Global Climate Change is happening now, as we reach new highs in greenhouse gas emissions at 400 PPM of CO2.1 The Arctic ice cap which has stabilized our climate and ocean currents for several thousand years is disappearing.2 Ocean acidification from absorption of CO2, is destroying coral reefs and diversity of marine wildlife along with them.3 Germs and insect species are ranging farther and farther north (in the Northern Hemisphere) as the global average temperature rises.4, 5 Massive quantities of methane are being released both intentionally and unknowingly.6, 7 The short term effects of methane on the climate are 30-100 times worse than CO2, and could lead to rapid climate change and species collapse.8 With the melting of the glaciers around the world, most notably Greenland and Antarctica, sea levels are predicted to rise precariously,9 displacing hundreds of millions of people and flooding major metropolitan areas worldwide while also destroying productive farmland. The major mountain glaciers, the source of fresh water for hundreds of millions will disappear, rivers and wells will dry up.10 Populations will struggle to survive.11
Our foreign relations are strained at every level, military action being the dominant answer to almost every question. The sovereignty of no nation or peoples is secure or respected as a matter of U.S. policy.12 We are using military and intelligence forces overtly in at least six nations and covertly in over 90 countries.13,14 We are considering action in Syria as I write this. We now have 800 to a 1,000 military bases in over 170 nations around the world.15 Our president murders Americans and Muslims without due process or oversight, using remotely-operated drones.16 , 17 Our foreign relations since World War II have consisted of economic and military dominance: hegemony on an international scale. 18
America and most countries of the European Union are hobbled by intractable debt and social disruption caused by fraudulent and unbridled financial schemes and autocratic desires for power.19, 20 Every branch of our government has been corrupted by moneyed interests, individual and corporate.21, 22, 23 According to one senator, the bankers “own the place,”24 meaning the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. American workers are suffering from stagnant wages, loss of benefits and rampant greed.25 Our standard of living is rapidly declining, and approximately 46 million of our citizens live below the poverty level.26 Our local law enforcement has been militarized by federal agencies at the cost of civil liberties and local government.27 The National Security Agency and FBI has been spying, with impunity, on Americans for years.28, 29 Our most respected “information technology companies”, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc., are complicit in this disregard for the 1st and 4th Amendments to our Constitution.30
The safeguards of our democratic society have been corrupted or removed, regulation of corporate interests abandoned,31 watchdog federal agencies infiltrated and subverted.32 The “Fourth Estate”, the “free” press has been bought up and no longer serves the public needs for current relevant knowledge.33
Wall St., international banking cartels and multinational corporations dictate the policies and laws in the U.S. and many other nations.34 The rich elite who have undue influence on government and other authoritarian institutions are living in their bubble worlds and care little about the concerns and needs of the average person. The disparity of wealth between the upper classes and the lower classes are predictably at an all-time high in America.35 The governments of the Western World seem unable or unwilling to deal with the real societal and economic problems, even when the answers are clear.36, 37 The U.S. military and supporting intelligence and surveillance apparatuses are operating at previously unheard of costs and have added greatly to the deficit for over a decade.38
In Part 1, I listed Jared Diamond’s critical factors that affect societal collapse: 1) Environmental degradation 2) Climate change 3) Foreign Relations 4) Internal political, economic and social factors within the society or culture. As we can see from this critical look in the mirror, Western Culture is in need of serious intervention. Historically, societal collapses occur when some trigger point is reached; and like a house of cards, governmental and economic structures come tumbling down, leaving its members in chaos and insecurity. Looking at the facts, it appears to be only a matter of when collapse will happen, not if.
Henny Penny frenetically running around the barnyard? A better analogy might be traveling on a highway and coming to a “Bridge Out” sign on a barricade across the road. Do we drive around it and continue on our way at high speed? Or do we accept the fact that the road is impassible ahead and look for an alternate route? The way ahead may not be easy or smooth; but reality requires a change in direction because our culture “can’t go on” as it has. It’s about good sense and moral/ethical choices in a world on the brink. Our choices.