Now What?

The globalized Western civilization behaves like a terrible dissipative energy system, constantly creating more machines using more energy, changing the climate rapidly, and damaging the biosphere. What allowed this mismanagement was access to cheap and abundant fossil fuels. Now they have an increasingly low energy return on investment (EROI). This gradually limits the available energy for maintaining civilization’s complexity (i.e., economic activities and the number of machines working for the system 24/7). For a change to occur, we’ll have to change the way we live.

But accepting a simplification of the dissipative structures at the heart of the current techno-industrial civilization for decades will be a considerable challenge.

Crises (or ruptures) will therefore be suffered when the deficiency of the available energy manifests itself tangibly. It is about a “predicament” in which one-fifth of humanity, for more than two centuries of “progress,” has consumed more energy than the other four-fifths.

Richard Heinberg,

Think Resilience Online Course

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