Twelve unsustainable things that will soon come to a disastrous end on our planet

Posted on 13 March 2011

For those of you who ‘liked’ Making Sense of Things on Facebook know that we sometimes share on Facebook articles of interest that contribute in discussing further the topics we’ve raised within our posts. Although we don’t have rules about it, we’ve traditionally used the Making Sense of Things Facebook page to share with you others’ thoughts, and kept the blog itself to share our own views.

Today we challenge this modus operandi in order to share with those of you who are not on Facebook an article titled “Twelve unsustainable things that will soon come to a disastrous end on our planet” written by Mike Adams and published on Natural News. The content of the article is not original per se, but the author nevertheless does an excellent job in providing an easily accessible overview of different topics of concerns, which are likely to occur and that will affect (y)our very life. Indeed, if a collapse of the 12 mentioned “unsustainable things” is still avoidable, their likelihood of happening increases for every day we ignore them. It’s no more governments’, international institutions’ or corporations’ responsibilities to do something about it. The scale of the problems is such that the responsibility to do something about it is everyones.

You’ve probably already heard the often repeated quote from Gandhi: “be the change you want to see in the world”. Even though these problems seem overwhelming, there is a lot we can already do at our own level, including changing our food habits, increasing our understanding and knowledge of the worlds’ problems, raising our family and friends’ awareness on these issues, getting involved in community projects, providing support to those who need it, etc.

We now leave it to you, but hey, maybe you can spread the word! 🙂


Twelve unsustainable things that will soon come to a disastrous end on our planet

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

If you look around what’s really happening in our world today, there’s an inescapable pattern that curiously emerges: Much of what’s going on is simply unsustainable. It can’t go on for much longer, in other words. And it must collapse due to the laws of economics or physics.

Here, I’ve put together a collection of twelve systems that are utterly unsustainable on our planet. Each of these twelve is scheduled for some sort of collapse or shut down in the coming years. They range from economics to medicine, population and the environment. And interestingly, the collapse of just one of these twelve would have devastating consequences across human civilization. What happens when two, three or ten of these things collapse?
This article doesn’t cover the consequences of the collapse of these unsustainable things, but we’ll work on covering that in future articles. Here are the twelve:

1) Debt-based banking and economic systems

There’s little question that our global fractional reserve banking system is headed for a catastrophic collapse. It’s a system based on debt rather than sound money principles, and the laws of economics dictate that the global multiplication of money and debt is entirely unsustainable.
This system will collapse, and when it does, it will be so large that the economic devastation will be global. Governments have actually made this worse, of course, by bailing out the dishonest investment institutions that have made the situation worse. The coming financial collapse will teach humanity some hard lessons about honest money.
When it comes to money, banking and debt, Ron Paul has always been right, after all.

2) Conventional agriculture and “rape the planet” farming

The current agricultural system that feeds the planet is simply unsustainable. It is a “rape the planet” model that clear-cuts forests to grow GMO soybeans that feed factory cattle which are turned into processed meat. Even the plant crops grown through conventional agriculture depend on chemical fertilizers from sources that are running out (fossil fuels, phosphate mines, etc.).
Furthermore, the mass application of chemical pesticides, fungicides and Monsanto’s Roundup chemicals is destroying the viability of soils while polluting the world’s farms, rivers, streams and oceans. This system is unsustainable. When it collapses, humanity will learn (the hard way) that only sustainable agriculture can sustain human life on our planet.

3) Mass-consumption economies based on buy-it-and-trash-it behavior

When children are raised to be good little Americans (or Canadians, or Australians, etc.), they’re taught to consume more stuff. In America, it was even called “patriotic” by former President George Bush. To support your local economy, you’re supposed to go out and buy stuff that you don’t need, then chuck it into the trash after you use it, then go out and buy more!
Virtually the entire first-world economy is based on this idea that people need to consume more stuff, then throw it away, then consume more. That’s what all the corporate advertising is for, to convince people that they are inadequate unless they buy and consume more high-priced cars, designer jeans, electronic gadgets and throwaway home cleaning supplies. This system is insane. And it cannot continue indefinitely.

4) The accelerating loss of farming soils

There’s a great documentary you need to see on this called Dirt. ( It explains the value of dirt (soil) and why conventional agriculture methods are destroying the dirt upon which our civilization depends. We even wrote about the movie here:…

No dirt = no food. Get it? And the dirt is disappearing at an alarming rate, thanks to the unsustainable practices of conventional agriculture, with all its tilling, soil destruction, poisons andGMOs. I wonder what the people will plant their seeds in when all the cropland dirt is either dead or gone?

5) The mass poisoning of the oceans and aggressive over-fishing

Oceans ecosystems are collapsing. This isn’t some future prediction, it’s happening right now. Ocean acidification is destroying the coral reefs and mollusks all across the globe. At the same time, human civilization treats the oceans as giant planetary toilets into which all the toxic chemicals of modern civilization are flushed: Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, fertilizers, heavy metals, hormone-disrupting chemicals and a whole lot more.
Massive fish die-offs are becoming increasingly common (…), and fish populations are plummeting across several species. We are beginning to see the results of mankind’s ongoing poisoning of the oceans.

6) Mass genetic pollution of the planet through GMOs

It will be the great, dark legacy of our modern civilization: The widespread genetic contamination of the planet through the use of GMOs.
Genetically engineered seeds are spreading their altered genetic code all across the world. The DNA of GMO crops is now detectable in soils, foods and water systems. What’s the upshot of all this? It’s a big unknown, of course, and that’s the frightening part: No one before has ever “played God” with the planet, right out in the open, and then observed what happens after a few years (or decades). Thanks to companies like Monsantowe are the experiment, and no one know if it might ultimately lead to something like a widespread crop failure or even the alternation of natural web-of-life interactions across multiple ecosystems.
And if genetic pollution causes problems, how do you “clean” that pollution? You can’t! Genetic pollution endures. Once crops become infected with GE seeds, it’s all but impossible to eliminate the DNA contamination.

7) The drugs-and-surgery conventional medical system

Big Pharma’s days are numbered — based on economics if nothing else. The monopolistic pricing, the deadly side effects and the corrupt, criminal operations of the industry make it all utterly non-sustainable.

Big Pharma and the whole chemical approach to medicine is bankrupting companies, cities, states and nations. No nation can economically survive in the long run if it keeps spending its money on Big Pharma sick care schemes. Ultimately, those nations that hope to survive will need to ditch Big Pharma and return to natural medicine and preventive nutrition.
That day is coming. Sooner that you think, probably.

8 ) Widespread pharmaceutical contamination of the human population and the environment

Until the day comes that Big Pharma collapses into ruin, the pharmaceutical pollution of the planet will continue. Right now, pharmaceutical factories in India (which export their pills back to the states to be sold as brand-name drugs) are dumping untold thousands of gallons of dangerous chemical drugs into the waterways there (…).
In the U.S. and Canada, the water near every major city is heavily contaminated with pharmaceuticals. (
The situation is so bad that Big Pharma’s chemical runoff threatens the future of life on our planet! (…)

Fortunately, this sad chapter in human history will soon come to an end.

9) Runaway human population growth

Here’s the one nobody wants to talk about. But make no mistake: The human population growth we see right now is entirely unsustainable. The available of cheap food and fossil fuels over the last century has contributed to an unprecedented population explosion that is now nearing its end. There are only so many acres of farmland, after all, and only so many acre-feet of water to irrigate it.
Don’t misinterpret this, however, of thinking that I support some sort of population reduction measures a la Bill Gates and his quote about reducing the world population by 10 – 15 percent through the use of vaccines and health care (…).
Unlike some of the truly evil world leaders, I don’t believe in killing off human beings just to reduce global population. Rather, it makes more sense to teach sustainable living practicesalong with good parenting and well-considered parenthood. Strangely, most of the new children brought into the world today are not the result of stable, well-prepared parents choosing to have children, but rather the unintended consequences of casual copulation.

10) Fossil water consumption for agriculture

We just published a story on this issue, talking about how the Ogallala Aquifer is running dry, threatening the agricultural output of Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and even parts of Colorado and Texas (…).
This is a global issue, affecting India, China, North America, South America and nearly every nation that produces any significant agricultural yields. Fresh water is running out all across the world, and while additional water supplies can always be created through desalination, for example, that’s a very expensive way to replenish the water, and it’s almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels (see below). Even if you could build enough desalination plants to irrigate the world’s croplands, the resulting food prices would still result in mass starvation by those who couldn’t afford the food which might cost ten times the current price.
Imagine paying $20 for a loaf of bread and you get the idea of what’s coming.

11) Fossil fuel consumption

I realize this is a highly contentious issue, with some people claiming that there’s an “unlimited supply of oil” in our planet because it’s replenishing itself all the time. This idea simply doesn’t square with what we know: The Earth is a finite object, occupying finite space. Inside it can only be a finite amount of fossil fuels. The recharge rate of fossil fuels is on the scale of millions of years, meaning we can’t simply wait around for more fuel to reappear if we use up the current reserves.

There is convincing evidence right now that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, has been lying about its output capacity for at least the last decade. It can’t reach its production targets, and there is reasoned speculation that its own best-producing oil wells are approaching their end. Even if oil remains available for a few more decades, it still becomes increasingly expensive oil, meaning that everything else down the supply chain becomes more expensive, too: Food, fuel, consumer goods, etc.
The era of cheap fossil fuels is coming to an end. Although fossil fuels will no doubt be around for several decades more, the cheap stuff is long gone, it seems. The citizens of Earth will soon need to find an alternate way to power their cities, cars and businesses in the 21st century.

Oh, and by the way, solar probably isn’t the answer, as solar panels depend on rare earth metals that are entirely dependent on Chinese mining operations (…). Wind energy also hasn’t panned out as it should have. And the governments of the world continue to suppress free energy technologies such as Cold Fusion, which has now been proven to work by even the U.S. Navy (…).

12) The widespread destruction of animal habitat

Here’s one that drives some people nuts. What? We can’t keep clear-cutting the rainforests to plant genetically engineered soybeans?
Not if you want the planet to survive, actually. There’s a delicate web of life on our planet upon which human life ultimately depends. The more animal habitat we destroy, the more it ultimately comes back to haunt us.
Now, I’m not in favor of the insane green police and the UN’s freedom-stealing efforts to pigeon-hole human beings into centrally-controlled behavior boxes. The key here is finding ways for people to live in balance with nature while still maintaining their freedoms.
And that depends on education. We need to continue to teach people how to make sound decisions about where they buy their wood furniture (to avoid the slashing of old-growthforests). We need to teach people who eat meat to buy truly free-range, grass-fed meat rather than factory-farmed meats that depend on soybean mega-farms. And of course, we also need to make people aware of the benefits of getting more plant-based foods into their diets where possible, because when properly prepared, plant foods provide a lot of nutrients with a smaller ecological footprint than most meats.

I’m not against those who eat meat, by the way. I just think that people need to consider where their food comes from no matter what they’re eating, and then take steps to reduce the ecological footprint of the food they’re choosing to consume. The best answer to this is to buy local food. In fact, I would argue that eating some beef steaks from a local farmer is more ecologically sound than juicing up organic fruits and vegetables grown and imported from Chile (unless you live in Chile, of course).

That’s an arguable point, of course, and opinions differ sharply on this, but I believe that we really need to focus on eating local foods just as much as we do on what we’re eating. Personally, I don’t eat cows, but even for the plants I consume, I’m working hard right now on growing more of my own so that I’m acting with integrity — “walking the talk” so to speak — to be aligned with what I’m advocating for others.
While we’re at it, one of the best ways to reduce the destruction of animal habitat is to grow your own food by turning your yard into a garden. Reduce your demand for store-bought food and you unquestionably reduce your ecological footprint on the planet.
And reconsider how much seafood you eat. Most seafood is extremely damaging to ocean ecosystems. I don’t have space to discuss it all right here, but we’ll cover it more on NaturalNews in the near future.


Life is on the line

So those are 12 of the biggest things that are entirely unsustainable on our planet right now. Human life depends on most of them. It makes you wonder: How will humans survive when these systems and resources upon which we depend have run out or collapsed?
That is a question we’d all better be asking ourselves right now. Because the age of cheap fuel, cheap money, cheap water and cheap food is fast ending. The future of life on our planet will require something far more evolved than the infantile, selfish and self-destructive mindset that humanity has so far demonstrated.
Debt-based money systems don’t cut it. Burning up all the fossil fuels is only a fool’s abundance. Medicating the humans and animals with toxic, synthetic pharmaceuticals is a form of medical insanity. These things will all come to an end.
The question is: Who will survive the end of these things and be around to help shape the next society which must operate with far greater humility and wisdom?


2 responses to Twelve unsustainable things that will soon come to a disastrous end on our planet

  • Hi
    Yes, these are big issues and sooner or later the gaps between where we are and where we must end up will get filled. The question is when? You might have come across John Michael Greer’s view of “The Long Descent” which drawing parallels with numerous collapses in history. He suggests it could well be a very long drawn out event rather than a massive plunge. Also interesting is KMO’s Conversations on Collapse, at the C-Realm podcast.

    I spent 15+ years travelling after high school, and now 15 years later still reckon it is one of the most satisfying (and maybe natural) ways to live. But, marriage, children, somehow shift this more to staying in one place, which has it’s benefits too.

    In the early 1980’s I felt convinced that there was no way we could as a society get to 2001 without catastrophe. Yet here we are, still somehow getting by. So, whilst I share the feelings expressed on the predicament we face I’d caution against personal feelings of urgency over specific issues. Who knows? All the best with your plans.

    PS came here via permaculture global.


  • Making Sense of Things says:

    Dear Andrew,

    First of all, my apologies for such a late response to your comment. I’m currently in the Gaza strip and the load of work is so great that I could not really focus on other things. Anyway, I want to thank you for your comment, both for its content and for the further reading/podcast you recommend. Also, I’m glad you shared your own experience. Indeed, we often wonder how much are we caught in our subjective perspectives and getting some alternative ones helps. In particular when it comes to the question of collapse. No doubt that nature and humans have an incredible resilience capacity and we should be cautious about over reacting. Having said that, I’ve seen with my own eyes that there is no need for a global collapse to happen to give the concept some legitimacy. For those living nearby the Fukushima reactor, for the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or the current Iraq war victims I have little doubt that they don’t care much about a global collapse. Their lives is so directly affected that it doesn’t really matter anymore at their scale whether the collapse they go through is local or global.
    But I guess one should nevertheless not ignore the ‘cocktail effect’ that different crisis can have when occurring simultaneously. I feel that in the West, people have forgotten (for good reasons given the relative stability of the last six decades) how fragile their systems are and talking about collapse in a constructive (not cataclysmic way) may helps take preventative steps and taking measures that will, precisely, ensure that a global collapse remains science-fiction.
    Anyway, it’s a long topic of conversation, and I’m aware I’m simplifying a bit my views for the sake of saving space… But I’m happy to dig it further!


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