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A Study by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on Climate Change:

September 7, 2015


A study five years ago sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilization could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

“By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources ”; 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.’”

In seems to me, now five years after the report, that the report was prescient. The predicted economic stratification has metastasized to where a few hundred fantastically wealthy individuals control more of the world’s wealth than the remaining 8 billion people living today. Necessary resources such as water and more and more clean air are becoming under the control of these same oligarchs. Sooner or later there becomes a risk that they will become the arbiters of who lives and who dies.  History has demonstrated that in the midst of environmental, economic and social collapse human life becomes among the least costly resources to expend in order for the wealthy and powerful to assure their survival.

(See also another 2015 article on the economic impact of climate change —

  1. Terry permalink

    The existential threats to the Earth’s resources, climate, ecosystems, and biomass are only worsening at an accelerating rate. It is not an accident, a blunder, or a mistake — it’s deliberate. The root cause dates back to the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment when scientism emerged in its initial nascent state. It has since (thanks to 20th century neopositivism) become indentured to the fascist capitalist cabal and their praetorian corporatocracy (together forming the “1%”), setting genuinely rational science aside for rapacious profiteering of nonrenewable resources.

    Scholarly research, publication, and teaching on this perspective is steadily growing. Some specific recommendations for insight are:

    (1) Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (;

    (2) The World Economic Forum’s “Davos Manifesto 2020,” as evidence that the 1% will not relinquish one widow’s mite of the wealth and power and the global rule and control it affords them (; and,

    (3) The works of Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky in general, but especially —

    (a) Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (;
    (b) America: The Farewell Tour (;
    (c) Who Rules the World? (; and,
    (d) Requiem for the American Dream (

    The Mass Extinction Level Events on Earth – Round 6 (‘MELEE-R6’) and its climate, ecosystem, and other manifestations are only part of the existential threat landscape we’re on. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists November 2017 Special Issue on the “Existential Nexus” is also worthwhile for insight into the confluence of not only MELEE-R6, but also WMDs and disruptive tech (genetics, robotics, AI, nanotech, etc.). See


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