For thousands of years, humans have changed our environment to suit our needs. We have built cities, multiplied into the billions, wiped out predators, herded, farmed and created pesticides and GMOs. We make machines fly through air and space and have denuded huge swaths of the planet’s surface. We have created oral and written languages, mathematics, music, religion and medicine, and we have also thought up ever more ingenious and effective ways of killing each other.

We generally regard this as progress. It goes unquestioned, and it is regarded as a means unto itself. We push the boundaries of knowledge, marvel at our own inventiveness and, perhaps, regret its destructive consequences.

We cannot hold anyone personally to blame for obeying the rules of the societies our forefathers created. We are suffering the effects of the conditioning of millennia. Such growth and progress, with a large dose of hubris, violence and greed, are the foundations of our success as a species.

Close consideration of our destructive ways, and radically changing them, may be difficult, but such examination is imperative. Humans must awake to the need for new definitions of progress and consciousness of the consequences of our actions.