Most of us will spend our tomorrows doing what we did today. If we have a job we'll go to work. Kids will go to school. And stuffed somewhere around all that is shopping, laundry, cooking, and everything else. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow look pretty much the same.
Here's what's going to happen if we all keep putting one foot in front of the other courtesy of Jeremy Leggett, geologist turned environmentalist writing about the near-future in 2006 ...
"The price of houses will collapse. Stock markets will crash. Within a short period, human wealth -- little more than a pile of paper at the best of times, even with the confidence about the future high among traders -- will shrivel. There will be emergency summits, diplomatic initiatives, urgent exploration efforts, but the turmoil will not subside. Thousands of companies will go bankrupt, and millions will be unemployed. Once affluent cities with street cafes will have queues at soup kitchens and armies of beggars. The crime rate will soar. The earth has always been a dangerous place, but now it will become a tinderbox.
"... As with the Great Depression, economic hardship will bring out the worst in people. Fascists will rise, feeding on the anger of the newly poor and whipping up support. These new rulers will find the tools of repression -- emergency laws, prison camps, a relaxed attitude toward torture ..."
If that's as bad as it's going to get, then everybody can breathe a huge sigh of relief. But sadly we've got a lot more down to go.
We keep on making babies so the world's population is projected to reach 7.9 billion by 2025. In 14 short years from today, 5 billion people, over half the world's population, is expected to experience periodic water shortages. Rising temperatures and lack of water are likely to decrease the production of staple foods in many of the planet's poorest countries by up to 50%.
Within the next 50-100 years it is estimated the world's population will contract to somewhere between 500 million and 2 billion people as a result of Peaking Resources, Population Growth, and Global Climate Change. The hard core peak oil experts say 90% of humanity is going to die. The optimists say only 5 - 6 billion people will. Regardless " It's called a Die-Off.
David Goodstein, a professor of physics and vice-provost at the California Institute of Technology, said the easiest energy alternatives -- coal and natural gas -- might carry us through to the end of this century, but ... "By the time we have burned up all that fuel, we may well have rendered the planet unfit for human life."
From Die-Off to Extinction. Runaway climate change will eventually evolve to some new stable state, but most likely without humans.
As Mat Savinar wrote in The Peak Oil and Die-Off ...
"Looking ahead to rapid climate destabilization, the loss of perhaps a quarter to half of the species of life on Earth, and the widening gulf of poverty and living standards, we see that it may not have been a passage at all but a road toward the abyss of extinction. But it is a mistake, I think, to regard the possible suicide of humankind as an anomaly rather than the logical outcome of a wrong turn that now must be quickly undone.
"...Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely respected geologists, physicists, and investment bankers in the world."
Geophysicist David Archer wrote...
"The climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge. Longer than time capsules, longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of civilization so far... [it] will persist for hundreds of thousands of years into the future."
Is it possible it might now be too late to stop the die-off?
That's the most likely outcome. The worst case scenario is extinction.
The most likely outcome for a massive Die-Off is based upon the simple fact that we will continue to do tomorrow what we've done today. Which is nothing.
It takes 20 years to switch completely from fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy. As I wrote before, If Bill Clinton was one tenth the visionary he thinks he is ... we'd almost be done by now. Not one of our "leaders" from The House, The Senate, or the Oval Office, will go on television and outline how starting tomorrow ... all the steps necessary to transition from fossil fuels will be taken.