“we’ve been in a new situation for 75 years. As soon as the nuclear age began, it was evident that humans had reached the intelligence and capacity to effectively destroy human life on Earth. That’s what we’ve been living with for 75 years. What wasn’t known at the time, but is now understood, is that it was also the beginning of what the World Geological Organization calls the Anthropocene, a period in which human activity is having very significant and deleterious effects on the environment.
So for 75 years, we’ve been living with a unique situation in human history. We have the means to destroy organized human life on Earth. That’s never been true before.”
“What history teaches us is that we have no idea. There are all kinds of lessons. Just take Germany. In the 1920s, Germany was the peak of Western civilization, in the sciences and the arts. And if you look at political science literature in the 1920s, the Weimar Republic was regarded as the peak of democratic achievement. Ten years later, it was the worst place in human history. And years after that, getting back to where it was.
Those are the lessons of history, namely, we don’t know.”