The end of nature sours all my material pleasures. The prospect of living in a genetically engineered world sickens me. And yet it is toward such a world that our belief in endless material advancement hurries us. As long as that desire drives us, here is no way to set limits.
Scientists are telling us that 350 parts per million [of carbon] in the atmosphere is the upper limit. We're at 387 parts per million now, and we're up in that zone where the risk of going past irrevocable tipping points is elevated. It's no different than going to a doctor and learning your cholesterol is too high, and you're at risk for a heart attack. You have to work to lower your cholesterol and hope to get there before the heart attack comes.
In the United States, cheap fossil fuel has eroded communities. We're the first people with no real practical need for each other. Everything comes from a great distance through anonymous and invisible transactions. We've taken that to be a virtue, but it's as much a curse. Americans are not very satisfied with their lives, and the loss of community is part of that.