How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for Our Times, co-authored by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens, provides “a valuable guide to help everyone make sense of the new and potentially catastrophic situation in which we now find ourselves.”
What if our civilization were to collapse? Not many centuries into the future, but in our own lifetimes? Most people recognize that we face huge challenges today, from climate change and its potentially catastrophic consequences to a plethora of socio-political problems, but we find it hard to face up to the very real possibility that these crises could produce a collapse of our entire civilization. Yet we now have a great deal of evidence to suggest that we are up against growing systemic instabilities that pose a serious threat to the capacity of human populations to maintain themselves in a sustainable environment.
In this important book, Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens confront these issues head-on. They examine the scientific evidence and show how its findings, often presented in a detached and abstract way, are connected to people’s ordinary experiences – joining the dots, as it were, between the Anthropocene and our everyday lives. In so doing they provide a valuable guide that will help everyone make sense of the new and potentially catastrophic situation in which we now find ourselves. Today, utopia has changed sides: it is the utopians who believe that everything can continue as before, while realists put their energy into making a transition and building local resilience. Collapse is the horizon of our generation. But collapse is not the end – it’s the beginning of our future. We will reinvent new ways of living in the world and being attentive to ourselves, to other human beings and to all our fellow creatures.
The mission of the Global Challenges Foundation is “to prevent, or at least reduce the likelihood, of a catastrophe that would cause the death of over 10% of humanity, or cause damage on a similar scale.” Their website offers analysis and research, partnerships, and education opportunities.
In The Road, a father and son traverse a bleak landscape after the apocalypse. The father knows he is dying. He knows they can’t survive another winter so they head south through California toward the coast. All of Cormac McCarthy’s great fiction is grim—All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing. But no other book by McCarthy is so unremittingly grim as The Road. It won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adopted as a film in 2009.
This superb post-apocalypse novel compares well with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but is somehow less unremittingly grim. The protagonist Hig has survived the pandemic that killed everyone he knows. He lives in a small abandoned airport with his dog and one other man, a veteran sharpshooter. Then he finds a woman he loves.
This webpage published by the Open Philanthropy Project highlights future global catastrophic risks such as pandemics and risks from advanced artificial intelligence. The Open Philanthropy Project offers grants in relation to these issues.