After Climate Change, What Next?
Climate change represents an enormous challenge for today’s generations. Yet we are thinking too small if we conclude its primary lessons concern greenhouse gases or even energy sustainability. The deeper lesson is about the critical milestone humanity has achieved with the scale of its reach. We can now readily change Earth in its entirety, something civilization has never been able to do previously. Our newfound global-scale reach will fundamentally alter both nature and society, mostly in ways we can barely anticipate. Climate change is the first such instance of humans' global reach, but it will not be the last. If we are smart, we can learn from climate change to help us avoid or mitigate future issues. If not, we will struggle again – and the next global-scale issue will likely be even more challenging.