It's been about 4 years since I first wrote this. It appears that we're on track for the 5 year prophecy. Some costal areas are becoming unusable,
more low-lying and island nations are in peril for their survival. The world population is only about 7.2 billion, with no pandemic.
A correspondant has sent me their predictions for this decade (2014-2024) regarding the USA-only. Their predictions for the future of the USA is not pretty.
I am quite cynical of there even being any sort of tomorrow. The world "we will leave our children" is such that I would not dream of putting someone I loved - or even someone I disliked - into it. I consider creating new humans to be a gravely immoral act. I have thought this way since I was in my late teens. Many years ago, I chose a permanent, surgical method of birth control.
The Golden Snip Award
For Reproductive Responsibility
Golden Snip Award designed by Nina Paley.
These are my predictions for both the near future and the far future.
Prophecy from a nontheistic cynic seems to be a contradiction. This information is visible for any to see. This claims no supernatural inspiration behind it.
There are nonsurgical methods suitable for long-term use which also do not lead to reproduction. Included are birth control use, sodomy, and male chastity.
About like it is now. A little warmer, some areas of the coastline unusable because of sea levels rising. World economy improving slightly, with governments placing safeguards over banks and insurance companies. If a deadly pandemic flu hits over the next 5 years, there will be fewer, healthier people living in a better economy than it does not.
Population without a deadly global flu pandemic will be about 7.5 billion.
With a global, deadly flu pandemic flu, population could be as low as 5 billion.
Life expectancy variable: 80 in industrialized countries, 45-50 in nonindustrial "third world" countries.
More people. More crime due to proximity. More shortages of food. More people dying due to lack of clean water. Most of the world's major cities, including New York, London, Washington, Tokyo, Leningrad, Rio de Janeiro, CapeTown, Rome, and so forth have been inundated with water from the oceans rising. Many have died unless they moved inland when this began happening. Many remain underwater, whereas some a little farther inland were hit hard by a major hurricane and destroyed by the storm. Strong hurricanes have become more frequent, and hurricane season lasts longer. This is because of the warmer climate. We're well past peak oil. Energy is scarce and expensive. Chemical fertilizers for crops cannot be made, causing crop yields to decrease. Suburban living has been abandoned because of transportation. People have moved back to the center of cities, and what were once suburban lawns are now fields of food crops. Medical care or medications are only available to some of the wealthy.
Life expectancy: 50.
Population: about 9.5 billion if pandemic flu did not kill billions 5 years previously, or
7 billion if it did.
Still more people, and still more crime. Probably fascism throughout the world to try to control crime, which will not work. Nations keep fighting. Warmer and more droughts. Food is rationed. Most food is vegetarian. Food cannot be "wasted" on animals. There are problems transporting and distributing the food as well. Most people have major nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin B12, vitamin C, and protein. Nature looks a lot like the book _Silent Spring_. We've used up nearly all of the oil, and are primarily using coal. Lots of pollution, and people are dying very young. Clean water is scarce.
Life expectancy: 35.
Population: 13 billion whether or not a pandemic flu hit 10 years or so previously.
Disease hits, and HARD. This includes deficiency diseases from lack of nutritional elements, deadly flu pandemics, and plagues. Violence among nations erupts. There is not enough food produced, and the weak become diseased and die. Everyone tries to get a little space, and food, from anyone and everyone else. This is a BAD time to be alive. Wars are commonplace, and weapons of mass destruction are used, causing radiation sickness and outbreaks from disease from biological weapons. The world is VERY polluted, very dirty - both biological waste and industrial waste. People are not very "nice" because they are so overcrowded. World population 20 billion. Life expectancy is meaningless, as few people are dying from anything but mass violence or secondary disease, such as cholera, as a result of the wholesale killing with bodies mostly left to rot. Other disease become rampant, including tuberculosis, Ebola, bacteria, and fungus. Some diseases, such as smallpox and polio, once nearly eradicated, kill millions because of bioweapons or loss of containment in bio-warfare labs, in addition from the naturally-occurring diseases mentioned before. If someone is injured or becomes diseased in this chaotic world, medical care is nonexistent. The hospitals have been destroyed, pharmacies looted, and many skilled in health care killed. If a skilled caregiver is available, they will be limited in what they can accomplish without drugs, supplies, or even hygienic conditions temporarily free from violence.
World population: 20 billion.
Life expectancy is meaningless with the premature deaths from all causes.
On top of this, fossil fuels will be nearly depleated, and there will be a great deal of disease and suffering resulting from insufficient heating, insufficient transportation, and economic collapse from there not being any jobs as a result of there being no fuel to operate the factories, and no one with money to buy the products even if they could be made. Some energy, from wind, solar, waves, and nuclear will be produced.
A few people survive, and many are diseased or injured from chemicals or radiation. This includes weapons as well as the sun. The ozone layer has become very spotty. Individuals, families, and small communities where pockets of surviving people are paranoid, because much of the world has become savage. A few roving gangs survive by traveling through the countryside, taking what they can. Many continue to die from disease, radiation, starvation, or violence. Medical care and treatment are unavailable, except to the extremely wealthy, who are hiding in underground, secret bunkers.
Population: 1 billion.
Life expectancy: 25 years.
No one left. Humans are extinct, as are every other mammal above about 5 lbs or 2 kg. Even those in secret bunkers would not be safe. When they run out of food or air and have to leave, this world is not suitable for people to live in. If the radiation did not kill them, the dirty water would in short order. Something else would evolve over the next 10 million years or so. Worst case scenario, assorted worldwide bombs break the planet into pieces, in which case nothing would be left alive.No one left. Humans are extinct, as are every other mammal above about 5 lbs. Even the secret bunkers were not safe. Something else would evolve over the next 10 million years or so. Worst case scenario, assorted worldwide bombs break the planet into pieces, in which case nothing would be left alive.
Life expectancy: zero.
Another possibility would be voluntary human extinction. Everyone in the world would have to agree to put it into practice, so that we could "live long and die out". See the video from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement's website, at VHMET.ORG. This video documents some of human population growth's effects on Earth's biosphere. Includes interviews with Les Knight of VHEMT, Chris Korda of the Church of Euthanasia, and others.
Thank You For Not Breeding - a short film by Nina Paley from Albert Kaufman on Vimeo.
The few people who are left talk about "before" the big die-off or war or kill-off. The earth is very warm, and now very sunny. The earth has gotten much hotter, and people have migrated to about 47-55 degrees north or south latitude. People are living in handmade huts, farming by pulling ploughs with oxen. The world has become very peaceful. Many people continue to die of cancer from the chemicals and radiation unleashed during the wars. People are very connected with their small communities. Few people are literate, and the ones who are have access to the literature. Even in this primitive society, basic medicine is quite well advanced. Food is available, and the knowledge of how to can, dry, and preserve food remains intact.
Population: 300 million, or 0.3 billion.
Life expectancy: 25 years
Earth gets a little cooler. People are moving some toward the equator - about 300 miles or so closer to the equator. Priests, who are the only people able to read or write, have books hidden away. These priests decide which books are important to keep and which are not. Unfortunately, they decide to "throw out" much of the hard science books, and allow them to decay and vanish. Some books on technology remain. Some books on medicine and organic farming are treasured. History is rewritten and abridged. Some books on travel and social issues remain. Which books are kept or allowed to decay vary considerably from place to place, which no longer have the ability to communicate over long distances.
Life expectancy: 30 years.
World Population: 250 million.
Earth continues to cool off. Some other nearly-extinct creatures, such as squirrels and some fish, beginning to make a comeback. Chickens and ducks are again popular farm animals. People live in small communities, with legends about a golden age, and a catastrophe that made it go away. The stories vary from it being the will of the gods, to an attack of demons, to an attack from outer space, or other things. The powerful people in these communities are priests, who move around on magical chariots, grace the community with their presence from time to time, cure disease, and such things. The priests, are those who have remained literate, and spend a good bit of their time copying books, using printing presses sometimes, and by hand others.
Life expectancy: 30 years.
World Population: 250 million.
Earth climate stabilizes. Small communities combine into larger ones, still under 500 people. People have moved 500 miles closer to the equator to expand their farming operations. The legends continue. The priests have set up their own "post apocalypse" religion, teaching of how the gods decided to stop all of the "evil people" of the "golden age". Priests are still literate, and still have the books which were decided to be kept. They maintain these books by hand or with printing presses, distributing them to others of their religious beliefs, who are the rulers in their vicinity. They wrote their own religious text to suit themselves and conditions they see or understand, somewhat based on the old religious writings they had previously. The priests have kept some technology and medicine, and continually "awe" the common people with their abilities to perform "miracles", one of which are their "magical chariots" or electric motorized bicycles and tricycles. Radiation continues to diminish, pollution diminishes. Sun remains bright. Crop yields increase.
Life expectancy: 30 years.
World Population: 260 million.
Small communities continue. The priestly class has let most of the technology and "miracle" working go by the wayside as childish and merely for entertainment. The only books that remain are those for the current religion and some for healing. Medicine now consists of a tiny bit of medical technology from the "golden age", some hygiene, and a lot of superstition and prayer. Still, those who have a line on god and healing are those who stay in power. Occasionally, natural causes will lead to local crop failures, sporadic outbreaks of flus and plagues will happen. This will be blamed alternately on demonic activity, displeased gods, or “witches” in their midst.
Life expectancy remains at 30 years
World population stabilizes at 275 million.
This situation remains stable for a few thousand years, unti the next "enlightenment" and "industrial revolution".