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A friend commented on the above as a warning.
Well, I do believe we need not to treat the world like an infinite resource, or to assume we can't push things past the tippng point, but the good news is, the Permian extinction event was both unusually catastrophic and very fast as these things goes... it took only about 60,000 years, or, roughly 12x as long as recorded human history. And whatever happened, it was very bad — the trilobites had ruled the world for nearly twice as long as the dinosaurs would when, in a geologic blink of an eye, they, along with 96% of the other plant and animal species living at the time, vanished forever. But despite it, 250 million years later, here we are, in full flower, and the earth is bountiful.
And to whatever is ruling the Earth in 250 million years? We're trilobites, regardless of anything we do now. We're the ancient, primitive life forms, barely aware of our environment. And that's the assuming worst-case scenario, that the slate gets wiped clean, everything starts over from scratch, within the next twelve-times-the-length-of-recorded-huma
So, I definitely don't think we should just let it all go to hell, and I'm sure there are people out there who'd let us be wiped out in a couple of generations for their own immediate gain, which is a terrible idea. But at the same time, I'm not *that* worried about it. We're trilobytes, no matter what.