Bibliography of Literature Relevant to Our Future Sustainability

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VI.     Synthesis of Existential Risks and the Potential for Societal Collapse

Bounce me down to the bibliography citations

What’s Here

This bibliography is concerned with disturbing environmental and social trends, along with the potential to make things better and the risks if we don’t.  In this section, the referenced articles look at the big picture, synthesizing the various problems and trends and projecting our near future likely outcomes.  If you want to get maximally freaked out, this is your go-to section of the bibliography.

Many citations here are of articles from journals that are listed in italics, meaning they have gone through a peer review process.  There are also links to books, essays from blogs, news magazine analyses and op eds, a few videos, and some reports sponsored by government agencies and NGOs.  These are analyses of what the future holds, but few are modeling or statistics heavy studies.  Instead, these are articles where authors are sharing their evaluation based on a synthesis of many studies and their gut feelings about our state of affairs and what they portend.  This section is speculative.

There are > 150 articles in this section written by even more authors.  What is striking is the similarity of the take home messages in the lot, regardless of publication venue or author background. There is a growing, dark consensus here in the second decade of the 21st century. An ever-increasing segment of the climate scientists, environmental scientists, social scientists, science beat journalists, etc. have looked squarely upon what we have wrought here in the Anthropocene, in large part via their own review of the literature represented in the first 4 sections of this bibliography, and have concluded that our growth-at-all-costs capitalistic society will not be sustained.  It should be concerning that so many people, with their reputations on the line, are writing about the likelihood of societal collapse in this century.

But hey, maybe these authors have it all wrong.  Theirs is still, seemingly, a minority view.  Maybe they are wrong because their views reflect a vast conspiracy in the scientific community to usher in a leftist autocracy, as some on the right would have you believe.  Maybe they are wrong because they foolishly have insufficient faith in the clever power of free markets, laissez faire politics, plutocracy, and technological innovation to overcome any resource limits, climate instability, or massive population shifts.  Maybe they are wrong because climate change and the elimination of the planet’s diversity just isn’t a concern.

The previous paragraph is more than a little facetious. I dismiss these arguments as the products of motivated reasoning.1, 2, 3  Section III of this bibliography contains links to many articles that dismantle these arguments in a variety of ways, including the simple application of facts. But it is certainly fair to question just how justified are the gloomier prognostications of the articles cited below. After all, every generation has its doomsayers and yet we have been experiencing more or less continual economic development and intertwined globalization for centuries. 

It is also fair to wonder about the degree to which the authors represented in this section may be biased by their own motivated reasoning as well. What might motivate a rational person to conclude that society as we know it is destined to collapse, aside from troubling data and trends?  Why is there an apparent surge in apocalyptic thinking among people concerned with the environment and social justice?4, 5, 6  To some extent, this could come from an epidemic of despair over the failure of attempts to significantly reform our socio-economic system.7, 8  Or perhaps characterizing our challenge as potentially apocalyptic enables activists to better sell the urgency of their cause and position themselves as the heroic protagonist.9, 10

There is also an apparent romantic (or perhaps just exhausted) yearning within the environmental community for a more decentralized, pastoral, and communal lifestyle, which may well end up being the best-case scenario for fortunate regions on the other side of significant economic and political collapse. There are many advocates of eco-communalism as the way forward within the sustainability community.5, 11 

There may also be something more subconscious influencing some doomsayers.  If you reach the conclusion that we are embedded in a system that is horrifically damaging, unjust, beyond democratic control, and inherently pathological, you just might find some hidden comfort in a narrative where it is destined to fall in relatively short order. In this narrative, you no longer have any responsibility to do anything to fix a doomed and irredeemable system. It’s going to happen and you can bide your time while continuing to participate in a system you can simultaneously disavow.12  This is essentially the fatalistic take of Jonathan Franzen in his 9/8/19 essay in The New Yorker magazine that received so much pushback during the week I wrote this preface.13  

None of this is to say, however, that the assessments projecting possible societal collapse within this century are easily dismissed, regardless of any motivated reasoning that may lurk in the hearts of the authors. Sometimes the data does support a conclusion that echoes your preconceptions.  Civilizations do collapse and there is little reason to think that ours is immune to the stresses that have taken out so many previous grand societies. Meanwhile, we are facing an additional, unique set of serious challenges on a horrifying time table as detailed in sections I, II, III and IV.  Collapsed is not an inappropriate description right now for the status of countries like Yemen and Venezuela and it certainly seems like the world is becoming more unstable.14, 15, 16 Ultimately, however, it is up to you – the judicious reader – to decide whether the conclusions of the articles in this section are justified or not. 

Many people have been performing this exact evaluation and section VII of this bibliography (Activisim, Eco-anxiety and the Psychology of Confronting the “Traumacene) shares articles relating the impacts this process is having on those who feel that our future prospects are grim indeed. As is apparent via the articles of section VII, there is a groundswell of environmental anxiety, grief, and alarm to the extent that children are protesting in the streets,17, 18 women are swearing off having children,19, 20 the trending climate activism group is called Extinction Rebellion, and the psychiatric community is grappling with a whole new kind of PTSD. 21, 22 

If you are looking for some solace, you can see how the collapse outcome isn’t explicitly included in most of the scenario analyses of the articles shared in section V, though it is a potential trajectory in the Great Transitions analysis. Also, section XII (Hopeful Resources – On Hope, Activism, and Examples of Positive Change) contains many resources meant to alleviate the despair and paralysis from feeling that a dystopian future is in the cards.  For example, there are links in that section to many groups one could support in their fight against a darker future, along with tales of success and the power of hope.  In that vein, section VIII (Conservation, Restoration, Mitigation,  Adaptation à Resilience) shares articles on many varied efforts, both occurring and proposed, to foster resilience and thus shore up society as we recognize it.  Section XI (Sustainability Manifestos), on the other hand, provides links to numerous proposals for more transformative, just, and sustainable reformations of culture and socio-economics that we can implement to either avoid outright collapse or use as guides in the aftermath of non-apocalyptic forms of collapse.  And yes, there are movements afoot to prepare for and soften any imminent collapse.23, 24, 25, 26

I have written all of the above to prepare you - to inoculate you - prior to reading the articles cited below.  They aren’t likely to sit well unless you are craving some confirmation of your own preconceived dystopian fears.  Professors and teachers of all levels may want to start with Jem Bendell’s landmark paper as he is writing specifically to his fellow academics and he has followed it up by establishing a community (grown to >10,000 participants in just 6 months) to discuss how best to adapt to collapse.27, 28

 

If reading these articles are making you despair, take a break and deflect with a laugh. Still too dark? Ok, try this one. Not making you feel better? Go full absurd here.

Citations

       

Ahmed, N (2014). Nasa-funded Study: Industrial Civilisation Headed for 'Irreversible Collapse'? The Guardian, March 14. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

 

Ahmed, N (2017). Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence. Springer International Pub. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319478142

 

Ahmed, N (2019a). Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise. Resilience.org, May 2. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-05-02/scientists-warn-the-un-of-capitalisms-imminent-demise/

 

Ahmed, N (2019b). U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change, Report Commissioned By Pentagon Says. Vice, Oct. 24. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mbmkz8/us-military-could-collapse-within-20-years-due-to-climate-change-report-commissioned-by-pentagon-says

 

Ahmed, N (2019c). The Collapse of Civilization May Have Already Begun. Vice, Nov. 22. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8xwygg/the-collapse-of-civilization-may-have-already-begun

 

Ahmed, N (2020a). West’s ‘Dust Bowl’ Future now ‘Locked In’, as World Risks Imminent Food Crisis. Resilience, Jan. 6. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-01-06/wests-dust-bowl-future-now-locked-in-as-world-risks-imminent-food-crisis/

 

Ahmed, N (2020b). Theoretical Physicists Say 90% Chance of Societal Collapse Within Several Decades. Vice, July 28. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akzn5a/theoretical-physicists-say-90-chance-of-societal-collapse-within-several-decades

 

Ahmed, N and Miller, A (2020). Our Naked Emperors Catch Coronavirus: Nafeez Ahmed on Global System Breakdown. Crazy Town podcast, April. Post Carbon Institute. https://www.buzzsprout.com/244372/3169123-our-naked-emperors-catch-coronavirus-nafeez-ahmed-on-global-system-breakdown

 

Alexander, S (2015). Voluntary Simplification as an Alternative to Collapse, in Prosperous Descent. Simplicity Institute Publishing. http://samuelalexander.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Voluntary-Simplification-as-an-Alternative-to-Collapse-Samuel-Alexander-1.pdf

 

American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014). What We Know: The Realities, Risks and Response to Climate Change. http://whatweknow.aaas.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/whatweknow_website.pdf

 

Andersen, R (2012). We're Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction. The Atlantic, March 6. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/were-underestimating-the-risk-of-human-extinction/253821/

 

Bardi, U, Falsini, S and Perissi, I (2019). Toward a General Theory of Societal Collapse: A Biophysical Examination of Tainter’s Model of the Diminishing Returns of Complexity. BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41247-018-0049-0

 

Barnosky, A and 16 co-authors (2014). Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century: Information for Policy Makers. Stanford University. https://consensusforaction.stanford.edu/see-scientific-consensus/consensus_english.pdf  

 

Barnosky, A, Ehrlich, P and Hadly, E (2016). Avoiding Collapse: Grand Challenges for Science and Society to Solve by 2050. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 4. https://www.elementascience.org/articles/10.12952/journal.elementa.000094/

 

Barnosky, et al., (2012). Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere. Nature, 486: 52-58.  http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11018.html

 

Barnosky, et al., (2013). Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century. Consensus for Action, Stanford University. http://consensusforaction.stanford.edu/see-scientific-consensus/consensus_english_final-2.pdf

 

Baum, S (2015). The Far Future Argument for Confronting Catastrophic Threats to Humanity: Practical Significance and Alternatives. Futures, 72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2015.03.001

 

Baum, S and Tonn, B (eds.) (2015). Confronting Future Catastrophic Threats to Humanity [Special issue]. Futures, 72. http://sethbaum.com/ac/2015_CatastrophicThreats.html [Leads to several related articles]

 

Beard, S (2017). Climate Change and the Worst-Case Scenario. Institute for Public Policy Research. https://www.ippr.org/juncture-item/climate-change-and-the-worst-case-scenario

 

Beard, S, Holt, L and Upchurch, P (2019). Dinosaurs were Wiped Out by a Catastrophic Failure of Earth’s Natural Systems – the Same Could Happen to Us. Newsweek, March 29. https://www.newsweek.com/dinosaurs-catastrophic-failure-earths-natural-systems-1379592

 

Bendell, J (2018).  Deep Adaptation: Navigating Climate Tragedy.  Institute for Leadership and Sustainability Occasional Paper 2. http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf

 

Bendell, J (2019a). Notes on Hunger and Collapse. Wordpress, March 28. https://jembendell.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/notes-on-hunger-and-collapse/

 

Bendell, J (2019b). Compendium of Research Reports on Climate Chaos and Impacts. Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, July 7.  https://iflas.blogspot.com/2019/07/compendium-of-research-reports-on.html

 

Bendell, J (2020a). Climate Science and Collapse – Warnings Lost in the Wind. Jem Bendell.com, June 15. https://jembendell.com/2020/06/15/climate-science-and-collapse-warnings-lost-in-the-wind/

 

Bendell, J (2020b). Debating the Pros and Cons of Deep Adaptation? Start Here with a New Edition of Original Paper. Jem Bendell.com, July 27. https://jembendell.com/2020/07/27/debating-the-pros-and-cons-of-deep-adaptation-start-here-with-a-new-edition-of-original-paper/

 

Bernado, J (2010). Global Crisis and the Uncertain Future, in Pires I, Gibert, M and Hens, L. (eds) Studies in Human Ecology. Belgian-Vietnamese Cooperation. Pdf 

 

Biggs, D, Biggs, R, Dakos, B, Scholes, R and Schoon, M (2011). Are We Entering an Era of Concatenated Global Crises? Ecology and Society, 16(2). https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss2/art27/

 

Bologna, M and Aquino, G (2020). Deforestation and World Population Sustainability: A Quantitative Analysis. Scientific Reports, 10(7631). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-63657-6

 

Bostrom, N (2002). Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazard. Journal of Evolution and Technology, 9(1). https://nickbostrom.com/existential/risks.pdf

 

Bostrom, N and Cirkovic, M (2008). Introduction, in Bostrom, N and Cirkovic, M [eds.] Global Catastrophic Risks. Oxford University Press. http://www.global-catastrophic-risks.com/docs/Chap01.pdf

 

Bradford, J (2019). The Future is Rural: Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification. Post Carbon Institute. https://www.postcarbon.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/The-Future-Is-Rural-2019.pdf

 

Brannen, P (2017). Burning Fossil Fuels Almost Ended All Life on Earth. The Atlantic, July. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/07/a-road-trip-to-the-end-of-the-world/532914/

 

Brewer, J (2018a). Why I No Longer Attempt to Build a Rigorous Science of Social Change. Center for Applied Cultural Evolution. https://www.slideshare.net/joebrewer31/why-i-am-no-longer-attempting-to-build-a-rigorous-science-of-social-change

 

Brewer, J (2018b). Cultural Scaffolding for Post Collapse. Center for Applied Cultural Evolution. https://www.slideshare.net/joebrewer31/cultural-scaffolding-for-post-collapse

 

Brito, L and Smith, M (2012). State of the Planet Declaration. Planet Under Pressure Conference: New Knowledge Towards Solutions. http://www.igbp.net/publications/stateoftheplanetdeclaration.4.6b007aff13cb59eff6411baa.html

 

Brosig, M, Frawley, P, Hill, A, Jahn, M,Mrsicek, M, Paris, A, Rose, M, Shambaljamts, A and Thomas, N (2019). Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army. U.S. Army War College. https://climateandsecurity.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/implications-of-climate-change-for-us-army_army-war-college_2019.pdf

 

Burger, J and 10 co-authors (2012). The Macroecology of Sustainability. PLoS Biology, 10(6): https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1001345

 

Butler, C (2016). Sounding the Alarm: Health in the Anthropocene. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(7). https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/13/7/665/htm

 

Butler, C (2017). Limits to Growth, Planetary Boundaries, and Planetary Health. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 25: 59-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.08.002

 

Butler, C (2018). Climate Change, Health and Existential Risks to Civilization: A Comprehensive Review (1989–2013). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(10). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210172/

 

Campbell, K, Gulledge, J, McNeill, J, Podesta, J, Ogden, P, Fuerth, L, Woolsey, RJ, Lennon, A, Smith, J, Weitz, R and Mix, D (2007). The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change. Center for Strategic and International Studies. https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/media/csis/pubs/071105_ageofconsequences.pdf

 

Capellan-Perez, I, Mediavilla, M, de Castro, C, Carpintero, O and Miguel, L (2015). More Growth? An Unfeasible Option to Overcome Critical Energy Constraints and Climate Change. Sustainability Science, 10. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-015-0299-3

 

Carter, P (2019). Dr. Peter Carter: Summarising the Lack of "Climate Emergency" at #COP25. YouTube, Dec. 10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa13KrOvE2s&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1WLLU3fulylAICs_0WDe6rZlb64heHf2ix_7ee6iHlFrRyWzAVLu19Bno

 

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (2020). Our Research. https://www.cser.ac.uk/research/

 

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (2020). Extreme Risks and the Global Environment. University of Cambridge. https://www.cser.ac.uk/research/extreme-risks-and-global-environment/  [Web site leading to many articles.]

 

Cole, A (2019). Climate Change is Genocide. Stuff.com, Aug. 25. https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/115230184/climate-change-is-genocide

 

Collins, C (2018). Meet Catabolic Capitalism: Globalization’s Gruesome Twin. Uneven Earth, Nov. 1. http://unevenearth.org/2018/11/meet-catabolic-capitalism-globalizations-gruesome-twin/

 

The Commission for the Human Future (2020). Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century. http://humansforsurvival.org/sites/default/files/CHF_Roundtable_Report_March_2020.pdf

 

Connor, R, Talafre, J, Hasan, E and Abolina, E (2015a). Unsustainable Growth, in The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. World Water Assessment Programme, UNESCO. Pp. 1-14. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002318/231823E.pdf 

 

Costanza, R, Graumlich, L, Steffen, W, Crumley, C, Dearing, J, Hibbard, K, Leemans, R, Redman, C and Schimel, D (2007). Sustainability or Collapse: What Can We Learn from Integrating the History of Humans and the Rest of Nature? AMBIO:A Journal of the Human Environment, 36(7). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[522:SOCWCW]2.0.CO;2

 

Cuaron, A (2007). The Possibility of Hope. Bonus Feature Documentary on Children of Men DVD. Universal Studios. https://vimeo.com/5222051

 

Curtis, F (2009). Peak Globalization: Climate Change, Oil Depletion and Global Trade. Ecological Economics, 69(2): 427-434. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800909003334

 

Dalio, R (2020). The Changing World Order. Principles.com. https://www.principles.com/the-changing-world-order/ [Online book looking at the patterns associated with the rise and fall of Empires, with an emphasis on the ongoing decline of the USA.]

 

DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (2012). Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet. Fundación DARA Internacional. https://daraint.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/CVM2-Low.pdf

 

Dasgupta, R (2018).  The Demise of the Nation State.  The Guardian, April 5. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/apr/05/demise-of-the-nation-state-rana-dasgupta

 

Dauncey, G (2019). Ok Doomer. Resilience, Nov. 26. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-11-26/ok-doomer/

 

Davis, W (2020). The Unraveling of America. Rolling Stone, Aug. 6. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/covid-19-end-of-american-era-wade-davis-1038206/

 

Deep Green Resistance (2020). Indicators of Ecological Collapse. https://deepgreenresistance.org/en/why-resist/ecological-collapse

 

Diamond, J (2003). Why Societies Collapse. TED. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IESYMFtLIis [19 minute video]

 

Diamond, J (2005).  Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Viking Penguin.

 

Dowd, M (2020). Collapse 101: The Inevitable Fruit of Progress. YouTube, July 24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Ml9uJNF_kXk&app=desktop

 

Dunbar, R, Zebrowski, C and Olsson, P (2020). Is Humanity Doomed Because We Can’t Plan for the Long Term? Three Experts Discuss. The Conversation, Aug. 5. https://theconversation.com/is-humanity-doomed-because-we-cant-plan-for-the-long-term-three-experts-discuss-137943

 

Duterme, R and Servigne, P (2016). The Coming Collapse. Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt. http://www.cadtm.org/The-coming-collapse [Interview with authors of “Collapse, What Does it Mean?” and “How Everything Could Collapse” respectively]

 

Dyke, J (2019). Climate Change: ‘We’ve Created a Civilisation Hell Bent on Destroying Itself – I’m Terrified’, Writes Earth Scientist. The Conversation, May 24. https://theconversation.com/climate-change-weve-created-a-civilisation-hell-bent-on-destroying-itself-im-terrified-writes-earth-scientist-113055

 

Ehrlich, P and Ehrlich, A (2013). Can a Collapse of Global Civilization be Avoided? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 280(1754). https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2012.2845

 

Ehrlich, P and Ehrlich, A (2016). Population, Resources, and the Faith-Based Economy: the Situation in 2016. BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality, 1(3). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41247-016-0003-y

 

Engelhardt, T (2019). The Collective Asteroid of Human History. Tikkun, Sept. 17. https://www.tikkun.org/the-collective-asteroid-of-human-history

 

Fallows, J (2019). The End of the Roman Empire Wasn’t That Bad: Maybe the End of the American One Won’t be Either. The Atlantic, Oct. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/10/in-the-fall-of-rome-good-news-for-america/596638/  

 

Farquhar, S, Halstead, J, Cotton-Barratt, O, Schubert, S, Belfield, H, and Snyder-Beattie, A (2017). Existential Risk: Diplomacy and Governance. Global Priorities Project. https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/Existential-Risks-2017-01-23.pdf

 

Felton, J (2019). Claim that Human Civilization Could End in 30 years is Speculative, Not Supported with Evidence. Climate Feedback, June 4. https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/iflscience-story-on-speculative-report-provides-little-scientific-context-james-felton/

 

Femia, F and Werrel, C (2017). Climate Change, the Erosion of State Sovereignty, and World Order, in Werrell, C and Femia, F, (eds) Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene. The Center for Climate and Security. https://climateandsecurity.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/1_eroding-sovereignty.pdf

 

Foa, R and Mounk, Y (2017). The Signs of Deconsolidation. Journal of Democracy, 28(1): 5-15. https://www.journalofdemocracy.org/article/signs-deconsolidation

 

Foss, N (2015). The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space. The Automatic Earth, Aug. 20. https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/08/nicole-foss-the-boundaries-and-future-of-solution-space/

 

Foster, J (2017). Towards Deep Hope: Climate Tragedy, Realism and Policy. Green House Think Tank. https://www.greenhousethinktank.org/uploads/4/8/3/2/48324387/towards_deep_hope_inside_final.pdf

 

The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (2019). Avoiding Tyranny. http://www.feasta.org/2019/10/11/avoiding-tyranny/  [A transcript of a revealing exchange between an ecological economist and a mainstream economist. They quickly reach an impasse where the mainstream economist won’t acknowledge the pathologies of our interlinked energy and financial systems and the ecological economist squirms when accused of supporting a kind of governance best characterized as an “ecological tyranny.”]

 

Franco, E (2020). Global Risk Report 2020. World Economic Forum. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_Risk_Report_2020.pdf

 

Franzen, J (2019). What If We Stopped Pretending? The New Yorker, Sept. 8. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/what-if-we-stopped-pretending [Easy to read, but fatalist]

 

Future Earth (2020). Our Future on Earth. https://futureearth.org/publications/our-future-on-earth/

 

Future of Humanity Institute (n.d.). Existential Risk FAQ: Threats to Humanity’s Future. University of Oxford. https://www.existential-risk.org/faq.html

 

Gaub, F (2019). Global Trends to 2030: Challenges and Choices for Europe. European Strategy and Policy Analysis System. https://ec.europa.eu/assets/epsc/pages/espas/ESPAS_Report2019.pdf

 

Ge, M, Lebling, K, Levin, K and Friedrich, J (2019). Tracking Progress of the 2020 Climate Turning Point. World Resources Institute. https://wriorg.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/2020-turning-point-progress_2.pdf

 

Gelspan, R (2007). It’s Too Late to Stop Climate Change, Argues Ross Gelbspan — So What Do We Do Now? Grist, Dec. 11. https://grist.org/article/beyond-the-point-of-no-return/

 

Gesturing Toward Decolonial Futures (2020a). The (Shit) Storm Categories. https://decolonialfutures.net/portfolio/the-shit-storm/

 

Gesturing Toward Decolonial Futures (2020b). Preparing for the End of the World as We Know It. Open Democracy, Aug 24. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/preparing-end-world-we-know-it/

 

Giangrande, N (2020). Is Deep Adaptation Good Science? The Ecologist, July 29. https://theecologist.org/2020/jul/29/deep-adaptation-good-science

 

Gilding, P (2012). The Earth is Full. TED talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_gilding_the_earth_is_full [Clear and concise overview]

 

Gilkson, A (2020). While We Fixate on Coronavirus, Earth is Hurtling Towards a Catastrophe Worse than the Dinosaur Extinction. The Conversation, April 2. https://theconversation.com/while-we-fixate-on-coronavirus-earth-is-hurtling-towards-a-catastrophe-worse-than-the-dinosaur-extinction-130869

 

Gillings, M and Hagan-Lawson, E (2014). The Cost of Living in the Anthropocene. Earth Perspectives, 1(2). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/2194-6434-1-2 [Good overview of our challenges]

 

Gills, B and Morgan, J (2019). Global Climate Emergency: After COP24, Climate Science, Urgency, and the Threat to Humanity. Globalizations, 17(6). https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2019.1669915 [Good one]

 

Global Challenges Foundation (2017). Global Catastrophic Risk 2017. http://globalprioritiesproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Global-Catastrophic-Risk-Annual-Report-2016-FINAL.pdf

 

Global Challenges Foundation (2018). Global Catastrophic Risk 2018. https://www.humanitarianfutures.org/global-catastrophic-risk-report-2018/

 

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Meyer, R (2019b). How Climate Change Could Trigger the Next Global Financial Crisis. The Atlantic, Aug. 1. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/08/how-fed-could-fight-climate-change-adam-tooze/595084/

 

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Munsch, M (2018). Quitting Your Job in the Anthropocene. Noteworthy – The Journal Blog, Nov. 9. https://blog.usejournal.com/quitting-your-job-in-the-anthropocene-13c81660ffa3

 

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Nicholas, T, Hall, G and Schmidt, C (2020). The Faulty Science, Doomism, and Flawed Conclusions of Deep Adaptation. Open Democracy, July 14. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/faulty-science-doomism-and-flawed-conclusions-deep-adaptation/

 

Nolan, C and 41 co-authors (2018). Past and Future Global Transformation of Terrestrial Ecosystems Under Climate Change. Science, 361(6405): http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/920

 

Nuwer, R (2017).  How Western Civilisation Could Collapse.  BBC Future, April 18. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170418-how-western-civilisation-could-collapse [An easy overview]

 

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Orlov, D (2013). The Five Stages of Collapse. New Society Publishers.

 

Orr, D (2009). Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse. Oxford Univ. Press.

 

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Pamlin, D and Armstrong, S (2015).  Global Challenges: 12 Risks that Threaten Human Civilisation. Global Challenges Foundation. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59dc930532601e9d148e3c25/t/59f11eebfe54ef5bd76cb38d/1508974382403/12-Risks-that-threaten-human-civilisation-GCF-Oxford-2015.pdf

 

Papillon (2020). The End of the World Is Nigh. Or Is It? Medium, May 4. https://medium.com/@papillon.earth/the-end-of-the-world-is-nigh-or-is-it-3c007726951e

 

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Peak Prosperity (2014). The Crash Course. https://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse/ [Breaks it down into a series of 26 videos.]

 

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Post Carbon Institute (2010). The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century's Sustainability Crises. https://www.scribd.com/lists/3724981/The-Post-Carbon-Reader-Managing-the-21st-Century-s-Sustainability-Crises-2010 [30 essays by “some of the most provocative thinkers on the key issues shaping our new century, from renewable energy and urban agriculture to social justice and community resilience.”]

 

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Real News Network (2018). Michael Mann: We Are Even Closer To Climate Disaster Than IPCC Predicts. https://therealnews.com/stories/michael-mann-we-are-even-closer-to-climate-disaster-than-ipcc-predicts [video]

 

Rees, M (2014). Existential Risks. Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility. Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Extra Series 41. http://www.pas.va/content/dam/accademia/pdf/es41/es41-rees.pdf

 

Rees,M (2019). Prospects for Humanity. The Long Now Foundation. http://longnow.org/seminars/02019/jan/14/prospects-humanity/ [video of talk]

 

Rees, W (2017). Chapter 6. The Roots of Our Crises: Does Human Nature Drive Us Toward Collapse?, in Lerch, D (ed.), The Community Resilience Reader: Essential Resources for an Era of Upheaval. Post Carbon Institute. https://reader.resilience.org/

 

Rees, W (2019). End Game: The Economy as Eco-catastrophe and What Needs to Change. Real-World Economics Review, 87. http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue87/Rees87.pdf

 

Rees, W (2019). Yes, the Climate Crisis May Wipe out Six Billion People. The Tyee, Sept. 18. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/09/18/Climate-Crisis-Wipe-Out/

 

Rees, W (2019). Don’t Call Me a Pessimist on Climate Change. I Am a Realist. The Tyee, Nov. 11. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/11/11/Climate-Change-Realist-Face-Facts/

 

Rees, W (2019). Memo from a Climate Crisis Realist: The Choice before Us. The Tyee, Nov. 12. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/11/12/Climate-Crisis-Realist-Memo/

 

Reid, R (2019). In the Not-so-distant Future, “Synbio” Could Lead to Global Catastrophe—Maybe. Ars Technica, June 18. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/06/what-happens-if-we-engineer-a-superbug-and-the-lab-gets-hacked/

 

Renner, M (2013). Climate Change and Displacements, in Assadourian, E and Prugh, T (eds.), State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? Worldwatch Institute. http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/More_Books_and_Reports/State_of_the_World/State_of_the_World_2013-Is_Sustainability_Still_Possible.pdf

 

Ridley, M (2020). Against Environmental Pessimism. Property and Environment Research Center, 39(1). https://www.perc.org/2020/07/06/against-environmental-pessimism/ [Techno-optimism ”free market environmentalism” rebuttal to many environmental tropes. Poorly supported.]

 

Rigaud, K, Kanta, de Sherbinin, A, Jones, B, Bergmann, J, Clement, V, Ober, K, Schewe, J, Adamo, S, McCusker, B, Heuser, S, and Midgley, A (2018). Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. The World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/29461

 

Ripple, W, Wolf, C, Galetti, M, Newsome, T, Alamgir, M, Crist, E, Mahmoud, M, Laurance, W (2017). World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice. Bioscience, 67(12). https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/67/12/1026/4605229

 

Ripple, W, Wolf, C and Newson, T (2019). World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency. Bioscience Magazine, (in press). http://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/sites/sw/files/climate%20emergency%20summary%207-25-19.pdf

 

Roberts, D (2011). The Brutal Logic of Climate Change. Grist, Dec. 6. https://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/

 

Roberts, D (2015). The Awful Truth About Climate Change No One Wants to Admit. Vox, May15. https://www.vox.com/2015/5/15/8612113/truth-climate-change

 

Roberts, D (2019). This is an Emergency, Damn It. Vox, Feb. 23. https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/2/23/18228142/green-new-deal-critics

 

Robinson, K (2013). Is It Too Late?, in Assadourian, E and Prugh, T eds., State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? Worldwatch Institute. http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/More_Books_and_Reports/State_of_the_World/State_of_the_World_2013-Is_Sustainability_Still_Possible.pdf

 

Rockstrom, J, Schellnhuber, H, Hoskin B, Ramanathan, V, Schlosser, P, Brasseur, G, Gaffney, O, Nobre, C, Meinshausen, M, Rogelj, J, and Lucht, W (2016). The World's Biggest Gamble. Earth’s Future, 4(10). https://doi.org/10.1002/2016EF000392

 

Romm, J (2017). We Aren’t Doomed by Climate Change. Right Now we are Choosing to be Doomed. Resilience, July 12. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-07-12/we-arent-doomed-by-climate-change-right-now-we-are-choosing-to-be-doomed/

 

Sacks, A (2009). The Fallacy of Climate Activism. Grist, Aug. 24. https://grist.org/article/2009-08-23-the-fallacy-of-climate-activism/

 

Sandberg, A (2019). Will Climate Change Cause Humans to Go Extinct? The Conversation, May 29. https://theconversation.com/will-climate-change-cause-humans-to-go-extinct-117691

 

Schade, C and Pimentel, D (2010). Population Crash: Prospects for Famine in the Twenty-first Century. Environment Development and Sustainability, 12(2). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226879768_Population_crash_Prospects_for_famine_in_the_twenty-first_century

 

Schuemer-Cross, T and Taylor, B (2009). The Right to Survive: Oxfam International. The Humanitarian Challenge for the Twenty-first Century. https://s3.amazonaws.com/oxfam-us/www/static/oa3/files/the-right-to-survive.pdf

 

Science and Security Board (2019). 2019 Doomsday Clock Statement - A New Abnormal: It is Still Two Minutes to Midnight. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/

 

Scranton, R (2019). Lessons from a Genocide Can Prepare Humanity for Climate Apocalypse. MIT Technology Review, April 24. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613343/lessons-from-a-genocide-can-prepare-humanity-for-climate-apocalypse/

 

Servigne, P and Stevens, R (2020). How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for our Times. Polity Press. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/How+Everything+Can+Collapse%3A+A+Manual+for+our+Times-p-9781509541393 [Available as an E-book]

 

Shellenburger, M (2020). On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare. Environmental Progress, June 29. http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2020/6/29/on-behalf-of-environmentalists-i-apologize-for-the-climate-scare [Warning – climate change denialism article.  It was posted on Forbes, then they quickly deleted it. It is included here as it provides an opportunity for critique and rebuttal.]

 

Shenkman, R (2019). The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy. Politico, Sept. 8. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/09/08/shawn-rosenberg-democracy-228045

 

Shepherd, A, Mitchell, T, Lewis, K, Lenhardt, A, Jones, L, Scott, L and Muir-Wood, R (2013). The Geography of Poverty, Disasters and Climate Extremes in 2030. Overseas Development Institute. https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8633.pdf

 

Simon, E (2018). Capitalism’s Final Solution Is Nothing Less than Complete Ecological Collapse. History News Network, Oct. 9. https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/170192

 

Smaje, C (2020). Collapse: A Helpful Guide for the Perplexed. Resilience, July 27. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-07-27/collapse-a-helpful-guide-for-the-perplexed/

 

Smith, N (2019). The Need for a Greater Vision: Recognizing Reality. Resilience, Nov. 19. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-11-19/the-need-for-a-greater-vision-recognizing-reality/

 

Snow, D (2018). Mark Lynas's "Six Degrees": A Summary Review. Owlcation, June 23. https://owlcation.com/stem/Mark-Lynass-Six-Degrees-A-Summary-Review

 

Snyder-Beattie, A, Ord, T and Bonsall, M (2019). An Upper Bound for the Background Rate of Human Extinction. Scientific Reports, 9(11054). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47540-7

 

Speth, JG (2008).  The Bridge at the Edge of the World. Yale Univ. Press.  Pp: 17-45.

 

Spinney, L (2012). Human Cycles: History as Science. Nature, 488. https://www.nature.com/news/polopoly_fs/1.11078!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/488024a.pdf

 

Spinney, L (2018). End of Days: Is Western Civilisation on the Brink of Collapse? New Scientist, Jan. 17. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731610-300-end-of-days-is-western-civilisation-on-the-brink-of-collapse/ [A quick overview of the primary scholars on this question.]

 

Spratt, D and Dunlop, I (2017). What Lies Beneath: The Scientific Understatement of Climate Risk. Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Spratt3/publication/324528571_What_Lies_Beneath_The_scientific_understatement_of_climate_risks/links/5ad2e4120f7e9b2859343e58/What-Lies-Beneath-The-scientific-understatement-of-climate-risks.pdf?origin=publication_detail

Spratt, D and Dunlop, I (2019). Existential Climate-related Security risk: A Scenario Approach. Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/148cb0_b2c0c79dc4344b279bcf2365336ff23b.pdf

Stafford, et al., (2010). Now is the Time for Action: Transitions and Tipping Points in Complex Environmental Systems.  Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 52(1): 38-45. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00139150903481882

Stafford Smith, M, Horrocks, L, Harvey, A and Hamilton, C (2011). Rethinking Adaptation for a 4°C World. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 369(1934). https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2010.0277

 

Steffen, W, et al., (2015). Planetary Boundaries: Guiding Human Development on a Changing Planet. Science, 347(6223). http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/1259855

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. https://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252https://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2018/07/31/1810141115.DCSupplemental

Stubblefield, C (2018). Managing the Planet: The Anthropocene, Good Stewardship, and the Empty Promise of a Solution to Ecological Crisis. Societies, 8(2). https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/8/2/38/htm

 

Taylor, K (2017). Sunset for the American Dream. International Journal of Social Economics, 44(12). https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-02-2016-0059

 

Taylor, K (2020). The Passing of Western Civilization. Futures, 122. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7245304/ [A key reading that takes the broad, historical view.]

 

Tenza, A, Pérez, I, Martínez-Fernández, J and Giménez, A (2017). Understanding the Decline and Resilience Loss of a Long-lived Social-ecological System: Insights from System Dynamics. Ecology and Society, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-09176-220215

 

Thunberg, G (2019). You Did Not Act in Time': Greta Thunberg's Full Speech to MPs. The Guardian, April 23. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg-full-speech-to-mps-you-did-not-act-in-time?fbclid=IwAR1fThsLYbYGduHBfJaNy-qlb-pTGnSHjMTHdivRpA8lUk2vrLoxfSLmh30

 

Turchin, P (2010). Political Instability May be a Contributor in the Coming Decade. Nature, 463. https://www.nature.com/articles/463608a

 

Turchin, P (2012). Dynamics of Political Instability in the United States, 1780–2010. Journal of Peace Research, 49(4). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0022343312442078

 

Turner, G (2014). Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Updated Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Historical Data. Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Research Paper No. 4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267751719_Is_Global_Collapse_Imminent_An_Updated_Comparison_of_The_Limits_to_Growth_with_Historical_Data

 

Tverberg, G (2012). Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis. Energy, 37(1). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544211003744

 

Tverberg, G (2019). The Climate Change Story is Half True. Our Finite World, April 30. https://ourfiniteworld.com/2019/04/30/the-climate-change-story-is-half-true/ [On the more proximal likelihood of economic collapse compared to climate collapse]

 

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (2017). Global Land Outlook. https://knowledge.unccd.int/glo

 

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2013). Part 3 – The Consequences of Global Environmental Change for Society, in World Social Science Report 2013: Changing Global Environments. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/world-social-science-report-2013_9789264203419-en  [With many brief articles on this topic.]

 

United Nations Environment Programme (2018). Global Environmental Outlook 5. https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-5

 

United Nations Environment Programme (2019a). What is the Outlook for Humanity? https://www.unenvironment.org/interactive/global-environment-outlook/ [flash type presentation]

 

United Nations Environment Programme (2019b). Global Environment Outlook 6. https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-6

 

Vaughan-Lee, L (2019). Resilience: Preparing for Social Collapse and Climate Catastrophe. New Story Hub, July 23. http://newstoryhub.com/2019/07/resilience-preparing-for-social-collapse-and-climate-catastrophe-llewellyn-vaughan-lee/

 

Vorosmarty, C, McIntyre, P, Gessner, M, Dudgeon, D, Prusevich, A, Green, P, Glidden, S, Bunn, S, Sullivan, C, Reidy, C, Liermann, C, and Davies, P (2010). Global Threats to Human Water Security and River Biodiversity. Nature, 467: 555-561. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7315/full/nature09440.html

 

Vox, L (2017). Existential Threats: American Apocalyptic Beliefs in the Technological Era. University of Pennsylvania Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv2t4cz4

 

Wallace-Wells, D (2017). The Uninhabitable Earth. New York Magazine, July. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

 

Wallace-Wells, D (2018). UN Says Climate Genocide is Coming. It’s Actually Worse than That. New York Magazine, October 10. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/un-says-climate-genocide-coming-but-its-worse-than-that.html

 

Wallace-Wells, D (2019). The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. Tim Duggan Books. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/read-a-chapter-from-the-uninhabitable-earth-a-dire-warning-on-climate-change

 

Washington, H, Lowe, I and Kopnina, H (2020). Why Do Society and Academia Ignore the ‘Scientists Warning to Humanity’ on population? Journal of Futures Studies, .. https://jfsdigital.org/why-do-society-and-academia-ignore-the-scientists-warning-to-humanity-on-population/

 

Watts, N, et al., (2018). The 2018 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Shaping the Health of Nations for Centuries to Come. The Lancet, 392 (10163): 2479-2514. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32594-7/fulltext

 

Weidmann, T, Lenzen, M, KeyBer, L and Steinberg, J (2020). Scientists’ Warning on Affluence. Nature Communications, 11(3107). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-16941-y

 

Weiskel, T (2020). A Chapter In an Ongoing Crisis. Forum (Round 1) on After the Pandemic: Which Future? Great Transition, July. https://greattransition.org/gti-forum/pandemic-scenario-weiskel

 

Werrell, C and Femia, F (2017). Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene. The Center for Climate and Security. https://climateandsecurity.org/epicenters/

 

Woetzel, J, Pinner, D, Samandari, H, Engel, H, Krishnan, M, Boland, B and Powis, C (2020). Climate Risk and Response: Physical Hazards and Socioeconomic Impacts. McKinsey Global Institute. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/climate-risk-and-response-physical-hazards-and-socioeconomic-impacts

 

World Economic Forum (2019). The Global Risks Report 2019. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_Risks_Report_2019.pdf

 

Xu, C, Kohler, T, Lenton, T, Svenning, J and Scheffer, M (2020). Future of the Human Climate Niche. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (21). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1910114117

 

Zak, D (2019). ‘Everything is Not Going to be Okay’: How to Live with Constant Reminders that the Earth is in Trouble. The Washington Post, Jan 24. https://outline.com/H49ybr

 

 

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