“Approaching the Limits to Growth” is the name of my site, given before I was convinced we were already at the limits. I now recognize that we are past them, and that there was really no way to avoid ending up in this situation.
I don’t favor any outcome over any other. I used to think a big, resounding, monolithic global CRASH! was inevitable, but I’ve grown up a lot since then… I think it’s more probable we’ll see a really nasty oscillating decline, with steep falls and desperate partial recoveries. That’s because the global economy could lose its cohesion early in the game, so that the collapse of one region will have less chance of cascading into others. But that could only happen after the major trade/communication links have been snapped, and getting to that point is going to be vastly uncomfortable.
I no longer see any point in singling out individual aspects of the human experience for special attention or criticism. Population growth, climate change, global corporatism, chemical pollution, resource depletion, species extinctions, ocean overfishing and acidification, global financial instability, mounting social disparities and injustices are all merely symptoms of a system that has been out of control for centuries (despite our earnest attempts to convince ourselves otherwise.) We have no choice left – or perhaps we never really had any other choice – but to ride the dragon until the human overshoot corrects itself, as overshoots always do.
The silver lining I see is that all the pressures coming from this process of correction can be useful goads toward personal self-development. “In all matters, strive to do the right thing.” What does this mean to each of us? What does mindful living in the midst of the whirlwind entail, what does it require of us in terms of personal growth, in the development of wisdom and self-awareness? How might each of us resolve our alienation – from each other, from our societies, from nature, from our own place in the universe? How may we find the re-connections that are essential if we are to emerge from this tumultuous, careless human adolescence into individual and collective adulthood? These are deep questions for dark times.