Chapter 2:

Collapse is under way. We can let it continue its course, or we can at least try to reverse it. It's up to you. If you do nothing, the world's leaders will continue to do nothing of substance until it truly is too late.

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If We Fail

Processes of collapse already begun will accelerate exponentially, and new ones will be triggered, until there is little or no life left on Earth.

Population growth will continue to accelerate until death rates exceed birth rates. Civil order and infrastructure will collapse. Species will continue to go extinct, faster and faster as ecological webs collapse like dominos. Temperature will continue to accelerate upward, triggering the methane bomb, vast releases of methane from not-so-perma-frost and ocean bottoms. This will cause a rise of temperature to an unlivable level in just a few years, similar to rapid climate change events in the past. Over decades and centuries, our massive repositories of radioactive materials will leak into the environment, killing species that might otherwise have survived.

If We Succeed

We'll overcome our innate drive to reproduce and consume without restraint, halting population growth and overconsumption. We'll reject corporate domination and revive the commons. We'll switch to a circular economy with zero waste. We'll stop burning carbon and releasing methane into the atmosphere, and start pulling greenhouse gases out of the air and sequestering them. We'll set aside a large part of the planet for wildlife and nurture endangered species back to healthy levels. With luck, we'll use recently developed technology to revive key extinct species. With negative growth and a transition to living as part of nature rather than treating the world as an inexhaustible cornucopia, we'll establish a sustainable niche for ourselves.