"Prophesying catastrophe is incredibly banal. The more original move is to assume that it has already happened"

- Jean Baudrillard

Spring, 2008. When I started this page four years ago, everyone thought that industrial society would keep thriving forever, and I wanted to balance that with evidence that it's going to crash. Now everyone thinks it's going to crash, but I'm shocked at how many blows it has taken and how little has changed in daily life, so I'm leaning back to the other side: that we'll get a depression, a shakeout of the tech system, but no big crash. I don't even think "crash" or "collapse" are good metaphors, because they imply a change so fast you can't even run, when real changes are slower than grass growing. I'm tempted to kill this page, but I'm keeping it around for reference.

old news - archive - reference -
this is what the apocalypse looks like -
under pavement seeds wait

Featured Links

My own essays that cover this subject the most directly are Fall Down Six Times, How to Survive the Crash and Save the Earth, How To Save Civilization, The Slow Crash, Thinking Through the Fall, and The Coming Expansion.

Full online text of William Kötke's book The Final Empire (now featuring Firefox-proof pop-up ads!). Also he has condensed and updated it as the book Garden Planet.

Jim Kunstler's The Long Emergency is a great all-around summary of peak oil and its implications. Here's a more thorough rundown by Life After The Oil Crash.

Dmitry Orlov is a great writer who uses the Soviet collapse to shed light on the coming American collapse. His latest is Closing the Collapse Gap. Also check out Thriving in the Age of Collapse, Part I, and "Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century," Part one, Part two, Part three.

Exceptional essay by Kirkpatrick Sale about the Collapse of the American Empire.

The Oil We Eat, an article about the coming oil/food crash, with a strong critique of the whole history of agriculture.

Two great essays by Toby Hemenway, Urban vs. Rural Sustainability and Cities, peak oil, and sustainability.

Imagine Earth without people, a good summary of how the biosphere would recover if humans suddenly vanished.

How long till the electricity fails? This article covers four kinds of plants and the grid, in both a sudden and a gradual crash -- but it's about zombies! It's forbidden to write something this concise and informative about the real coming breakdowns, so when it says "zombies," just substitute "dead people" or "incapacitated people" or "rioters" or "insurgents" or "you."

Potted histories, many summaries of past collapsed societies.

Two ecological essays, End of the Wild, explaining why nature as we know it is already dead, and Planet of Weeds, describing what will be left.

Climate change images by user Dragons Flight at Wikipedia.

A hilarious chart of optimistic predictions before and after the economic crash of 1929.

This is what the Apocalypse looks like

Anjali Krishnan's account of the flood in Mumbai

Giovanni Boccaccio's account of the Black Death, 1348

Tim Boucher's account of Blackout 2003

Old News

Poison pet food research page
Space junk chain reaction will destroy most satellites
USDA hardiness zones shifting north
Global warming may thaw ancient microbes
Ocean gas burp could wipe out life on Earth
graph of the housing bubble
Rainy days driven by traffic patterns
Giant yellow jacket nests in south Alabama
Plankton blooms linked to earthquakes
Air current vital to climate weakens
Wildlife defies Chernobyl radiation
Huge solar storms could zap Earth
Coyotes moving into cities
Global warming has passed the "tipping point"
How weird weather kills oceans
Bird flu to excuse heavy-handed central control
Flu pandemic would spark enough fear to make it a greed pandemic
Stratfor special report on the bird flu
Hurricanes of 2005 were filled with mysterious lightning
America will have ruined cities
Carbon dioxide level highest in 650,000 years
Nature reclaiming American plains
Monbiot: Biodiesel is worse than fossil fuels
Melting Arctic threatens new Paleocene and related PDF article
Ocean near Florida completely dead
Global warming thawing Siberian methane
Sea life in peril -- plankton vanishing and Warmer oceans killing west coast marine life
Great article about the housing bubble
African desert spreading to Spain
Series of giant earthquakes expected
Rubber disruption could crash economy
Man-eating squids multiplying
We're overdue for our 62 million year extinction
Thawing arctic methane to accelerate greenhouse effect
Biofuels would be a humanitarian and environmental disaster
New anti-ship weapons could destroy US fleet
Man-made rainforest baffles scientists
Cars replace camels, make global dust storm
Seas turn to acid as they absorb global pollution
Earth's magnetic field is reversing
The Danger of Nanotechnology is intentional weapons use, not grey goo
World's grain stockpile perilously low and getting lower
Fundamentalist Christians rule America, want apocalypse
Alleged cobalt bomb doomsday plan and how they work

Archive of Internal Links

Barter in Occupied France
Report from the Boscastle flood
No humans, no problem?
Nature thrives in Chernobyl
Mad cow cover-up in Colorado
Inside the World Economic Forum
my page on the abiotic oil issue
Baboon bullies die and the survivors become peaceful

Under pavement seeds wait

[What I'm looking for here are photos of modern ruins overgrown by green stuff.]

Abandoned Highway 38 in California
Kudzu Covered Houses
Feral houses in Detroit
Another page about Detroit going wild
Google image search of, photos of abandoned amusement parks.


World earthquake map
US drought monitor
Real-time images of the sun
Satellite weather photos
Asteroid impact effects calculator
Climate Change Impacts on the United States
Global flood mapper, 0-28 cubits, zoomable maps, slow-loading.
Global flood maps, 120 and 200 cubits, unzoomable continent maps, fast-loading.
Sea Level Rise Explorer, 0-140 cubits.