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COLLAPSE! — Think of collapse as a drastic and chaotic reduction in energy and resource use

COLLAPSE! — Think of collapse as a drastic and chaotic reduction in energy and resource use

“… my fundamentally conservative core requires a default position that collapse is the most likely outcome,” says physicist Tom Murphy. —

Tom Murphy

“The first thing I should say is that the word ‘collapse’ freaks me out. I don’t use it often, for fear of sounding like an unhinged alarmist. Surely, respectable scientists should want nothing to do with it…. What keeps pulling me back to it — despite my innate repulsion — is not only credible elements of risk that I will get to in this post, but also that I think it’s too important to tolerate our natural tendency to hide from the prospect. Ironically, doing so only raises the odds of that ill fate: mitigation requires direct acknowledgment. Failure to speak openly and honestly about the less-than-remote possibility of collapse is not in our best interest, ultimately. So let’s grit our teeth and confront the collapse monster. What conditions make it at once likely and off most people’s radars? It is a heavy lift for one blog post to do a complete job in motivating collapse as a realistic outcome of the human enterprise. Any one argument can be picked at, but the totality should be considered. This is a long post, so buckle up. For the purposes of this post, we can think of collapse as a drastic and probably chaotic reduction in energy and resource use per person, the result looking primitive by today’s standards.” —Tom Murphy, Do the Math

Tom Murphy is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. Murphy’s keen interest in energy topics began with his teaching a course on energy and the environment for non-science majors at UCSD…

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