Excerpts from Introduction to Third Phase Transition: Solving The Anthropocene Crisis
On what is at stake
“All scientific evidence today points towards the conclusion that we have come full spiral. Linear metabolism is causing havoc. It is threatening to deplete not only natural resilience and resources, but also the social cohesion of humanity as a self-associating species. It is risking society’s relapse into disintegrating barbaric forms. This, in turn, would mean incapacitating us in front of the sixth mass extinction, becoming its helpless victim and executioner at one and the same time.”
“Much like pre-adaptation could occur within natural evolution as random by-products (genetic drift), accompanying genetic changes immediately and actively selected for due to evolutionary advantage, only to occasionally gain a selective meaning at a later stage, humans had not been destined to take the critical position in natural history, presently produced by socio-natural co-evolution. But obviously it happened.
The result might prove a fundamental evolutionary shift – in that case probably the first global mass extinction caused by life itself, since proliferation of photosynthesis had led to mass extinction of simple anaerobic organisms, two and a half billion years ago (‘Oxygen Catastrophe’). Or, in a more conservative vein, it might prove a continuation of the 66 million years old Cenozoic era, through an Anthropocene epoch. It is definitely the first time at this planet, that a living species is presented with a real choice of such magnitude (cyanobacteria did not consider their oxy-poisonous impact, in the shallow oceans of the young Earth). If the former alternative should materialise, it would also mean the first time of missing out in this respect. Such occasions might be cosmologically rare, if not outright unique.”