According to a book by Chris Martenson titled "The Crash Course," the convergence of unsustainable trends in the economy, energy, and the environment will make the 20-teens one of the most challenging decades ever. The main premise of the book is that our material prosperity is at its peak and that from here on out, we have to be prepared for a future of less and not more.
Martenson's conclusion is based on what he calls the "3 E's" or the economy, energy, and the environment. These issues reinforce each other, making them more challenging to solve, and most people will not see these issues until it is too late.
The argument starts with energy, which is the master resource, as Julian Simon says. Before anything else, we need energy. To understand how we went from small villages to having supercomputers in the palms of our sweaty hands, we need to understand the role of energy and why surplus energy is needed for a civilization to grow.
Martenson breaks down the environment into two categories. The first is the idea that the Earth is a source of natural capital. After many years of extraction, we are running out of everything, from energy sources like oil to many of the raw materials we use. Secondly, think of the Earth as a final resting place for all the waste and pollution. Our ecological systems are urgently flashing warning signs, with ocean acidification happening at the fastest rate in 300 million years, the six mass extinctions in Earth's history happening right now, and our stable weather patterns becoming increasingly chaotic.
In conclusion, our economy needs to keep growing exponentially, or it will collapse. A bigger economy needs more energy and raw materials, which, in turn, damage the environment. Martenson suggests that we need to prepare ourselves for a future of less and not more by reducing our energy consumption, using sustainable energy sources, and conserving our resources. The warning signs are already here, and it's time to start taking action before it's too late.