Tour of the Human Predicament and

What to Do About it


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, a loss of access to mined and drilled resources, and a dark age from which your descendent's will not reemerge.

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 tour 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.

Preparation for Tour (grasping the problem and solution)            

      VIEW 5 videos (40 min)
            Losing Our Energy Slaves     10 min   decreasing energy predicts collapse
            Underestimating Overpopulation  9 min   too many people for sustainabilit
            How the World Works   9 min simple view of collapse mechanism

            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)

Tour Group 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

      What is the path forward to deal with the predicament?
            Unwinding the Human Predicament
                              working paper for discussion if there is time

      Testing the viability of a proposed civilization's design
            Sustainable Civilization Analysis       10 min

      Sustainable civilizations require that human behavior be driven by abstraction
            What Collected Behavior Creates Sustainability?       22 min   


              Jack Alpert      913 708 2554

10/28/2015 revised 9/22/2019

  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

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:     (homepage)      position papers

  (more details)