There have been many historians that have investigated the collapse of civilizations, the rise and fall of civilizations and the current state of our civilizations. Many books have been written and I’ve read about a dozen of them (full list of the hundreds of books I’ve read here). In summary civilizations/societies go through periods of expansion and contraction, currently we are in a phase of contraction with increasing wealth disparity, and it will lead to a decentralization (less wealth disparity and centralization), depending on how we play our cards it will be a catastrophic or a smooth decentralization.
Fun fact Mayans didn’t have pack animals, so had to carry their food by humans, this resulted in many tightly packed chiefdoms.
Which I learned from “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” By Jared Diamond.
eventually the Mayans collapsed from excessive urban intensification.
eventually there was a drought, and since they were at carrying capacity, they failed catastrophically, deposing their central authorities, the civil war caused a lowering of population, until it was within carrying capacity again. Then there was another drought, and well that was it. People disappeared from that area — Mayans as a people survived, but their civilization with the long count calendar was finished. Same story with Anasazi and several other groups, including the Easter Islanders — though they also experienced significant cannibalism, as is typical during major famines in all human groups.
Constantinople also collapsed from excessive urban intensification, but in the “western style”, where central authorities get too dystopian, and rural people flee, until it’s just the military basically, then a military coup and that’s it. Though Constantinople was “lucky” in the sense that after they collapsed another power came in which was more sustainable and kinder to it’s people, in this case the Ottoman Empire. It was founded by the the Constantinople Guards, who led the coup.
Similar thing happened in Rome, where it became increasing more expensive to maintain control of the ruralities. And since there was no more easy to access energy, (such as loot from neighbouring kingdoms, or in our case fossil fuels), they collapsed from the sheer weight of the administration.
It happens time and time again.
Urban intensification by an urban elite, until the the countryside drops below carrying capacity, setting a cascade of civil wars until carrying capacity is reached again.
With the drop of carrying capacity by Climate Change, and Deforestation being the #2 and #1 co-morbidities of excessive urban intensification led collapse.
When will we learn?
The lesson of course is to stay well within carrying capacity, at population equilibrium. That way if there is a crop reduction of 30-50% it doesn’t lead to mass chaos, but instead just a slim year.
Only way we are able to have such huge cities far away from where our food grows now, is because of fossil fuels. The largest pre-industrial metropolis was Angkar, and when they peaked at 3 or 4 people per hectare, but it was too much as they didn’t leave room for trees, so they collapsed.
When fossil fuel runs out, or even starts running low, food prices in the city will go up proportionally. Remember there isn’t enough Lithium in the world [link] for everyone to have an electric car, and even a Lithium electric bike could become a luxury. What are your food miles right now? Are you gonna walk or bike when fossil fuels run out? Did you know you need a steady stream of spare parts to maintain a bicycle? Pack animals or horses could be a worthwhile investment.
We don’t have the rare earth metals for everyone to have photo-voltaic solar panels. We could go the sterling engine solar concentrators route, but we’d need to start making local manufacturing for it ASAP, while we still have copious fuel (mostly due to subsidies). Note that fracking shale for oil has never been profitable [link], the shale oil “boom” we’ve had since the 2008 crash was the result of a government subsidy of fossil fuels led by the Obama administration.
We are living on borrowed time, or “fossil fuel” for that matter. We need to transition to sustainable lifestyles, where each person can get all their basic needs met within walking distance, without having to use fossil fuels.
The easiest way is for each person to have at least 1 hectare of land, so they can grow a permaculture food forest to provide all their food needs.
Yes it would be an adjustment. If you want to eat meat, then you’d need to add a hectare for each 10% of your diet which consists of meat. For example you’d need a minimum of 10 hectares if you were a carnivore.
In order to fit in a single hectare, without running out of lumber for heating, you’d need a super energy efficient home, or better yet a subterranean home which doesn’t need heating. Can have some light therapy level lighting in your living areas.
Though that would require us to be able to manufacture LED lighting, as well as the aforementioned Stirling Engine Solar power concentrators, which BTW can be up to 30% efficient at converting solar power into electricity.
And we’d need to be able to locally manufacture all the electronic components, and if we want information technology then computer chips.
While certainly it is possible for us eventually manufacture everything we need locally, especially if we have an AI robot community which self-replicates, and can make due with the electricity from the Stirling solar power, or other proven renewables. However we need to start prepparing now, actually we should have started in the 1980’s, but now is the next best time.
Something you can do to help, is imagine yourself living a sustainable life, a 0 fossil fuel life, where all your human rights are fulfilled, by virtue of you, and those around you having enough land to meet their basic needs. Om
Holding this vision in our mind, as you walk into your food forest, picking delicious ripe fruit, smelling flowers, hearing bird song, feeling the ground beneath your feet. Children and friends of all ages having a good time in the atom community glade, with freedom to be yourself in your food forest atom community, and a purpose driven life full of opportunities to be of service to others, in this space of unconditional love.
🙏😊💚 Dwell in the new age sylvan timeline in mind, and your thoughts, words and actions will follow you there.