The keystone and engineering role that characterized the “niche” within which humans evolved, was not just transmitted as a collective economic and organizational behavioral niche, but also as a conceptual, cognitive niche. It was an outcome of the living stream of culture, not just of human nature. So, more than in most species, humans are susceptible of ideological drift rationalizing the development of ecologically simplifying and destabilizing practices causing negative trophic flows and ultimately leading to demographic collapse.
It also means that the present wave of species extinction, plastics pollution, soil erosion, and climate change through human activity is not inevitable due to some species-specific tendency maladaptation; rather it is a recent misadventure of a cultural kind, and can be rectified by altering our use of energy, and also, over the coming decades, our numbers. This will go a long way toward setting in motion corresponnding shifts in our ideas, practices, and technology. We don’t have to become post-human to fix our relationship to the planet, but we definitely have to develop post-industrial economies.