Currently, we are experiencing the "Perfect Storm" trifecta disasters of the meltdown of the housing, stock, and financial markets. All of these bubbles that burst in 2008 were predictable and preventable, yet ignorance and greed allowed them to turn into a global disaster.
In 2050, we will experience "The Great Disaster", which is also predicable and preventable:
1. Global Warming is likely to raise global temperatures by 2-8 degrees fahrenheit, sea levels will rise 1-5 feet, 150 million people (in coastal cities and countries) will become refugees, more severe weather (droughts, flooding, hurricanes).
2. Population increase to 9 billion resulting in more famine, violence, killing, and wars as people try to meet their basic human needs of food, water, and shelter.
3. Petroleum will essentially be gone as the known oil reserves are depleted, resulting in lower food production and higher costs.
4. Water shortages will become commonplace as glaciers in the Himalayas, Rockies, and Andes mountains disappear, resulting in little summer water for farms and cities. Lower rainfalls is resulting in water with higher mineral content reducing crop yields.
In the Great Depression, one-third still lived in relative comfort. In the Great Disaster of 2050, one-third will still be OK, but 6 billion people will not. That would be like everyone alive today living in daily fear of violence, starvation, and disease. It would be like the quality of life was reduced by 10 to 90% for every plant and animal on this planet. Australia is already experiencing severe flooding and mosquito diseases in the north; with severe droughts and wildfires in the south.
After 40 years of warning, Global Warming is starting to be addressed, but without dramatic changes, much of the harmful consequences will not be avoided. Cheap oil and coal will encourage faster depletion and will accelerate global warming. Population growth is the looming disaster which we can immediately address, yet without religious support, we will continue to ignore and even encourage the population bubble. The problem is that all four of these disasters are growing gradually and people don't see gradual changes. The problem is that people will get use to a gradual decrease in their quality of life, as humans are probably better at adapting to adverse conditions than they are at using their reason to prevent disasters.