This is of course the big question. Many cultural shifts will likely lead us to alternative ‘cascading disasters’. Since the problem is essentially a cultural one, the solution is also cultural but identifying and rapidly spreading the right cultural solution(s) before we are overwhelmed by the only too real world consequences of our present culturally motivated behaviors is an absolute necessity. The first trick becomes identifying the needed cultural characteristics. The second involves getting everyone on board with the cultural characteristics that need to be shared in order for humanities behaviors to become sustainable within natural constraints.
Culture is a set of shared beliefs of individuals. Across the planet today, we share many different and often conflicting sets of cultural beliefs. We do however have a gradually emerging consensus we call Science. Science itself is a culture encompassing many different beliefs. But at the heart of science is a method for approaching a belief consensus. The scientific method itself, or more specifically the scientific method of thought when applied by any individual to their own experiences will inevitably lead towards a set of shared beliefs. More of humanity is ready to embrace this type of shared consensual understanding today than before yet a large portion of humanity is still not ready. The scientific method of thought is traditionally applied to the objective world, but it is equally as effective when applied subjectively, to the inner world we each inhabit in terms of helping us to reach an agreed consensus.
As this consensual recognition continues to grow and spread, science has taught us that there comes a tipping point when the social contagion takes root and spreads very rapidly, creating a cultural paradigm shift. Many component ideas go into this consensual process. No single individual or group can ever control this emerging consensual process. This is one of the critical recognitions. For better or for worse, humanity will go extinct or survive and thrive as one. The only hard fork that might change this is if we were able to establish a viable colony on another planet. I suspect that at this point in time, we are at such a critical cultural juncture that any serious attempt to settle another planet would involve merely transferring our unsustainable culture, so the only viable option for us as a group mind is to reach a shared consensual understanding that allows us to live sustainably right here and now.
Any parasitic component of culture that involves some thriving while others suffer and perish is a dead end. For better or for worse, humans are cultural creatures. Understanding our own nature, human nature, is one of the most critical cultural components under cultural consideration right now. Cultural consensus is a constantly emergent process. It can become a more efficient process when the scientific method of thought is more widely applied thus accelerating the process of cultural shift. One of the most self destructive cultural expressions is when this necessary and constant cultural shift is intentionally and violently impeded. All violent cultural expressions are basically suicidal. Nature shows us repeatedly that symbiosis is superior to competition when it comes to a healthy ecosystem. Humanity in our primitive cultural understanding and perspective have yet to fully recognize this. So our culture is filled with hierarchical expressions rather than symbiotic relationships.
I could go on to list many other cultural characteristics that I see as critical to reaching human sustainability but that would only be my particular set of cultural beliefs. Of much greater significance is the emergent nature of culture itself and how that process functions most effectively to achieve a swift and viable transition. The group mind is infinitely wiser that any individual understanding. I experience that time and time again as I daily watch the cultural evolution of humanity. Exciting isn’t it? Will we live or will we die? How rapidly can human culture adapt as the environmental and social changes we have unwittingly set in motion unfold? I think the wide range of individual human expressions bodes well for an infinitely more complex human culture comprised of billions of individuals any number of whom may hold key component ideas for a sustainable human culture and a sustainable humanity. Unless of course, someone decides to genocide them.