Hopefully you already know who Jared Diamond is, and have read his thoroughly excellent book, Collapse. If you don't, you need to read it and know of his work. If you fall into either camp, check out the video above, in which Diamond outlines the accurate and (believe it or not) optimistic view of the sort of choices humanity has to collectively take right now to avoid systemic collapse, of both ecosystems and modern civilization. Here's one crucial difference between current civilization and those that already collapsed due to poor environmental management and resource use choices:
Today, we have archeologists who tell us about the mistakes that the Maya and the Greenland Norse and the Anasazi made, and we also have archeologists who tell us about the good decisions that the Tokugawa Japanese and the Icelanders made. So we can learn from the past. And then we can turn on our television sets. We can see what it's like in Somalia. We can also see what it's like today in Norway or Bhutan. And we can decide: Do we like the lifestyle of Bhutan or do we like the lifestyle in Somalia? Which do we choose to emulate? We have this opportunity to learn from remote places and to learn from places remote in time. No other society in world history has had that advantage. And among all the things that might incline me towards pessimism, that is the biggest thing that in the end run inclines me towards optimism. We have this unique opportunity.