Economics is the study of humanity’s material well-being, but humans have rarely thought past their immediate economic self-interest, even when the long-term prospects were obviously suicidal, such as today’s global energy paradigm. Because environmental issues affect humanity’s material well-being, they are economic in nature. As can be seen so far in this essay, there was little awareness or seeming caring in early civilizations whether they were destroying the very foundations of their civilizations. Even if they did not care how much other life forms suffered, they did not seem to realize that it also meant that those oppressed and exterminated organisms and wrecked environments would not provide much benefit to humanity in the future, especially energy, whether it was food or wood.
A mystic might say that the ultimate human nature, as well as the nature of everything in the known universe, is , and humans, as well as all life, are here to discover that divinity, which is deep within all of us. Human “nature” and our “sentience” are probably keys for determining our immediate and long-term future. Dynamics of our past can draw inferences that we are heading toward the Sixth Mass Extinction that may take us with it. Other trends provide reason to believe that humanity will finally become a truly sentient species that experiences its and will not only heal as much of its damage inflicted on Earth and itself as it can, but a future that a Disney movie could not begin to portray may await humanity. But unflinchingly facing our past and present, and laying aside the myths and , will greatly increase the probability that such a future can be attained.
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