Catabolic Collapse

Catabolic Collapse



My project ‘Catabolic Collapse’ investigates the theory and causes for the potential collapse of western society and democracy, within the next two decades. The central idea of catabolic collapse, is that a dynamic system (such as globalized society) must require an ever-increasing supply of resources to sustain it’s growth. If the system was ever to outgrow the availability of resources, growth would begin to slow, eventually stop, and begin a process of collapse. The system must also be resilient to crises, which it has shown that it often isn’t, proved time and time again by market volatility and more recently a bottle neck in the global supply chain. These crises can lead to conflicts and political aggressions related to the need for access to resources, for example fossil fuels, water, food security, or land mass. Climate change in the meantime, is predicted to place enormous stress on the procurement of all of these resources, and while the demand for these resources only increase as the human population continually grows, and all parts of the system having huge emissions footprints, the only possibly outcome for our current societal trajectory is a huge decline in living standards by the mid century (2050). The only way of salvaging this situation, comes from very urgent societal transformation, initiated by rapid grassroots action. The government establishments of the world and the fossil fuel industry at large have been proven to have had immense mutual support, and currently cannot be completely trusted to tackle the immense scale of the problem, as doing so would be completely anti-capitalistic. The reason why the industry puts up such resistance to changing their business model, such as the creation of climate-denial think tanks like the Cato Institute or NIPCC, is because seriously tackling climate change on a united front is a complete 180 reversal of their entire existence to society. The movement for action on climate change asks the question of the fossil fuel industries relevance to future society, and hence their position as the power brokers of the world. Only through a united front of average citizens do we stand a chance of seeing any change to our system, one which is currently designed to bring about the end of an era of human technological power.

Publication Date



Boston Campus


Project Components: paper (.pdf), scores (ZIP file containing 4 .pdf documents), video (.mov).

Catabolic Collapse