditions.

What country is most likely to start World War 3? ›

5 places World War III could erupt: Ukraine

Easily the most likely flashpoint for great power war in 2022 lies along the border between Russia and Ukraine.

What country is most likely to survive climate change? ›

A paper published by the Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom has identified five countries in geographical locations with “favourable starting conditions” that may allow them to be less touched by the effects of climate change: New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland.

Which country will see 2023 last? ›

Last place to celebrate New Year

The uninhabited islands of Baker Island and Howland, located near the United States, will be the last places in the world to welcome the new year. These islands will begin their celebrations at 12 pm GMT, or 5:30 pm according to Indian Standard Time, on January 1st.

Is crisis coming in 2023? ›

Two-thirds of the economists polled by the WEF for its Chief Economists Outlook report said a global recession – a shrinking of the world's gross domestic product – was likely in 2023. Also in January, the World Bank warned the global economy was “perilously close to falling into recession”.

Will the US economy crash in 2023? ›

The labor market is cooling down, putting less pressure on wages, while housing prices and new construction have both declined. Unfortunately, this slowdown in economic activity will likely come with a cost: According to Bloomberg's December 2022 survey of economists, there is a 70% chance of a recession in 2023.

Will US face economic crisis? ›

The Fed's rapid rate hikes have raised the likelihood of recession in the next two years to nearly 50%, Goldman Sachs economists have said. And Bank of America economists now forecast a “mild” recession later this year, while Deutsche Bank expects a recession early next year.

What would happen if the US economy crash? ›

A U.S. economic collapse would create global panic. Demand for the dollar and U.S. Treasurys would plummet. Interest rates would skyrocket. Investors would rush to other currencies, such as the yuan, euro, or even gold.

How to prepare for 2023 recession? ›

Consider these 5 financial moves to prepare yourself for a possible recession in 2023
  1. Keep debts under control. ...
  2. Review your tolerance for losses. ...
  3. Build up your liquidity. ...
  4. Re-evaluate your job prospects. ...
  5. Delay retirement if you can.
Jan 8, 2023

What will cause the 2023 recession? ›

Many economists and investors had a clear narrative coming into 2023: The Federal Reserve had spent months pushing borrowing costs rapidly higher in a bid to tame inflation, and those moves were expected to slow growth and the labor market so much that the economy would be at risk of plunging into a downturn.

Will humans go extinct from climate change? ›

If current emissions trends continue, the range is 2.1-3.9C. “We know least about the scenarios that matter most,” Kemp said. “I think it's highly unlikely you are going to see anything close to even extinction over the next century simply because humans are incredibly resilient.

How different will the world be in 100 years? ›

Many workstations would be replaced by robots. There would also be new and faster means of transportation – Maybe even flying cars. Our climate would continue to increase in temperature. The world population would increase by several billion and therefore our field and forests would disappear and become cities.

How the world will be after 500 years? ›

In five hundred years technology should be more advanced but the world will be polluted due to the waste humans produce and it will be hot due to the Global warming. If global warming keeps increasing at the rate it is the earth will be unfit for humans to live in.

What is the most likely way humans go extinct? ›

Supervolcano eruption

The eruption of a super volcano, like the one below Yellowstone, could pump out so much ash that it would block out the Sun, sending the Earth into an ice age and driving huge numbers of species extinct along the way.

How long will the Earth last with global warming? ›

Just 6% more sunlight was enough to send the greenhouse effect into overdrive and vaporize Earth's water, the researchers found. At the current rate of solar brightening—just over 1% every 100 million years—Earth would suffer this "runaway greenhouse" in 600 million to 700 million years.

What happens if we do nothing to stop climate change? ›

What happens if we do nothing to stop climate change? If we do not take further action to stop climate impacts we're already experiencing, the planet is likely to see global temperatures rise by 2-4 °C (3-7 °F) by the end of the century.

How hot will it be in 100 years? ›

According to the 2017 U.S. Climate Science Special Report, if yearly emissions continue to increase rapidly, as they have since 2000, models project that by the end of this century, global temperature will be at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 1901-1960 average, and possibly as much as 10.2 degrees warmer.

How will the world be in 2070? ›

2070 will be marked by increased acidification of oceans and slow but remorseless sea-level rise that will take hundreds if not thousands of years to reverse – a rise of more than half a metre this century will be the trajectory. “It's a very different world,” Thorne says.

What will happen to Earth after 20 years? ›

“We might witness catastrophic floods, hurricanes, and droughts. The world could be extinct in about 20 years if we are complacent,” she says. Stopping the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases can help in preserving the earth, feels Aayushi. “We must go green and switch to electric vehicles,” she adds.

How will humans be in 1000 years? ›

In the next 1,000 years, the amount of languages spoken on the planet are set to seriously diminish, and all that extra heat and UV radiation could see darker skin become an evolutionary advantage. And we're all set to get a whole lot taller and thinner, if we want to survive, that is.


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