'Earth 2100': Could This Be the Final Century of Our Civilization?

To change our future, we must first imagine it.

ByABC News
May 26, 2009, 12:25 PM

May 29, 2009— -- Imagine a world in which cities are abandoned and our population has dropped by 90 percent. A world in which we have wreaked havoc on our delicate ecosystems and nature has begun to reclaim Earth. Once-bustling cities have fallen silent except for the rustle of the wind through the grass and trees that have cracked through the collapsing pavement. Humans have not walked these urban streets for years.

Does it seem like the stuff of science fiction? According to the world's top scientists, it could very well be the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren. They say we are at a turning point, that the choices we make today will determine if the human race, as we know it, will survive.

Watch "Earth 2100," a two-hour television event, Tuesday, June 2, at 9 p.m. ET.

Imagine our future as two doors. Door No. 1 is our current path, or as the scientists put it, business as usual. If we continue on this trajectory, experts say, over the next 100 years the "perfect storm" of population growth, resource depletion and climate change will converge with catastrophic results. In this scenario the combination of war, famine and disease has the potential to decimate the world in less than a hundred years.

"Earth 2100" takes viewers through door No.1, with the help of a fictional character, Lucy. Born in the year 2009, Lucy guides us through the next century as it may well unfold, if we don't take drastic measures. With the assistance of some of the world's foremost scientific experts, she gives us a detailed decade-by-decade countdown to the collapse of society.

But it does not have to be. "Earth 2100" will conclude by traveling through door No. 2. The clock resets to 2009, and using the same chronology and the same scientists, we leave the viewer with the inspiring story of an alternate future. The experts tell us what actions we must take to survive and describe the world we can create. In this version, Earth in 2100 will be one we would be proud to imagine.