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Article: Could We Reboot Civilization?

Article: Could We Reboot Civilization?

Article: Could We Reboot Civilization?

With fossil fuels being used up, would it be possible to build another “advanced” civilization after the collapse of this one?

Lewis Dartnell, author of the book The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch, is both right and wrong: yes, industrial civilization will inevitably collapse and he is right when seeing this and contemplating on its outcome, but the conclusion he draws from this can’t be more wrong: he writes a manual for rebuilding the same techno-industrial civilizational system that just caused everything we know to collapse.

He falls under the common misconception that our globalized civilization is somehow the latest (if not the final) version of human social organization, and is an improvement to anything that preceded it. Anthropocentrism and therefore the strict denial of how Nature works is the basis of his thought, so all his words are best to be read with a questioning mind.

Is it possible to have an advanced civilization fueled by electricity rather than fossil fuels?
His answer is simply burning wood, charcoal or wood gas, but all of this can in our eyes never be sustainable, especially not when supporting a population of several billion people. He admits that it is much harder to start the other way round, electricity first and metal smelting second – as opposed to the industrial revolution, which saw steam engines, coal and other fossil fuels first, and afterwards the use of electric energy.

History provides us with examples of societies that overused the resources of their surroundings, like the “Dark Age” that followed the Bronze and Iron Age in Southeastern Europe, where vast parts of land were deforested (and still are, look at Greece), and therefore made further “advancement” impossible for some millennia.

Despite his progressivist attitude and his complete refusal to see primitive (natural!) life as an alternative, this article is interesting to read and shows you how shaky the pillars are on which our world is built.


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