Even if all 7+ billion people on the planet lived their lives like me, a committed environmentalist, we probably couldn’t preserve life as we know it on the planet. With that in mind, is a social transformation that would allow for preservation of life as we know it even possible?
This is an interesting question because I am more than familiar with the social context it is coming from. To ask a civilization, a way of life to be sustained forever is impossible. Human beings, a complex species, have found our way beyond knowing that change is inevitable. Instead we have developed technology, norms, systematic reasoning to continually prove we can sustain ways of life. If I answered this questions months ago I would have said yes in a very naive perspective looking at a massive collective action, a instantaneous enlightenment of all 7+ billion people in this world. What I think is causing so much stress and anxiety for the many people involved in these issues of environment and social sciences is that we have advanced and learned so much about the human species and about the rise and fall of civilizations that we have the ability to foresee the future. Our way of life has always been awaiting an end. Every entity of energy must reach a finite place to transcend to the next building block of a ‘beginning’. Life will never cease to exist. I believe there will always be growth in network systems as feedback loops become stronger. The stress coming from all of this is the simple awakening that we, human beings, haven now advanced our knowledge to a point where we almost know too much in a universe of infinite education. We have science to show us a time lapse into our imminent fall of civilization. It is this proof that is extremely scary to swallow, especially when the majority of our social context can’t think of anything better to worry about than consumption and power struggles amongst one another. A world of peace seems most clear when we can no longer fear death in an understanding that our time too must come. I went to the Indie Grits premier of The Dragons of Jim Green. I won’t go into a summation of the film as it almost irrelevant, but in this independent documentary a scientist was interviewed for his opinion on the validity of Jim Green’s perception of reality. He stated how the day our civilization ends and our way of life as we know it no longer could be sustained there will be just a thin glaze of plastic over the ground. When the next phenomena of life develops they too will then study it, grow in the realm of science and determine some logical explanation for how polymeric material is a natural compound of the Earth and no one, no ulterior evidence will be there to deem them wrong. I thought this was extremely insightful and almost relieving. To come full circle back to your question, a social transformation is possible in theory for our kind to not reverse but to evolve beyond where we are now. However on the macro-scale on the history of what humans frame as time, the ask the laws of the universe to allow a preservation of life that is a mere pinprick in the timeline of infinity is myopic. For life to exist and continue to grow just as our history as recorded, our way of life is not allowed to be sustained in a realm of infinity. If we were in a realm of eternity however, there would be a whole different response to the degradation we are seeing today.