Civilization as we know it is all about an advanced state of culture, government, science and industry – the opposite of a savage, unrefined or uneducated condition. It is presumed to include a plethora of modern comforts and conveniences made possible by science and technology. After a week of backpacking in the wilderness, or a few hours without an Internet connection, most of us welcome a return to civilization.
Pundits of diverse persuasion have used the potential end of CAWKI as a call to action. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said the end would come if the GOP took control of the Senate, but she was wrong (at least so far). A NASA study predicts the culprit will be a combination of resource depletion and unequal wealth allocation, and while that makes sense, it’s also a bit too early to confirm this as well. Science writer Mark Gibbs suggests it may end with a cough, which in this era of superbugs doesn’t sound too far-fetched. There is an endless supply of such threats to worry about, but before we can properly focus our anxiety, it helps to consider how we got to this point.