Will Humanity Survive?
Humanity has always pulled out a win in the fourth quarter. The Big Chill 150,000 years ago nearly knocked us out before we'd really gotten started. The Toba volcano almost finished us 70,000 years ago, but we persisted. We dodged nuclear apocalypse by a hair's-breadth during the Cuban missile crisis. We've been knocked back decades by plagues and pandemics a few times, but we always come back swinging.
It's in our nature to adapt and overcome right?
Human progress will continue into the far future! The GDP will keep rising! We'll figure out climate change by sheer force of our technological optimism . . .
Or we won't.
The future isn't guaranteed us. There is no assurance that human ingenuity will pull our fat out of the fire. The accelerating speed of climate change could knock us off our feet before we get wise to the fact that our three-planet lifestyle is killing us. Zoonotic spillover, exacerbated by our relentless destruction of wild space and the reckless scale of global trade, could wipe us out before we see it coming.
Human life is unique in every way. It is fundamentally precious. It is worth protecting and preserving—however you philosophically derive that value . . .
But it is not special.
Even though we think in stories, humanity does not have plot armor. We don't have a guarantee of survival—just a pretty good track record and a gambler's intuition that past predicts future.But it doesn't.If we want a fighting chance, we have to make it. We have to tear down the oil refineries and replant the cities ourselves. We have to form our assemblies and start governing ourselves. We have to create networks of exchange outside of capitalism ourselves.
And we have to do it soon.