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Published on August 9th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


Societal Collapse Isn’t A Good Choice From Essentially Every Angle

August 9th, 2016 by  

CleanTechnica is in business for some obvious reasons: to help stop global warming, to cut air and water pollution, to help more of society gain correct and useful information, and to cut our addiction to limited resources buried under the ground long, long ago.

To me, and to many of you, these just seem like obvious goals. Yes, of course we want a pleasant climate, clean air and water, longer lives and more enjoyable lives (conducted outside of hospital rooms), democracy-boosting information, and energy independence (from other countries as well as other eras).

However, there are “competing” arguments out there regarding the economics of quick technology shifts, job losses in certain industries, whether “better” is good enough even though it isn’t “perfect,” and whether democratic media is pointless or super cool.

The point that repeatedly comes back to me when presented with such arguments, which is what inspired the title of this article ~1 year ago (yes, I’ve been meaning to write this one for a little while), is so obvious that I sometimes can’t believe humans can be so reckless: If society collapses, your arguments for a slow transition to clean technology don’t freakin’ matter — we’re screwed!

I know many of our readers are well aware of this. In fact, I’d assume this is what drives most of you to read CleanTechnica on a regular basis. However, it seems that most people simply aren’t aware that we’re steering society toward unprecedented collapse; that we’re conducting one of the most idiotic experiments in human history (maybe the most idiotic experiment); that $100 is rather worthless when our planet is on fire, our cities are crushed, our coastlines are ocean floors for the lucky fish who have survived ocean acidification, etc.

Here are a few points that, to me, make it rather obvious that it’s better to push harder for a quick shift in societal direction (rather than lead ourselves to societal collapse or hope that the problem gets solved at the last minute):

global warming emissions

This metaphor isn’t perfect, but think of it like this:

We are small organisms in an oven. The door is closed and someone has turned on the heat. Sitting in the oven with us are something like popcorn kernels … but they are kernels made of a variety of diseases, bombs, and “Steve Buscemi clones gone wild.”

We have basically two options: 1) Work together to push the door open and escape with as little damage as possible, or 2) get increasingly destroyed by the rising heat, these exploding Buscemi/bomb/disease kernels. (Of course, if some humans are lucky, they could escape to Mars the fridge.)

Is it really that hard to choose the best option here?

Is it really so hard to realize that spending $2 trillion now to save $20 trillion by 2100 and $40 trillion by 2200 — and to protect ourselves against societal collapse further down the road — is a good idea?


Think about it, and share the obvious — it isn’t obvious to everyone.



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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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