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Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross became famous for publishing On Death & Dying in 1969. It was her Grief Cycle which has proven to be quite useful for analyzing many sorts of problems where control of the situation has been lost. On a world wide scale, the global warming, drought, famine, war and Doomsday are each going to go through the Grief Cycle for humanity as a whole and for individuals. Changingminds.org has an amplified Grief Cycle list which can be applied to the Doomsday problem.

This blog has explored to some degree the causal factors, which are growing and giving additional stress to the planet, and at some time will precipitate a Doomsday scenario of events. The causes of the stress are so obvious and so unstoppable that when reading these blogs it is likely that a person new to this subject will go through the stages of grief presented above.

The shock stage will occur when a person reads the scientific findings about global warming, droughts which will come about which are caused by the shift in weather patterns that will develop because of the different climate. This sounds stressful enough but when the next logical steps are followed it becomes obvious that there will soon be resulting crop losses followed by famine, and suffering of many people, most of whom, at first, will be innocent poor people. Then the various governments will get into conflicts with others rather than idly standing by and letting their people die. When this involves atomic bomb possessing powers there will be a major war which is likely to develop into a Doomsday positive feedback scenario with all-out war by the major powers who defend themselves by exploding thousands of hydrogen bombs in an effort to save themselves. The facts for these problems are readily available, and the step by step development through to the conclusion is also fairly obvious.

The denial stage comes about as one tries to prove, the facts are wrong, or the reporting is wrong, or the science is wrong, or the whole thing is a complex hoax dreamed up by some spooky group. Anything will do, so long as it denies the validity of the problem. This will be associated with an effort to ignore it, but when the problem keeps popping up again, and again they will develop techniques to willfully ignore it. To the outside observer the rationalizations will look irrational, and silly but the very absurdity of the ideas helps define the group, and helps bind them into a cohesive self-supporting whole.

The anger stage comes on a bit later when it becomes obvious that the facts, and conclusions derived from those facts can no longer be spun out of consciousness by some tricky reasoning. Then there will be a witch hunt for those who are responsible for bringing about this terrible state of affairs, and an outpouring of anger directed at whomever the various politicians, media controllers, and their pundits decide is at fault. The probable victims of this reasoning will be big oil, and those countries which are supplying the world with fossil fuels, and the United States simply because they have been the most consumptive. There may be some short term attacks on obvious personal over-consumers of oil like SUV owners. But that won’t last long because they will soon get rid of them and start driving Priuses, and appear to be greener than thou. The water, and drought aspects of this problem will probably bring violent conflict between countries.

The bargaining stage will soon begin when it is realized that open conflict worsens the problem, because it uses up resources, and the lack of resources, for the population, is what is creating the problem. At this stage there may be real efforts to find solutions to the real problems; really effective uses of limited resources, and real investment in trying to find technical fixes to ease the effects, and find alternate solutions. Perhaps people might even begin to realize the underlying problem is that there are simply too many people for the resources available. That will be a super stressful realization, because when you analyze that problem it turns out there are vastly too many people already. It is too terrible to contemplate what is needed in ways of population control. To return to a potentially stable population would require limiting births to about two hundred thousand per year when the current births is about 130 million per year. Simple division gives only one child per 650 of this years mothers. That is obviously unthinkable but continuing on our current path is totally unsustainable even if it works today. Therein lies the problem – every solution is absolutely unworkable.

Birth map

Total Births in the year 2000 from World Mapper

The depression stage follows hard upon the realization that there are no workable solutions that there is nothing to look forward to but disaster, and a continuing downward series of ever worsening disasters until some really awful bottom state is reached. Perhaps, it will be oblivion for the human species. I certainly hope not, and have been trying to work out some alternative. But, the anger and bargaining will have been proven futile, and as droughts, famine and wars become more persistent the gloom, doom, and depression will grow more acute. People, and nations will grow increasingly irrational in their projected solutions, and in their behavior.

The testing stage is an even more dedicated effort to find solutions, but as the absolute overpopulation problem has no acceptable solution, open and sustained warfare will ensue. Even the most positive of solutions, some form of workable birth control isn’t going to be tolerated by most people, because it seems to limit them, and favor their enemies. And, perhaps the grimmest realization is that even if there were no more children born for fifty years the present population is so far beyond the carrying capacity of the planet that our merely living out our current lives will push the planet over the tipping point.

The Doomsday Chart

Doomsday chart

Doomsday population crash with food shortfall as a precursor.

This chart was posted on 2008 June 11

The acceptance stage is finally arrived at where it becomes obvious that there are no solutions other than death. It is always the final solution to everything in this life, but in this case it is particularly sad because there was a way out. At one time in the distant past, in this case about 1825 to 1925, if a two child per family policy had been adopted world wide, humanity could live in a sustainable way for a very long time, essentially forever. But now with such a catastrophe in the making the population must drop well below that sustainable size for a hundred years or more before the planet can regain the vigor necessary to sustain even one hundred million people in a high tech society.

Ultimately, all the world must be brought into a one child per adult state. If that cannot be achieved then there is an inevitable boom and bust cycle. We are now very near the end of the first human population boom cycle.

I hope you enjoyed the experience.