These are the most frequently recommended books, podcast, and documentaries related to collapse. We’ve compiled these items with community input from our Common Question Series on r/collapse, through past threads, and through direct surveys of ufologists.

These lists are not inclusive of every recommendation, only the most frequent suggestions.  Some of these posts may be of interest to those looking for additional recommendations.


Collapse: The Only Realistic Scenario

By Arthur Keller (2019)

Arthur Keller is a French speaker on topics related to energy, climate and ecological transition. This is the introduction to [NEXT], a web documentary series about our near future and the risks of collapse of our civilization. In this video, Keller gives a powerful overview of the popular paradigms related to our collective future and the underlying dynamics of energy and sustainability.

How to Enjoy the End of the World

By Sid Smith (2019)

Dr. Smith is a professor of Mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College. In this presentation he gives an overview of the problems facing civilization today.

Nothing lives that doesn’t also die, an outcome guaranteed by the fundamental laws of nature that govern both energy and complexity. Civilizations, including our own, are no exception. As our strategy for energy capture fails and the sink costs of our furious growth catch up to us, we can reckon from first principles that we are already sliding down the backside of the entropy loop. Very soon, the present economic and social order will permanently fail.


But this is good news. We know from climate science that continuing our present course ensures the planet will be uninhabitable, maybe as soon as mid-century, certainly by century’s end. And we know from recent history and the already unfolding crisis that this civilization is not capable of turning from that omnicidal course. Consequently, the time has come to embrace the collapse of industrial capitalism, indeed to celebrate it, and to turn with anticipation of a better life to the building of a post-industrial world. Our return to a level of energy consumption comparable to that of the 18th century will be a shock with grievous side effects, but it can also—if we choose—mean a return to community, to culture, to popular sovereignty, and to a livable pace of life with hope for the future of mankind.

It’s time to enjoy the end of the world.
Presentation description when it was held

Arithmetic, Population, And Energy

By Albert Bartlett (2002)

The late professor Barlett is said to have given this celebrated lecture no less than seventeen hundred times to audiences world-wide. He first gave the talk in September, 1969, and subsequently has presented it an average of once every 8.5 days for 36 years. His talk is based on his paper, “Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis,” originally published in the American Journal of Physics, and revised in the Journal of Geological Education.

Bartlett begins by telling his class he hopes to convince them that “the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” He gives a basic introduction to the arithmetic of steady growth and consequences of steady growth in a finite environment. He proceeds to examine many of the oddly reassuring statements from experts, the media, and political leaders which remain dramatically inconsistent with the limits of growth.

Why Societies Collapse — And What it Means for Us

By Joseph A. Tainter (2010)

Tainter is best known for his book The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988). In this lecture he explains the relationship between historical societies and complexity, collapse, productivity, sustainability, and innovation, largely focusing on the Roman Empire. Tainter argues societies can become too complex to effectively solve problems or meets the costs of such complexity, leading to some hard questions we must ask ourselves regarding our present day society. The audio quality is somewhat lacking, but it serves as a great summary of his book and influential perspectives on collapse.

Lecture Notes by BrewBrewBrewTheDeck

Unfixable: Welcome to the New Abnormal

By Chris Martenson (2011)

Martenson is best known for his video series Crash Course and book of the same name. In this lecture he presents a condensed version of the material and explains why he thinks the coming twenty years are going to look completely unlike the previous two decades. He focuses on the economy, energy and environment and explores their interconnectedness He explains how our economy is dependent on exponential growth and how quickly things will speed up as we approach the end of the curve. His lecture is not as detailed as his book or polished as his video series, but gives a personalized and condensed presentation of his core ideas.

Energy, Money and Technology – From the Lens of the Superorganism

By Nate Hagens (2018)

Hagens is best known for his ‘big picture’ talks and deep understanding of the economy, energy, ecology, and human behavior. He discusses how our lives will be influenced by the coming era of harder to extract and more costly fossil fuels when combined with cleaner but more stochastic energy types. Hagens said regarding the talk he “finally condensed the relevant aspects of what we face into less than an hour, but had to speak pretty fast to do it. If you haven’t watched one of my talks for a while this would be the best one to watch.”

Lecture Slides

Revealing the Naked Emperor – Paris, 2° & Carbon Budgets

By Kevin Anderson (2018)

Anderson is professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester.He also has a decade’s industrial experience and is director of Greenstone Carbon Management – a London-based company providing emission-related advice to private and public sector organizations. Anderson’s work on carbon budgets has been pivotal in revealing the widening gulf between political rhetoric on climate change and the reality of rapidly escalating emissions. His work emphasizes increasing infeasibility of keeping global mean surface temperature below 2°C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Anderson shows how the Paris agreements reflect our misplaced belief in technological solutions and fundamental misunderstanding of climate change. He suggests deep and rapid changes in our behaviors and practices are necessary if we wish to actually meet our goals.

By Daniel Schmachtenberger (2023)

Daniel Schmachtenberger is founding member of The Consilience Project. He has been actively involved in various projects and organizations dedicated to addressing global challenges and existential risks. His work has focused on developing strategies to mitigate these challenges and advocating for profound changes in our behaviors and practices to secure a better future.

In this interview, Schmachtenberger reflects on the concept of the “metacrisis,” a broader term encompassing various global crises beyond just climate or social justice issues, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive perspective. This was recorded live during Stockholm Impact/Week 2023.


How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for our Times

By Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens (2015)

What if our civilization were to collapse? Not many centuries into the future, but in our own lifetimes? Most people recognize that we face huge challenges today, from climate change and its potentially catastrophic consequences to a plethora of socio-political problems, but we find it hard to face up to the very real possibility that these crises could produce a collapse of our entire civilization. Yet we now have a great deal of evidence to suggest that we are up against growing systemic instabilities that pose a serious threat to the capacity of human populations to maintain themselves in a sustainable environment.

In this book, Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens confront these issues head-on. They examine the scientific evidence and show how its findings, often presented in a detached and abstract way, are connected to people’s ordinary experiences – joining the dots, as it were, between the Anthropocene and our everyday lives. In so doing they provide a valuable guide that will help everyone make sense of the new and potentially catastrophic situation in which we now find ourselves. Today, utopia has changed sides: it is the utopians who believe that everything can continue as before, while realists put their energy into making a transition and building local resilience. Collapse is the horizon of our generation. But collapse is not the end – it’s the beginning of our future. We will reinvent new ways of living in the world and being attentive to ourselves, to other human beings and to all our fellow creatures.

Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change

By William R. Catton Jr. (1980)

Catton was a sociologist best known for his work in environmental sociology and human ecology. His book formulated perspectives many years ahead of its time and continues to be a source of insight into the ecological basis underpinning human society. He observed our lives have been built around an obsolete cultural belief system, a “cornucopian myth,” or “myth of limitlessness” as he called it, which developed when the size of human civilization had not yet outgrown the carrying capacity of Earth. Catton observed a lag between this reality and the dominant worldview which has affected our rate of consumption and growth:

“This book is meant to overcome our habit of mistaking techniques that evade limits for techniques that raise them, it is, in a sense, a book about how to read the news perceptively in revolutionary times. That cannot be done without certain unfamiliar but increasingly indispensable concepts. “Carrying capacity” is one of them. Until recently, only a few people outside such occupations ·as wildlife management or sheep and cattle ranching have even known this phrase. Its vital importance to all of us has not been as obvious as it is now becoming. The time has come for scholars and everyone else to take a piercing look at the relationship between the earth’s changing capacity to support human inhabitants and the changing load imposed by our numbers and our requirements. The direction of recent change makes this relationship just about the most important topic there is for people to know about, and think about. We have come to the end of the time when it didn’t seem to matter that almost no one saw the difference between ways of enlarging human carrying capacity and ways of exceeding it.”

Catton explained how the inhabitants of modern civilization (homo colossus, he calls us, due to our prodigious use of energy and prosthetic amplification devices) are living more and more luxuriously, but more dependently on limited resources and energy we have unearthed from the geological past. The result, he says, is a mortgaging of our and our descendants’ future.

“Today mankind is locked into stealing ravenously from the future [by way of] diachronic competition, a relationship whereby contemporary well-being is achieved at the expense of our descendants. By our sheer numbers, by the state of our technological development, and by being oblivious to differences between a method that achieved lasting increments of human carrying capacity [agriculture] and one that achieves only temporary supplements [reliance on fossil fuels and other mined substances], we have made satisfaction of today’s human aspirations dependent upon massive deprivation for posterity.”

Many of Catton’s observations were fairly prescient. Because of humankind’s lack of understanding and wisdom, he saw likeness of collapse as our current exuberant interlude comes to a close. We may claim innocence by reason of ignorance, but Catton reminded us, nature does not care about our ignorance.

“History will record the period of global dominance by Homo colossus as a brief interlude. Our most urgent task is to develop policies designed not to prolong that dominance, but to ensure that the successor to Homo colossus will be, after all, Homo sapiens. Developing such policies must be so enormously difficult that it is not easy even to accept the urgency of the task. But the longer we delay beginning, the more numerous and colossal we become – thereby trapping ourselves all the more irredeemably in the fatal practice of stealing from our future.”


William Catton Interview (2015)

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

By Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, and Jørgen Randers (2004)

The Limits to Growth (LTG) started in 1972 as a report funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, commissioned by the international think tank Club of Rome. Using system dynamics theory and a computer model called “World3,” the book proposed twelve potential futures and environmental outcomes of the world over two centuries from 1972 to 2100.

The scenarios showed how population growth and natural resource use interacted to impose limits to industrial growth, a novel and even controversial idea at the time. In 1972, however, the world’s population and economy were still comfortably within the planet’s carrying capacity. The authors found there was still room to grow safely while humanity considered its options.

Since its original publication, over thirty million copies of the book have been sold in thirty different languages. It has continued to generate debate and been the subject of several subsequent publications. Beyond the Limits (1993)  was published as a 20-year update by the original authors. The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update (2004) followed it a decade later. Most recently, Jørgen Randers authored his own forty-year update, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years (2012). Jorgen issues his own retrospective on the book in an article for GAIA, a journal for scientists:

“…the main scientific conclusion of the [original] study was that delays in global decision making would cause the human economy to overshoot planetary limits before the growth in the human ecological footprint slowed. Once in unsustainable territory, human society would be forced to reduce its rate of resource use and its rate of emissions.

This contraction could only happen in two ways: either through “managed decline” organized by humanity, or through “collapse” induced by nature or the market. The only thing that could not happen was for world society to remain forever in unsustainable territory, using more of nature every year than nature produces during that year. “

Jorgen reflected further regarding the initial report’s conclusions:

“LTG appeared at a time when human belief in the power of technology was at an all-time high. There seemed to be no challenge that could not be overcome through application of human ingenuity and effort in the form of economic growth based on continuing technological advance. In this perspective, its main message was unbelievable and unacceptable, since it could be paraphrased as follows: global politics in the first third of the 21st century will be dominated by global resource and pollution constraints. LTG warned that in the 2010 to 2030 period some resources would become scarce or expensive while environmental damage would become increasingly visible. And importantly, all of this in spite of continuing technological advance. LTG warned that resource and pollution problems would occur because the world is physically finite and actually quite small compared to the human footprint in the 21st century. The problems would start regionally, and gradually embrace the world unless corrective action was taken immediately. Man was no longer omnipotent.”


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

By Jared Diamond (2005)

Diamond’s previous books include The Third Chimpanzee (1991), The World Until Yesterday (2012), and Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

In Collapse (2005) Diamond explores how climate change, overpopulation, and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), Diamond traces the fundamental patterns of past catastrophes, weaving through a series of historical-cultural narratives. He looks at the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland.

Diamond identifies five factors which contribute to collapse: climate change, hostile neighbors, collapse of essential trading partners, environmental problems, and the society’s response to the forgoing four factors. The root problem in all but one of Diamond’s factors leading to collapse is overpopulation relative to the practicable (as opposed to the ideal theoretical) carrying capacity of the environment. One environmental problem not related to overpopulation is the harmful effect of accidental or intentional introduction of non-native species to a region. Diamond summarizes his methodology for the book as such:

“[This book] employs the comparative method to understand societal collapses to which environmental problems contribute. My previous book (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies), had applied the comparative method to the opposite problem: the differing rates of buildup of human societies on different continents over the last 13,000 years. In the present book focusing on collapses rather than buildups, I compare many past and present societies that differed with respect to environmental fragility, relations with neighbors, political institutions, and other “input” variables postulated to influence a society’s stability. The “output” variables that I examine are collapse or survival, and form of the collapse if collapse does occur. By relating output variables to input variables, I aim to tease out the influence of possible input variables on collapses.”


New York Times Review

The Collapse of Complex Societies

By Joseph A. Tainter (1988)

Tainter’s book examines the collapse ancient civilizations in terms of network theory, energy economics, and complexity theory. Tainter argues that sustainability or collapse of societies follow from the success or failure of problem-solving institutions and that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their “energy subsidies” reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. He recognizes collapse when a society involuntarily sheds a significant portion of its complexity.

Tainter proposes societies become more complex as they try to solve problems. Social complexity can be recognized by numerous differentiated and specialized social and economic roles and many mechanisms through which they are coordinated, and by reliance on symbolic and abstract communication, and the existence of a class of information producers and analysts who are not involved in primary resource production. Such complexity requires a substantial “energy” subsidy (meaning the consumption of resources, or other forms of wealth). When a society confronts a “problem,” such as a shortage of energy, or difficulty in gaining access to it, it tends to create new layers of bureaucracy, infrastructure, or social class to address the challenge. Tainter, who first identifies seventeen examples of rapid collapse of societies, applies his model to three case studies: The Western Roman Empire, the Maya civilization, and the Chaco culture.

Tainter begins by categorizing and examining the often inconsistent explanations that have been offered for collapse in the literature. In his view, while invasions, crop failures, disease or environmental degradation may be the apparent causes of societal collapse, the ultimate cause is an economic one, inherent in the structure of society rather than in external shocks which may batter them: diminishing returns on investments in social complexity. Finally, Tainter show that marginal returns on investments in energy (EROEI), education, and technological innovation are diminishing today. The globalized modern world is subject to many of the same stresses that brought older societies to ruin.


Tainter’s Law: Where is the Physics? By Ugo Bardi (2011)

The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment

By Chris Martenson (2011)

Martenson is best known for his video series Crash Course and website His book delves deeper into the concepts presented there and why he thinks the coming twenty years will look completely unlike the previous two decades. He focuses on the economy, energy and environment (the ‘three E’s’ as he calls them) and their fundamental interconnectedness. He shows how our economy is dependent on exponential growth and how quickly things will speed up as we approach the end of various curves.

Despite the perceived drops in global living standards, Martenson offers a positive vision for how people can reshape their lives to become more balanced, resilient, and sustainable. His skills as a teacher make his work widely accessible and available in many forms.

“The world is in economic crisis, and there are no easy fixes to our predicament. Unsustainable trends in the economy, energy, and the environment have finally caught up with us and are converging on a very narrow window of time—the “Twenty-Teens.” The Crash Course presents our predicament and illuminates the path ahead, so you can face the coming disruptions and thrive–without fearing the future or retreating into denial. In this book you will find solid facts and grounded reasoning presented in a calm, positive, non-partisan manner.”


Accelerated Crash Course

Unfixable by Chris Martenson (2011)

The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age

By John Michael Greer (2008)

Greer has written extensively on matters of ecology, spirituality, sustainability, and future of industrial society. He is the author of many titles relating to collapse, The Ecotechnic Future (2009), The Wealth of Nature (2011), After Progress (2015), and Dark Age America: Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, the Hard Future Ahead (2016), and Not the Future We Ordered: Peak Oil, Psychology, and the Myth of Progress (2018).

The Long Descent is Greer’s best known work and an extension of his previous, online essays and perspectives on peak oil. Greer does not expect collapse to occur suddenly or abruptly, but proposes it will follow a ‘catabolic’ process of progressive disintegration, possibly over centuries. In his scenario, short periods of abrupt and sharp downturns- the beginning of which we are experiencing now- punctuate longer periods of relative stability. Like an organism that begins feeding on itself, society will collapse in a series of stepped-down stages as it becomes progressively unable to meet maintenance charges with income.

Greer notes Americans are expressing deep concern about US dependence on petroleum, rising energy prices and the threat of climate change. Unlike the energy crisis of the 1970s, however, there is a lurking fear the crisis may not easily be resolved. His book examines the basis of such fear through three central themes:

  • Industrial society is following the same well-worn path that has led other civilizations into decline, a path involving a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by so many social critics today.
  • The roots of the crisis lie in the cultural stories that shape the way we understand the world. Since problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them, these ways of thinking need to be replaced with others better suited to the needs of our time.
  • It is too late for massive programs for top-down change; the change must come from individuals.

“Candidates for public office, and the voters who elect them, should be required to read John Michael Greer’s accurate diagnosis of the terminal illness our fossil-energy subsidized industrial civilization has too long denied. He shows how stubborn belief in perpetual progress blinded us to the abyss toward which we were speeding and thus impeded wise preparation for our unavoidable descent into a deindustrial age. We must hope that the array of mitigating tools he prescribes may yet render that descent down the back side of Hubbert’s peak less devastating than it will be if we insistently claim a right to be prodigal in using this finite Earth.”

William R. Catton, Jr.

Additional Reading

For a more book recommendations, visit our Collapse Book Club Reading List, books read by the Collapse Book Club or the Collapse Goodreads group bookshelf. You can also find a collaborative list of ranked non-fiction books or fiction books on Goodreads.


The Great Simplification

Hosted by Nate Hagens / Started in 2022

Nate explores the systems science underpinning the human predicament. Conversation topics span from human behavior, monetary/economic systems, energy, ecology, geopolitics and the environment.  His goal is to inform more humans about the path ahead and inspire people to play a role in our collective future. Guests are from a wide range of scientists, leaders, activists, thinkers, and doers.

Breaking Down: Collapse

Hosted by Kory & Kellan / Started in 2020 / On hiatus since 2023 (see Building Up:Resilience)

Apprehensive about the future? Like many, you likely have a gut feeling that things aren’t quite right, but haven’t been able to place your finger on why. That feeling only grows with the increasing political tensions, economic uncertainty, natural disasters, and supply chain disruptions. What do all these challenges mean? And what will be the result of society’s current trajectory? “Breaking Down: Collapse” takes the complex concepts surrounding the ultimate collapse of modern industrial society and simplifies them so they’re easier to learn. The compelling evidence for our inevitable decline is introduced by collapse-aware Kory to his good friend, Kellan, who probably doesn’t realize what he signed up for! Skeptical? Gear up for a paradigm shift!

Building Up: Resilience

Hosted by Kory & Kellan / Started in 2023

The co-hosts of the successful podcast “Breaking Down: Collapse” now introduce you to their newest series: “Building Up: Resilience”.

As the problems facing society continue to intensify, you may find yourself asking, “What can I do to prepare myself and my family for the growing challenges we face?”

You’re not alone! In this podcast, Kory and Kellan take a methodical approach to learning about individual and community resilience. Their step-by-step framework can help you build and carry out a plan that fits your unique situation.

Your pathway to resilience starts here! Join Kory and Kellan as they introduce a practical and well-rounded approach to preparedness.

It Could Happen Here

Hosted by Robert Evans / Started in 2019

A jaunty walk through the burning ruins of the old world, the one we all live in now, and a guide to avoiding the worst pitfalls along the road to a better world. It Could Happen Here season 1 ended with the possibility of a second civil war. It Could Happen Here Daily with Robert Evans, accepts collapse as a given, and tries to provide a roadmap to survival.

Planet: Critical

Hosted by Rachel Donald / Started in 2020

Planet: Critical provides a systems perspective on the climate crisis, mapping the energy, economic and political crises. Each episode is a critical interview with the world’s best scientists, economists, academics, activists, politicians and journalists battling to save our planet.


Hosted by Michael B. Dowd / Started in 2021

A foreboding sense of climate chaos, societal breakdown, and economic and ecological “doom” is now widespread. Acknowledging our predicament and working through the stages of grief takes one only to the midpoint: acceptance. What lies beyond? Michael Dowd (with occasional co-hosts) invites guests to share their personal journeys along this trajectory and especially the gifts they have found on the other side of the post-doom doorway.

Radio Ecoshock

Hosted by Alex Smith / Started in 2006

Radio Ecoshock is broadcast to over 90 college, community and commercial radio stations on three continents. The show is provided for free, contains no advertising, and is entirely funded by Smith. Smith is a long-time environmental activist, world-traveler, and former reporter. The show features interviews with scientists, authors, and activists from around the world. The focus of the show is largely climate change and “to help create a better environment, safe for all coming generations.” It also covers related issues, such as the fossil fuel supply system, peak oil, and the economics of energy.  

The Poetry of Predicament

Hosted by Dean Walker / Started in 2017

Dean’s work is focused on offering transformative support and resources to people bravely facing human-caused collapse of earth and human systems. His podcast focuses on exploring collapse, strategies for reconnection, and reclaiming our agency in predicament-laden times.

Peak Prosperity

Hosted by Chris Martenson / Started in 2011

Peak Prosperity (formerly called Featured Voices) is focused on economic events, environmental issues, and building an understanding for effective solutions.. Martenson is an economic researcher and best known as co-founder of and his Crash Course book and series, which attempts to teach the nature of energy, envioronment, and economy as we approach various limits to growth. The show features perspectives on current events by Martenson and interviews with many prominent scientists, economists, and politicians.

Ashes Ashes

Hosted by Daniel Forkner & David Torcivia / Started in 2017 / On hiatus since 2020

Ashes Ashes tells tales of systems out of control, environmental collapse, and ultimately a broken world. Each episode is free of ads, meticulously researched, and explores a specific systemic issue society is currently facing or will have to face in the coming decades. The show aims to draw the listener to the conclusion our overarching economic and political systems are inherently flawed, but once the fact is accepted, it is easier to do something about it.

Resistance Radio

Hosted by Derrick Jensen / Started in 2013 / On hiatus since 2021

Resistance Radio features interviews with a broad spectrum of activists and focuses on building a culture of resistance and defending the natural world. Jensen is an outspoken opponent of civilization and author of several books, including The Culture of Make Believe (2002), and Endgame (2006).

The Power Hungry Podcast

Hosted by Robert Bryce / Started in 2020

The Power Hungry podcast spotlights energy, power, innovation, and politics. Author and journalist Robert Bryce talks with top thinkers, writers, and influencers.

The Poor Prole’s Almanac

Hosted by PPA team / Started in 2020

Climate Change got you down? Worried about the fact that *everything* seems to be getting worse? Wondering how we got to this point in the first place, and what can we do to build a more resilient future? We take a look at historical pastoral & agricultural societies to see what worked and what didn’t, as well as what resources we have today to make better decisions to build equitable systems. We don’t just discuss ecology and history but also take a leftist perspective on prepping, foraging, homesteading, weapons, community-building, and basically anything that needs discussing during late-stage capitalism.

Tipping Point

Hosted by Katy Shields / 3 part series in 2023

This podcast, is about the true story behind the groundbreaking 1972 study “The Limits to Growth”, and why the world ignored its message. Based on the late author’s unpublished memoirs and featuring rare original audio recordings, this podcast accompanies Dana and Dennis Meadows and their team of scientists on their mission to tell the world about coming ecological crises and their solutions.

Emerge: Making Sense of What’s Next

Hosted by Daniel Thorson / Started in 2018

We’re living in a moment of culture chaos; celebrities, companies and politicians battle for our attention, societies are fragmenting, long-held political and social norms are upending, and all the while a privileged few reap ungodly benefits. As this battle rages, a new story of what it means to be human is quietly taking shape. How do we survive and thrive? How do we guard ourselves against a life of meaninglessness and quiet desperation? What is your role and responsibility in this turning of the ages?


The Great Simplification (2022)

Nate Hagens’ short-form documentary describes the backdrop for The Great Simplification – an economic/cultural transition beginning in the not-too-distant future. It describes, how our species got to this point, the role of energy in our economies, and how global human society is (currently) akin to a metabolic heat engine. It follows with how we look at the future through different lenses, but when wearing a ‘systems’ lens, it becomes clear that a Great Simplification is soon approaching.

There’s No Tomorrow (2012)

There’s No Tomorrow is an animated film dealing with resource depletion, energy, growth and collapse created by animator Dermont O’ Connor. Inspired by the pro-capitalist cartoons of the 1940s and 50s, it is an introduction to the energy dilemmas facing the world today.

“The issues of energy shortages, resource depletion, topsoil loss, and pollution are all symptoms of a single, larger problem: Growth.

As long as our financial system demands endless growth, reform is unlikely to succeed. What then, will the future look like? Optimists believe that growth will continue forever, without limits. Pessimists think that we’re heading towards a new Stone Age, or extinction. The truth may lie between these extremes. It is possible that society might fall back to a simpler state, one in which energy use is a lot less. This would mean a harder life for most. More manual labor, more farm work, and local production of goods, food and services.“

Connor noted most people misinterpreted the film, which was not about peak oil or energy per se, but an attack on exponential economic growth. Connor also stated he would not make the film again if he knew how long it would take, and in the intervening years it became clear “people are deeply set in their opinions, and most of the writing/commentary/movies that are made simply reinforce existing beliefs, rather than change them … It would have been wiser to create a cartoon about crime-fighting squirrels with super-powers.”  

Collapse (2009)

Collapse explores the theories, writings, and life of Michael Ruppert. Ruppert, a former Los Angeles police officer who describes himself as an investigative reporter and radical thinker, authored Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil (2004), A Presidential Energy Policy: Twenty-Five Points Addressing the Siamese Twins of Energy and Money (2009), and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World (2009).

Ruppert is best known for predicting the 2008 financial crisis in his self-published newsletter, From the Wilderness and public confrontation with C.I.A. director John Deutch where he reveals his experiences observing the C.I.A.’s involvement in the drug trafficking. Deutch stepped down as director only one month later.

Ruppert recounts his life and career as an LADP cop and detective in the film, then summarizes our current energy and economic issues, focusing mainly on peak oil and sustainable development. He criticizes fiat money, fractional reserve banking, compound interest, and leveraging, and discusses alleged CIA drug trafficking Ruppert also makes an array of predictions including social unrest, violence, population dislocation and governmental collapses in the United States and throughout the world.

Critics have described the film as supportive and as critical of Ruppert’s views. Smith himself, speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere, said that “What I hoped to reveal was … his obsession with the collapse of industrial civilization has led to the collapse of his life. In the end, it is a character study about his obsession.”  

Accelerated Crash Course (2014)

The Accelerated Crash Course (ACC) is a condensed version of Chris Martenson’s four hour long video series, Crash Course. The film attempts to provide a context for many of the massive changes currently underway, primarily the end of economic growth due to depleting resources. Martenson narrates an instructional presentation covering the nature and interconnectedness of the economy, energy, and enviornment, and forcasts the massive upcoming changes he sees as a result.

“We must reach a critical mass of individuals and ensure that they have an understanding of the ideas presented in the Crash Course, before any national or global solutions will even be possible. Because we are still quite far from this tipping point of understanding, we must first focus on educating. Many people have already reached a place of understanding and assumed responsibility for their futures, but most have not. Once we have achieved a critical mass of people who understand the issues and have taken responsible actions as a result, solutions will find more fertile ground in which to take root.”  

Final Warning Limits to Growth (2015)

“Final Warning: Limits to Growth” is a thought-provoking exploration of resource depletion, growth, and global crises. This documentary delves into the profound challenges our world faces, and revisits the ‘Limits to Growth’ published in 1972.

After its publication in 1972, the Club of Rome’s study, “Limits to Growth,” came to epitomize a historical turning point. The book calls into question the fundamental principle of the American economic ideology of capitalism, with its insatiable pursuit of growth. However, the work did not just pillory contemporary practices. It also warned of the extremely diverse and massive consequences for all of humanity. Although there is scarcely any doubt as to the validity of the study and its 1992 successor, “Beyond the Limits,” governments worldwide have done very little to solve the major problems. Topics such as overpopulation, environmental pollution, depletion of resources, and consumption are now familiar to everyone, but few people are aware of the impact they can have in the context of exponential growth on Earth, and therefore on all of humanity. This documentary sheds light on the effect the work has had on public perceptions in the past four decades.

Living in the Future’s Past (2018)

Jeff Bridges presents this beautifully photographed 4K tour de force of original thinking on who we are and the life challenges we face. This film upends our way of thinking and provides original insights into our subconscious motivations, the unintended consequences, and how our fundamental nature influences our future as mankind.

Humans are only one of a multitude of species on Earth, all who have had to adapt over time to survive changing conditions. The difference between humans and all other species is that humans have learned how to control their environment in conjunction with that adaptation to survive beyond meeting basic needs. Much of that want for greater control and comfort is culturally and societally driven, and can be achieved through over-production of goods beyond a subsistence level. Being able to achieve it comes down to the basic issue of energy. However, this situation has had the unintended consequence of negatively affecting the holistic environment in which humans and all other species on Earth live. While existing species have been able to adapt to survive, this human driven change is unlike anything ever experienced and the speed of change may affect if species are able to adapt without a different path. Most agreeing that the current path is one that most do not want to see for our children and their children and so on, the question then becomes what humans can do individually, societally and globally for that future we want to see for future generations.

Living in the Time of Dying (2020)

Living in The Time of Dying is an unflinching look at what it means to be living in the midst of climate catastrophe and finding purpose and meaning within it.

Their site offers further insight to the documentary.

Recognising the magnitude of the climate crisis we are facing, independent filmmaker Michael Shaw, sells his house to travel around the world looking for answers. Pretty soon we begin to see how deep the predicament goes along with the systems and ways of thinking that brought us here. It becomes clear that climate change is going to ruin our way of life but this then opens up a whole new set of questions: How did we get here? How do we choose to live and what actions make sense at this time? The people interviewed in the documentary, all highly regarded and well known spokespeople on the issue, argue it’s too late to stop catastrophic climate change but in no way too late to regain a renewed life giving relationship with our world.

Once You Know (2020)

Supported by Roots-of-Resilience, Resources such as a guided discussion podcast and hundreds of opportunities to take action on issues of energy, climate, collapse and resilience. Faced with the reality of climate change and the depletion of resources, director Emmanuel Cappellin is aware that a collapse of our industrial civilization is inevitable. But how can we continue to live with the idea that the human adventure may fail? In search of answers, he sets out to meet experts and scientists such as Pablo Servigne, Jean-Marc Jancovici, and Susanne Moser. They all call for collective and united action in order to prepare a transition that is as humane as possible.



L‘Effondrement (2019)

This series explores collapse, following different groups and timelines. It’s a great look at potential outcomes of collapse.