The good news? The world isn't going to end in 2012, according to British professor John Beddington. The bad news? 2030 will see "the perfect storm" of disasters that'll make you wish otherwise, he claims.
Beddington, the chief scientific advisor to the British Government, spoke about our oncoming societal crash at this week's Sustainable Development UK conference, pointing out that future scarcity of food and water, as well as insufficient energy resources, will cause disaster sooner than we may think. He told the UK Guardian newspaper:
If we don't address this, we can expect major destabilisation, an increase in rioting and potentially significant problems with international migration, as people move out to avoid food and water shortages... There are dramatic problems out there, particularly with water and food, but energy also, and they are all intimately connected,. You can't think about dealing with one without considering the others. We must deal with all of these together.
Part of the necessary response, the scientist says, is a technological push to make agriculture more successful... and a governmental push to get scientists more directly involved with policy making. His model for the latter? Barack Obama's advisors on science and the environment. Of course, promoting America as a political model to Europe may prove a tough sell, but hopefully a possible societal collapse may prove a big enough reason to get over old prejudices.
Flickr image by Daniel Meyer.