|Civilization's foundation is its source and abundance of energy.|
|To those who say solar power is still too expensive, if you shop around you can build a system that will pay for itself in ten years. If you include inflation, rising energy costs, tax benefits, equity in the form of an improved environment, having a kick ass looking roof, and being a geek that chicks actually dig, all while building some major karma makes complete repayment of personal or commercial solar energy much faster.
I am going to meander a bit but bear with me.
Almost every collapse of civilization amounts a system that grew beyond the equilibrium of its relationship to its energy source. The most notable example I can think of at the moment is Rome. In the case of Rome, they built a complex system that allowed for a large hedonistic upper and middle class, and a large military. The military fueled the system by enslaving the "barbarians" and to capture land in which those in the military would be paid. Now consider the parallel.
Roughly "Hedonistic upper and middle class"="average american/european/any 1st worlder"
Rome had the largest military of the time; we have the largest military ever. "Enslaved barbarians"=Chinese, Mexicans other "developing nations" Conquered land of the Romans meant retirement fund and more land to grow crops=modern conquered land is oil fields and satellite yet subjugate nations (Ex. new Iraq gov) (means of conquer includes diplomacy, bullying and economic extortion).
In reality, if we do not want to share our fate with Rome we have to bring our system back into equilibrium with its energy supply.
The three main methods for that are:
1. Reduce population by billions (I do not like this option)
2. Reduce the quality of life (don't care for but would tolerate this)
3. Increase the energy supply in a sustainable manor. (I like this option)
Now, if the government, instead of dumping a trillion dollars into a war on terror, which even if it is a legitimate concern, terror as a method of national warfare(opposed to civil war) cannot lead to the collapse of civilization, it never has. It could be directed into the production (as sufficient research to meet our current needs is done) of energy sources that will last as long as the sun and maybe until the stars continue providing fuel.