The technological systems of industrialized civilization are irreversibly using up limited natural material resources to provides society with goods and services together with the construction, operation and maintenance of the vast infrastructure. This operation entails appreciable disruption of biodiversity and damage to the environment. It also outputs material wastes that promote such deleterious consequences as climate change and ocean acidification while polluting land, sea and air to the detriment of species and biodiversity health.
That is the stark reality of what is happening. But very few people understand the fundamental principles that underline the above hypothesis. The vast majority believe the conventional view that economic growth is the norm. They appreciate the role that energy has played in development.They are conditioned to believe that with know how and hard work they can enjoy a high material standard of living. They may have a cynical view of their political masters and bankers while lauding the celebrities in the financial circles, arts and sports. But they go along with the idea of business as usual because they have been conned by the education system, government and media, to expect that progress will continue to be conjured up out of thin air!
So, on one hand we have what is happening in the Real world while on the other, the common, Myopia view. The Myopia view does not take into account the divestment of natural material wealth in meeting the demands of technological civilization and its resident population.
The mystery is two fold. Firstly, why is society so blind to what civilization has done wrong and is still doing wrong despite the multitude of warning signs that nature throws up? Climate change is one symptom of this malfeasance of civilization.
Secondly, what will society do to cope with reality as the Real world gradually hits harder below the belt and civilization collapses? The 'leaders' of society will not lead the way as they are blinded by dollars. The bewildered masses will strive to power down as painlessly as possible as the infrastructure they are so dependent on disintegrates through lack of sustenance. Cars and airliners are endangered species through lack of fuel. The supply of food, water and electricity will decline as the concentrated energy capital from the crustal store runs out. Ironically, science will not provide guidance as it has been too concerned with innovative use of natural forces to provide understanding of the fundamental principles that limit the sustainability of technological systems. The only hope is that smart people will use their understanding of Real to make wise decisions that will ease the inevitable powering down of society.