I am a retired aeronautical scientist who has been researching what the activities of industrial civilization have done to its life support system, the natural environment. I have incorporated the findings and the supporting arguments into What went wrong? The misdirection of civilization. This book is now in the publishing process.The file is too large to be uploaded to here. An early version is available online at http://www.divshare.com/download/6004648-b06
Humans have used natural material resources to build up and operate civilization. Their intelligence and the tools they have devised have enabled this development but nature has provided the necessary, but mostly irreplaceable, energy and materials. Civilization has developed the means to unleash the awesome Fossil Genie.This development has also irrevocably devastated much of the ecosystem. It has even precipitated climate change. This operation is being described in a shorter book, The Fossil Genie is loose! What will we do?
This relation between the operation of the transient materialistic systems of civilization and the continuing ecosystem can be characterized as the most fundamental of the natural laws, the Dependence on Nature Law and the Ecological Limits Law.
Civilization is totally dependent on using the accessible natural bounty, both capital and income. This work provides understanding of these laws for the curious reader by using experiential examples backed by sound science. It provides a challenge to the common mindset of materialistic society. The growth of our materialistic civilization, which I call Tityas, has peaked and its senescence is now under way. There are many predicaments to be tackled to ease this aging process. Handling the emerging energy, waste, food and water crises are just some. The coming book is Gaia is concerned. Tityas has gone off the rails. What can be done?
The major problem, however, is to change the attitude of people. They have to learn that society cannot subdue, conquer or subjugate nature. And its systems can only temporarily dominate and exploit nature. Thus, domination and exploitation is not sustainable.
What went wrong? is a long document intended for those that are curious about what has gone wrong in the development of our society and are prepared to think through the material presented to gain understanding. It is written for the general reader but its arguments have scientific backing. It establishes that the operations of our society invariably entail the irreversible consumption of the limited irreplaceable natural material resources (INMR) or natural capital as some prefer to call it. This includes using up the stock of natural resources, including the oil that supplies much of the energy driving these operations. It includes the environmental damage done by the wastes produced by these operations. This consumption of irreplaceable natural material resources is an unsustainable process so a powering down society is going to have to learn to live primarily on replenishable natural material resources (RNMR), the natural income. The state of this Body of civilization, Tityas, is compared with Gaia in and will be detailed in the book Gaia is concerned. Tityas has gone off the rails. What can be done?
A simple analogy will help to convey the above message. A SUV is being driven out into the Simpson desert by the Prime Minister. It is starting to labor. He is trying to urge it to go faster by pumping on the pedal. The front seat passenger, Bartlett, keeps telling the driver that the SUV cannot continue to accelerate as the engine is over heating. The PM takes no notice. I am in the back seat keeping an eye on the needle on the fuel gauge as it creeps down the red. My shouts are lost amid the noise.
I have used these findings to prepare an assessment of the development of industrial civilization and the likely future trends. It is a sober view supported by figures showing these trends. It indicates that the old economic growth game is giving way to the new ecological game in a fascinating tug-o-war: the New Great Game. It uses a spreadsheet which can be applied to various communities by changing values appropriately. It has been applied to the global community and the United States, Australia and China. It is discussed in the article Growth and senescence of civilization . A graphical presentation of the Australian case is at
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The effect of population growth in coming decades is examined in
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It shows that the growth predicted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics will accelerate the demise of the basis of Australian civilization appreciably. Another examination shows how the elite and middle, working and non-working classes will have to adapt to the inevitable powering down during the remainder of this century. It is intended to make this spreadsheet available to interested persons in an ebook. This will contain a FAQ for guidance. A draft of this is at A spreadsheet for developing a transparent and credible list of components of INMR is at.
Finance plays a critical but prejudiced role in the operation of society. a realistic costing procedure is described at The difference between spurious and real wealth is discussed at . The book The Money Virus is rampant! How do we treat it? will consolidate the impact of money.
There are five principles governing the reality of operation of the body of civilization. The discrepancy between this influence of intangible money and tangible materialistic operations is examined in The bailout by the US government to restore confidence in the financial market will have questionable long-term impact on the global economy. The conceptual model has been run to indicate the likely influence of these measures on the Australian economy out to 2050. The results at show that the measures will slow the decline in the near future at the expense of what the next generation will have to live on.