We’re used to stories popping up in the news from time to time, where someone or other claiming the end is near because of some prophecy or the writings of a long-gone ancient civilisation. In the last few year, there’s been the rampant speculation based on the end of the Mayan calendar, the appointment of a new Pope and even the occasional comet streaking across the heavens. There’s also been the fears of Swine Flu, H5N1, SARS and a few other diseases that have spluttered out rather than bringing humanity to its knees – despite the glaring headlines predicting doom and gloom. For this very reason, I take almost all end of the world predictions with a very large pinch of salt.
Today, something different happened. I first became aware of this new prediction as a headline claiming western civilisation as we know it might come to and end within the next 50 years. I was just about to ignore it when I noticed where this prediction had come from. It wasn’t from some lunatic fringe; it wasn’t a conspiracy, or the ravings of some over-zealous religious group: instead, it had come from NASA – Yes, THAT NASA! Now, NASA aren’t exactly known for making wild claims, so I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and read on.
So why are NASA predicting the collapse of civilisation? It’s down to this: there’s simply too many people on the planet and we depleting its resources faster than they can be replaced. Add to this the ever-growing inequality between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, and you have the perfect storm for pushing western society over the edge.
This might seem like idle speculation, but it’s actually rooted in some pretty hard facts. When we look at past civilisations which have collapsed, such as the Roman empire, we see exactly the same warning signs occurring before the final fall, and all NASA are pointing out is that the way we’re going, we’re heading in exactly the same way.
Now, they’re not saying it’s unavoidable or inevitable, just that we need to start doing something to stop things getting much worse. In many ways, I agree with them, especially when on the same day the NASA report came out, there was another in Britain that pointed out that just five families had the same financial worth as the poorest 20% the population. That is the type of imbalance which the world cannot maintain without the people at the bottom rising up and doing something about it.
So, is the end of the world coming? Probably not, but if those in power don’t start doing something to limit the way that the rich are asset-stripping the planet, leaving the rest of us to pay the price, we’re likely to see some massive upheavals which will mean that much of what we currently consider western civilisation will disappear. In the end, it’s not going to be zombies that bring our world down around our ears, but the greed of those we let run our lives.
The worst thing is with the way the western political system is set up, there’s little we, as individuals, can do about it, and it’s unlikely that the rich will stop lining their own pockets at our expense if someone doesn’t force them to stop. Maybe NASA’s predictions will be the catalyst to change all of this, but I wouldn’t count on it. There’s a certain inevitability to it all. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. The only question is what will our world look like when it happens to us?
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.
To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.