Collapse is Now! Processes of systems collapse are already underway. Collapse is not something that is coming in the future as an “end of the world” event. We are living now in the volatile processes in which different systems are collapsing. If we speak of collapse as in the future, we speak deceptively and inaccurately.
I have been really slow to recognize that the radical changes to climate that threaten survival of life are matched in importance by the severe loss of biodiversity. But when Lauren Van Ham (daughter), climate coordinator with United Religions Initiatives, told me she would be going in December Montreal for Cop15, the UN biodiversity international conference, I began to pay attention.
Growth economies face a conundrum: how is continued growth possible on a limited planet? At the end of summer 2022, growth economics had created 2700 billionaires, 720 of them in the U.S. And Credit Suisse tells us in their annual Wealth Report that there are now 62.5 million millionaires. Yet, simultaneously, an open letter signed by at least 238 international and local charities from 75 countries reported 345 million people now experience acute hunger and one dies every four seconds from hunger. Ecologi-cally, the wealthier a person, the greater the damage to the planet (and souls?).
Collapse frightens, destroys. Though full of pain, death, and the unimaginable, it’s never been the last word. Five previous mass extinctions have been followed by Earth’s regeneration. Though it took hundreds of thousands of years, Earth’s regeneration of life proved stronger than collapse.
As anxiety and fear intensify around the breakdowns in nature and societies, conversations increase. People wonder: How do we hold civilization together? What fixes work? How can we pay for the massive fixes necessary? What if we’ve passed the tipping point and civilization does collapse? What then?