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Civilization is at risk.

There is a growing sense that there is something very wrong with the world and if we continue on our current path, we face a dark future. Some call it collapse, others call it the human predicament, discontinuity, system failure, the great simplification, the global challenge, the global problematique, or the great transition. The FAN believes that by understanding the risk, it is still possible to ameliorate catastrophic collapse; survive with our humanity in tact; and rebuild civilization with principles that will ensure we don’t repeat the errors of the past.

Bringing critical thinking to the heart of crisis


It is not just climate change or ocean atrophy, oil production constraints,
soil loss, dwindling water supplies, credit hyper-expansion, fraying socio-political trust
and legitimacy, biodiversity loss, or the vulnerability of complex interdependent
global infrastructures. It is their convergence, interactions their multiplier effect.

We are concerned not with how we become sustainable, convince everybody,
or transform established systems – these are unrealistic goals given the complexity, scope,
momentum, interlocked nature of socio-economic systems and converging limits.
Rather, it is with how we tackle escalating risk and systemic failure.

Though supporting analysis, contingency planning and preparedness,
we advance work that increases societal capacity to mitigate the worst consequences
and enhances our ability to respond with sagacity.




We invite emerging leaders and institutions to understand and address
with us this epochal challenge.



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In few paragraphs

  • Locked in

    Locked into a complex web of conditions
    that are being progressively undermined.

  • The Tragedy of the Sapient

    We can see and understand it but there is not much we can do save preapre the airbags.

ON FEW PAGES

In few words

New Energy Sources

If new energy sources were found, then our expansion, use of other resources, displacement of other species and waste generation would be even faster.

Managing Expectations

All major global problems are linked and serious. But the most imminent threat is 8 billion people whose expectations are in complete mismatch with reality.

Imminence

The precursors are: a general slowdown of expansion, more frequent tremors, larger amplitude each time, more time to recover from each subsequent shock. They are already visible, although often misinterpreted.

Managing Promises

As energy becomes more remote, it will become harder for investments to earn a return or loans to earn interest. We may at some point realize that the energy and materials to pay for our debts simply don't exist.

Artificial / Super Intelligence

Hopes and fears about AI presume we will have a complex system which supports it.

Evacuation to Space

An insane, biologically and socially illiterate notion.

Blame

Blaming our predicament on one source of evil may satisfy our desire for moral superiority, but it provides no solution and may even amplify our problems.  One can disapprove of certain actions, but our emerging crisis rests upon a web of conditionality reaching far into deep history to thermodynamics of the early universe.

Practically every human alive today is a beneficiary-and a contributor-to the factors which add up to our current predicament.

As a species we just are

Our civilisation is as natural as an ecosystem, as they express the laws of nature and the contingencies of evolution. As a species we are neither good or bad, just are.




Blindness

Cognitive biases formed in our evolutionary history, culture biases such as the myth of progress, silo-thinking, and our habituation to security in our recent history all contribute to society's difficulty in acknowledging what is happening.

COMPOSE YOUR OWN PICTURE

GLIMPSES FROM THE WORLD


Risks are high. We should be attentive.
Several serious problems are unfolding with increasing speed.

There is not much we can do to significantly alter the course of events
since we all vitally depend on the system. I think people would be want to be better informed about the situation so that efforts are put into what matters under those circumstances.

There is a convergence of serious issues.
Risks are high. We should be attentive.
Several problems are unfolding with possible impact within our lifetimes.

But a radical effort to change the economy into an equitable, ecologically sustainable one can avert a crisis. I think that only by putting in place politicians who are as wise and moral as I am, can we rapidly transform global systems and human behavior and so avoid collapse.

There is lots of issues to worry about.
Risks are high. We should be attentive.
Potentially serious problems are unfolding with increasing speed. And,
technological breakthroughs may not materialize on time, while market forces,
will not be able to solve the problems which essentially stem from energy and resource constraints. I think it is bad but most people have no idea.
People are not rational and would panic if they were to be informed.

There is sluggish economic growth, terrorism, social dissent, global indebtedness, rising inequality, cyber security, artificial intelligence and nuclear conflict to worry about. So is climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, fragmentation of societies, migrations and xenophobia. But, technological breakthroughs, market forces, economic growth, better education and conservation
will resolve most problems. I think am concerned, but people hate bad news, so we should only talk about positive solutions.

There is an economic downturn, terrorism, and the usual political turmoil in some countries. Cyber security and artificial intelligence is something to worry about.
Climate change is also becoming a serious concern, as is biodiversity loss and plastic pollution. But, technological breakthroughs, market forces, economic growth, better education and conservation
will resolve it all. I am annoyed by the alarmist attitudes of some.

All is about an economic downturn now, and the usual political turmoil in some countries.
Climate change is a concern to some.
But market forces and governments will get us through the little hick-ups, and
technological breakthroughs that are just around the corner
will resolve it all. I think there is nothing to worry about now. Maybe my kids’ generation will have to work it out.

All is fine although there is a bit of an economic downturn now, and
climate change is an issue to some environmentalists,
but market forces and governments
will figure it out. I think there is nothing to worry about now.

All is fine.
There may be some problems in the distant future,
but smart people and market forces will figure it out.
I think there is nothing to worry about and it is definitely not my concern.

All is fine.
There may be some problems in the distant future,
but people will figure it out.
I think this is an irrelevant, unnecessary distraction now.

All is fine.
Only some neurotic people invent problems,
but they always have. I think the future is bright.

Compare the spectrum of opinions


Risks are high. We should be attentive.
Several serious problems are unfolding with increasing speed.

There is not much we can do to significantly alter the course of events
since we all vitally depend on the system. I think people would be want to be better informed about the situation so that efforts
are put into what matters under those circumstances.

The conditions to which we are accustomed are changing.
Risks are high. We should be attentive.
Several very serious threats are converging with increasing speed.

There is not much we can do to significantly alter the course of events.
Societies are vulnerable because they do not appreciate the nature of their own dependencies. I think many people understand the problems but they assume it is socially inappropriate to mention it.

The conditions to which we are accustomed are changing.

Several very serious threats are converging with increasing speed.


Societies are unprepared to detect and interpret the early warning signs,
to deal with what is happening and what to do when shit hits the fan.
I think many people understand the gravity but escape into wishful thinking and magic.

The situation is poised to become rather catastrophic.
Multiple hazards stemming from global carrying capacity overshoot,
bad enough one-by-one, interact in ways that exacerbate their effects.


Society is unprepared to deal with them. The behavioral, political and economic changes to avert, or delay the process, are unlikely to materialize on time. I think a collapse is inevitable but some things can be done to make it less ugly, and perhaps a recovery on very different fundamentals could be prepared in advance.

There is an onset of irreversible changes that are poised to destabilize the system and cause potentially
catastrophic outcomes if not an outright existential threat.
No technology is capable to address all aspects of the global carrying capacity overshoot.


Society is woefully unprepared. The behavioral, political and economic changes
to avert, or delay a collapse are unlikely to materialize on time.

I think that some of the worst outcomes are preventable if we face the challenge and talk about it openly.

There is an onset of irreversible changes
that will destabilize civilization.
We can’t stop this process because over the years
we have already so profoundly overshot the global carrying capacity that
population contraction and a dis-orderly economic contraction looks like a certainty.
We can prepare for a collapse even if we can’t stop it. Maybe the act of preparation will avert the worst. I think that local resilience is key for avoiding the worst outcomes.

There is a convergence of irreversible processes, set in motion
centuries (and even millennia) ago. Societal collapse is certain and there is nothing we can do about it.

We might see knee-jerk reactions that can only make things worse – unwise geoengineering or nuclear conflicts – which can cause even greater harm to ourselves, civilization and the biosphere.
We can prevent them. I think a collapse is inevitable and both history and human behavior tell us it is likely to be quite ugly. But we should still take our chances to avoid the worst.

Due to the lock-in of socio-economic processes
and the convergence of irreversible constraints, societal collapse is certain.

Increasing stress and declining resilience is already apparent in many parts of the world
and within critical global systems.
We can prevent additional harm to ourselves, civilization and the biosphere,
if we can stand up to the challenge and talk about it openly. I think that chances of influencing the course of events are exceedingly small.

Due to the lock-in of socio-economic processes
societal collapse is certain. It may happen any time.

Increasing stress and declining resilience is already apparent in many parts of the world
and within critical global systems.
We can’t prevent much. I think there is nothing I can do about it, so it is not my problem.

We are fucked.
Guns, cans and bunkers
are the only meaningful way
to deal with this.

We can’t prevent anything. I think the less people know about this the better off I am.

The universe is expanding,
and anyway life on Earth cannot go on
forever due to the laws of thermodynamics.


So, either now or in a hundred thousand years – what difference does it make? I might as well maximize my pleasures now.

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I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.

Antonio Gramesi