'End of civilization' may only be 18 years away, researchers predict

A study from the 1970s predicted that the world, as we know it, will collapse in 2040. Should we be worried?

Let’s take a little trip back in time.

In 1972, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) presented a fascinating study called The Limits to Growth. The aim of the study was to find out how long we have until the end of civilization as we know it.

Calculating the end of the world

To do this, they created a computer model that was fed with a wide range of data—from the world’s population to natural resources, oxygen consumption, and the melting of the polar ice caps. The results showed that civilization would collapse in 2040—which is particularly concerning today given that if it is true we may only have 18 years left on this planet.

This report was published by the Club of Rome, a nonprofit organization, and in 2009 American Scientist published a study entitled Revisiting the Limits of Growth after Peak Oil.

Unfortunately, the researchers of that team landed on a similar conclusion and predicted that 2040 would be the year of 'collapse.'

Calculating the exact year in which the world will obliterate has been the focus of many scientists over the past decades and in 2021 the model was confirmed once again. This time by a Dutch sustainability researcher and advisor to the Club of Rome, Gaya Herrington. She told The Guardian:

From a research perspective, I thought testing a decades-old model against empirical observations was an interesting exercise.

Worst-case scenario

According to Gaya Herrington, not much attention has been paid to the warnings that came with the publication of the study in the 1970s. She added:

The MIT scientists said we needed to act now to achieve a smooth transition and avoid costs. That didn't happen, and that's why we're now seeing the effects of climate change.

After doing an update of the old model, the researcher found that her data was in line with that of the 1970s analysis. Meaning that in the worst-case scenario, ‘economic growth may end in the current year and collapse will follow about 10 years later’, as reported by The Guardian.

There is however hope, she says, in sustainability.

We’re totally capable of making huge changes, and we’ve seen with the pandemic, but we have to act now if we’re to avoid costs much greater than we’re seeing.

This article has been translated from Gentside DE.

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