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Old 06-06-2016, 03:04 PM   #31
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
This was actually the sort of thing I was hoping for more info on when I wrote the OP. What sorts of things could tip it off, and how such a catastrophe would, for instance, kill of the north american wheat fields.
Well, by some models we're heading for a tipping-point catastrophe IRL. There's a lot involved, but higher temperatures lead to more water vapor and methane being released, both of which are generally more powerful greenhouse gases than CO2, leading to ecological strain, Etc. Etc. Etc. Also, once the oceans absorb enough CO2 and acidify a lot of marine life will no longer be able to make shells, coral goes extinct, the plankton will have a die-off, other annoyances including shutting down some drivers of ocean currents, world fisheries collapse, etc., etc., etc.

There's a lot of etc., etc., etc. in all of this. But I'm not making it up- this is some of the stuff that climate scientists worry about. Wikipediate hothouse Earth, the Azolla event (which is the exact opposite of what I described above) and, hell, anything on the hockey stick model. If you want dire models they are there to be had. Just go with the worst predictions you can find- I'm sure there are some terrifying ones out there.

You could combine a few motifs. The above causes strain on the world's (green revolution) agriculture and attempts are made to genetically engineer a way out of it, which results in some sort of accidental viral blight, and so on.

But there is all sorts of stuff on Wikipedia. Start here and follow links as whim strikes you.

Last edited by acrosome; 06-06-2016 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:55 PM   #32
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

Yep. This was the year a third of the Great Barrier Reef died.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:14 AM   #33
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Default Re: [ATE/IW] Ecological Collapse

One thing to keep in mind is that all historical collapses have been regional and temporary. If one part of the world is in trouble, some other part of the world is flourishing. Fiction often approaches the issue of collapse as if they are global and permanent. From the standpoint of an RPG, it's perfectly ok to have a temporary regional collapse. Thus, playing out the lives of PCs caught in North America during and after the Yellowstone Caldera blows can be exciting, even if tea time is uninterrupted in the UK.
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