‘I want the kids to be OK’, says expert who found 1970s end-of-world prediction is on schedule
An expert who found a 1970s forecast on the collapse of society was on schedule has said she would just like “the kids to be OK”.
Gaia Herrington – who has produced an update to the decades-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) prediction – said her drive is preserving quality of life for younger generations.
She had found a 1972 MIT scientific paper’s estimate society would collapse by 2050 appears to be on course , following analysis of the forecast.
But Ms Herrington, who works for KPMG, told The Guardian the key findings from her independent research was that “we still have a choice to align with a scenario that does not end in collapse”.
In an interview with the newspaper, the researcher said she is motivated by the wellbeing of future generations, saying: “I would like ‘the kids to be OK’, even if none of them were mine.”
She added: “I am driven by a passion for sustainability . Always have been.”
Her Harvard thesis found that a “decline” in standards of living could begin by as early as 2040 and fall to a historic low by 2050.
Writing about the collapse of society, she said it “does not mean that humanity will cease to exist” but instead that “economic and industrial growth will stop, and then decline, which will hurt food production and standards of living”.
Her paper said “continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth” would lead to a decline in standards of living across the West.
This would be the case even with technological adaptations, she argued.
Ms Herrington told The Guardian that even if mankind escapes the issue of “resource scarcity” through innovations, this would “probably see an increase in population” unless the “continued search for growth” is limited.
The 1972 paper by MIT researchers, which Ms Herrington studied, warned civilisation would collapse within the next century if upward population and economic growth continued.