In Collapse, Jared  Diamond chooses to describe a few ancient societies who flourished in  their times but failed to prosper because of the environmental damage  and overpopulation. Last month, we've surpassed all the existing records  of atmospheric carbon-dioxide, hitting a reading of 415 ppm. As we are  approaching Anthropocene and failing to mitigate our emissions, it is a  worthwhile idea to draw parallels between our modern societies and the  ancient civilisations which have failed.

How societies choose to fail or succeed?


The moral predicament  behind our actions is so embarrassing that we consciously ignore it. We  are not far apart from those ancient populations like the people of  Easter Islands, Pitcairn or the Mayans. We think that our super  intelligence combined with technology and science would somehow enable  us to save our planet but that's exactly what these ancient populations  thought.

Jared closes the book with some fascinating examples of  societies who survived against the odds and unsurprisingly most of them  tried to mingle with nature than going against it. We need to  coordinate at a large scale and mitigate a lot of policies if we want to  avoid the fate that the extinct populations faced. It took a really  long time to read this but I think it's completely worth it. Jared  brings a unique perspective to climate change which is much needed.