The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future


The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future (Book by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway)

“… Clear warnings of climate catastrophe went ignored for decades, leading to soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, widespread drought and — finally — the disaster now known as the Great Collapse of 2093, when the disintegration of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet led to mass migration and a complete reshuffling of the global order.” – Naomi Oreskes

“The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future” presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the period in the early decades of the twenty-first century, a time when sound science and rational discourse about global change were prohibited and clear warnings of climate catastrophe were ignored. What ensues when soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, drought, raging wildfires, massive flooding, stronger storms and mass migrations disrupt the global governmental and economic regimes? Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway call it “The Great Collapse of 2093”.

Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway imagine a world devastated by climate change. Dramatizing the science in ways traditional nonfiction cannot, the book reasserts the importance of scientists and the work they do and reveals the self-serving interests of the so called “carbon combustion complex” that have turned the practice of science into political fodder. Based on sound scholarship and yet unafraid to speak boldly, this book provides a welcome moment of clarity amid the cacophony of climate change literature.

Naomi Oreskes is one of the world’s leading historians of science. She became Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University in 2013, after 15 years as Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where her research focuses on consensus and dissent in science. She has won numerous prizes for her work, and has lectured widely in diverse venues ranging from the Madison, Wisconsin, Civics Club to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Her 2004 essay “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” cited by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, led to Op-Ed pieces in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and to Congressional testimony in the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Oreskes’s research highlights the disconnect between the state of scientific debate. There really no longer exists the need for scientific debate since global warming is already a well established phenomenon, as are the changing climates of a warmer world. The causal factor is the super huge quantities of fossil fuels burned by humans since the time of the Industrial Revolution, which has resulted in an unnaturally high levels of greenhouse gas accumulations in the atmosphere. But this is seldom the way this worldwide threat is being presented in the mass media and is therefore perceived by the American people. Oreskes and Conway’s writings aim to show what may come to be inevitable within this century if we continue with “business as usual” practices and we fail to bring fossil fuel burning to a screeching halt, now, before the really drastic climate patterns emerge. No less than the entire planet Earth and everything living off of it including the oceans creature are being jeopardized by our actions..


Erik Conway is a historian of science and technology residing in Pasadena, CA. He is currently employed by the California Institute of Technology. He studies and documents the history of space exploration, and examines the intersections of space science, Earth science, and technological change. He most recently received the 2009 NASA History award for “path breaking contributions to space history ranging from aeronautics to Earth and space sciences,” and the 2009 AIAA History Manuscript Award for his fourth book, “Atmospheric Science at NASA: A History.”

In 2010, Conway co-authored the book “Merchants of Doubt” with Oreskes. Merchants of Doubt identified some parallels between the climate change debate and earlier public controversies.
Hear the authors’ talk about this book and their companion book “Merchants of Doubt: “How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”.

Merchants of Doubt (2)


About Mike Neuman

Environmentalist; Father; Senior Citizen; Husband, School Crossing Guard; Green Bay Packer Fan; Wisconsin Badger Fan; Animal Lover; Humanitarian

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