The operations of the systems of civilization irreversibly use up limited natural material resources and produce irrevocable material wastes as well as devastating the eco systems. It does this in order to provide society with the goods and services people covert. This supply is an unsustainable process although society does not recognize that fact. It is the malaise of civilization. The decline in the availability of a wide range of natural resources coupled with the adverse response of natural forces, such as climate change, are symptoms of this holistic malaise.
The question raised by informed people is what will encourage society to moderate the rate of this ravishing of the life support system. There is much discussion of various aspects of the endemic decision making process. The competing influence of capitalism and socialism is just one of the issues debated. However, the inherent objective of organisms to make the most of what is available does not appear to gain the consideration that is warranted. Humans have the advantage over other organisms in that they have devised tools that give them great leverage to satisfy their desire for a high material standard of living - without taking into account the ecological cost.
Society will continue to make decisions to realize possibilities as much as they can. That is an unalterable fundamental characteristic of society. Education and other means of influencing the attitude of the elite as well as the masses can do no more than slightly moderate the rate of ravishing by civilization of the foundations. The consequential demise of materialistic civilization is certain. The way ahead for the human denizens is depressing as they join the species extinction legion.
Clearly, what will happen in the future is that the possibilities that the systems of civilization can use will decline, so forcing society to moderate their decisions. There is still appreciable uncertainty about which issues will force societies in the various regions to power down. The present focus in industrialized countries is energy supply while over population and potable water supply head the list in many other countries. Loss of soil fertility is not yet having the impact that declining fertilizer supply will ensure in the future. However, this uncertainty does not affect the fact that the possible rate of utilization of the combination of natural material wealth is declining rapidly. So the possibility of technological systems to supply society with goods is also declining. People, at best, can make smart decisions to meet the challenge of coping. Some will relearn forgotten fundamental simple skills to provide essentials such as food and community communication but that will not ease the stark reality noticeably for city dwellers in particular.