Rise of Civilization (going forward)

Lecture Mar 26th 2015       Anth 415      University of Kansas

We live in exciting times. It's my belief that "you personally" will most likely die of starvation or conflict between 2040 to 2075. You will experience a collapse of human civilization, a 90% die-off of humans, a destruction of the ecosystem, exhaustion of mined and drilled resources, and a dark age from which your descendent's will not recover.

If your kids survive to 2100 they will have been cannibals and will live like 17th century serfs -- no electricity, no running water, no schools, no medicine, and life will be short, nasty, and brutish.

Your first task in preparing for this class is to decide if I have any good reasons for believing this.
      a) If you think I don't, for example technology will solve all my worries, then
            your view of the future means we don't have to change civilization's course.
      b) If after investigation, you find that I have good reasons, your second task is to
            use what you have learned about how civilizations develop to
                  chart a different course.

The classroom activity will be a discussion supported by videos.

Class Preparation                         

      VIEW 4 videos (20 min)
            Losing Our Energy Slaves     10 min   Losing energy predicts collapse

            How civilizations collapse?     systemic feedback predicts collapse
                  The Scarcity - Conflict death spiral       (4.2 min)
                  The system trips the death spiral         (1.4 min)
                  Human behavior trips the death spiral    (5.3 min)
                           (first three parts of Overpopulation Means Civilization Collapse
                                              a 10 part series-- later parts not required preparation)

      READING 40 minutes

SKIL Note 80 ==> "100 times Too Many People"
                             "Too many people and what can be done about it"   (1000 words)
SKIL Note 100 ==> A Sustainable Civilization
                              What does a sustainable civilization look like.       (5000 words)
                                            (if you want more? see SKIL notes 80-105 click here)

In class activities

      How much change sustains the best of human civilization?
            How Much Degrowth is Enough? 15 min
                              based on available energy
            How much population decline saves civilization? 6.3 minutes
                              based on peace and soil preservation

      How to implement change
            The Human Predicament and What to Do About It       10 min
            Change the Course invite video       12 min

      Where we go from here?
            Unwinding the Human Predicament
                                                      working paper for discussion if there is time

Class project

      Implement a Sustainable Civilization Analysis       10 min


              Jack Alpert       alpert@skil.org       www.skil.org      913 708 2554







  SKIL Notes Other Writings
Books, articles, papers
Viewable Presentations Dinner Program Extras Contact:
Jack Alpert
(more details)

SKIL            Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory

jack alpert's picture

                      Jack Alpert

blue plate on top of world

Fantasy Busting Video series

Losing Our Energy Slaves                              October. 2014         pfutp

Change the Course

Internet Group Text Discussions
video invite       Text invite         Text summary of video

Electronic Conference Table discussions   
video invite
       Text invite         Text summary of video         Jan. 1, 2014

Too Many People Video series

How Much Degrowth is Enough?                              Sept. 2012
The Human Predicament and What to Do About It     Feb. 2012
Overpopulation Means Civilization Collapse            Aug. 2011

From Overshoot to Sustainability

Vermont conference workshop June 10th 2013
                             Feedback to USSEE board on conference


Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to: Alpert@skil.org     (homepage) www.skil.org      position papers

  (more details)