by David Bonbright

If you watched the excellent series on the Chernobyl disaster, you can see with perfect hindsight why many say that Chernobyl was the proximate cause for the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

You can see it in the way incentives drove bad decisions, which reinforced each other. This is what complexity science calls a positive feedback loop. The recent winter storms in Texas offer another teachable moment, illustrating how failures in one system cascade over to other systems. Freezing rain and snow break the electric and heating grid. Pipes break and the water system collapses. Transport stalls and stores are not restocked. An already overstrained health system drops more services. The science points to more of these breakdowns – and, let’s be clear, there is no credible dissent to the science. In this light, isn’t it time to prepare for it “just in case”? We’re Living in a Global Polycrisis: It’s Time to Build Resiliency, by David Bonbright, Giving Compass.  

The COVID-19 pandemic is widely seen as a potential turning point after which almost everything could be different. Margaret MacMillan, the eminent historian, has compared this crisis to the French and Russian revolutions – points at which the river of history changed course. And it’s almost certain that as a result of this crisis there will be big changes: expectations of the state’s ability to look after its citizens will be higher; the public and financial markets may be more accepting of government borrowing; government will be expected to manage the labour market to provide a minimum level of security for vulnerable workers. It will be a far cry from the free-market, small state policies of the 1980s and 1990s. Yet it is far from obvious that this crisis, even one that is deep and severe, will lead to a turning point of the kind that MacMillan suggests.

Charles Leadbeater, Nesta. Read the full article here…

We report three major and confronting environmental issues that have received little attention and require urgent action. We especially draw attention to the lack of appreciation of the enormous challenges to creating a sustainable future. The added stresses to human health, wealth, and well-being will perversely diminish our political capacity to mitigate the erosion of ecosystem services on which society depends. The science underlying these issues is strong, but awareness is weak. Without fully appreciating and broadcasting the scale of the problems and the enormity of the solutions required, society will fail to achieve even modest sustainability goals. 

Paul Ehrlich et al., Frontiers in Conservation Science.. Read Full Article

In this article, Robert Kuttner and Katherine V. Stone delineate how “the private capture of entire legal systems by corporate America goes far beyond neoliberalism. It evokes the private fiefdoms of the Middle Ages.”

In this episode of the Rebel Wisdom YouTube channel, Daniel Schmachtenberger explores the shift in humanity from one based on strategic competitive advantage to one based on interconnectivity that is necessary to avert self termination.

In this in-depth interview, iconoclastic Czech-Canadian scientist Vaclav Smil offers a sobering view of the precarious climate future of the planet.

Photo by EliasSch via Pixabay.com

This article from provides the historical context of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints directive to members to learn and prepare “to sustain yourselves and store extra for a time of need or adversity.” Church members have many times provided food for their own families and others across the globe in times of crisis and shortage. This article advises, “We too will be blessed as we follow the prophetic direction to be prepared.”

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In this article in Kosmos, Michael Lerner writes: We face a perfect storm of environmental, social, technological, economic, geopolitical and other global stressors. These global stressors interact in unpredictable ways. The pace of future shocks is increasing. The prospect for civilizational collapse is real. We need to build meaningful resilience.

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This 2013 article by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich explores the possibility of global collapse. Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears likely. Overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich and poor choices of technologies are major drivers; dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity. In Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Image from Jocelyn Kinghorn at Creative Commons

In this article, collapse expert Luke Kemp says studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today. Worryingly, the signs are worsening. From the BBC.

Image from The Explorographer at Creative Commons