Could modern civilisation break down? Yes, of course it could. Anyone who rejects this statement as alarmist, should watch The Age of Consequences.
We can start with August 23, 2005, as New Orleans is hit by Hurricane Katarina. The ensuing flood led to chaos, and hit both security measures and society’s self-regulation. What would have happened if several large US cities had been struck simultaneously? Would there have been a risk that things spiralled completely out of control, whereby the State and civil society both lost their stabilising powers? Whenever such questions arise, we often imagine they stem from environmentalists or green politicians. This time, however, the concerned message sprung from an unusual end, making it even more interesting.
Many assume that a society’s degree of welfare and security is all about oil profits, military systems and so on. This idea barely touches the surface. A society’s long term stability is more decisive, anchored in state organising, democratic politics and smooth societal and economic structures. Such elements are, however, surrounded by something other and more profound. Nature’s stability is a necessary concern so a sustainable society can be established over time. This is not only the case for all societies, but also for humanity as a whole. Over the course of 12,000 years, we have developed within the frames of a balanced and thus predictable natural environment. There are signs that this state has now passed, and that over the years its consequences could grow in scope and strength.
This time, however, the concerned message sprung from an unusual end, making it even more interesting.