One species has developed the ability to determine its own future.

From initially hunting and gathering food and creating shelter, until recently ‘man’ has worked alongside nature, being a participant of its natural cycles and systems and utilizing its abundance. Progression to food cultivation and production, lead to the establishment of elaborate hierarchical social systems which in turn enabled the acceleration of invention and technology. Throughout time man has become increasingly efficient at reaping more from the earth. Processes of extraction, harvesting, and general utilisation of the Earth’s natural resources escalated some 200 years ago with the industrial revolution. Food abundance created a swelling in population, this production and consumption also led to large-scale demands for material possessions.

The mechanisms used in plundering nature’s resources and obtaining these possessions has seen a separation from the natural order of Earth’s processes. In the on-going quest for higher living standards we have been unaware of the need to develop and progress sustainably within nature’s natural laws. Humans have tried to elevate lifestyle while seeing pollution, over harvesting and environmental damage as ‘externalities’ (not being directly related to our actions) to living.

This damage reached crisis point in the late 20th century due to billions more people being added to the global population within mere decades, creating a compounding problem.

Our industrious civilization unfortunately also depends on the depletion of fossil fuels, which we are using at 250,000 times their renewal rate.

Virtually every aspect of our modern existence is made from, powered by or affected by fossil fuels. The use of these fuels has meant a further disturbance to Earth’s natural systems, while the dependency on fossil fuels creates a parallel crisis issue, as they could be depleted in as little as 10 years according to ‘peak oil’ theory.

Imbalance of the biosphere’s natural systems is evident in the ozone breakdown, change in climate, excess pollution and contamination, and loss of biodiversity.

We as humans have become accustomed to consuming vastly more energy compared to other animals, or any other species, or component of the biosphere, limiting resources and habitat available to other species. This is even more telling, when we stop to consider for a second, that the biomass of ants for instance is that of the human population.

Humans alone are exceeding the biocapacity of the earth while still continuing to expand in population and unfortunately, unlike nature, the majority of what humans produce becomes waste.

Humans have become a large-scale disturbance, even though we are biotic components. We are slowly destroying many of the natural services the biosphere provides – on which our lives depend.

These services are currently being provided to us at no cost.

Not learning how to harmonize within nature, we have been going it alone, having an attitude of general indifference to other living things and the biosystems.

The quality of the biosphere will reflect more and more, in the quality of human life, in the years to come.