No way back

Julian Summerhayes
3 min readOct 12, 2021


How else do I say this?

We’re dead and buried.

The unfolding climate catastrophe and extreme loss of biodiversity will see to that.

If you think otherwise, then you’re either living on a different planet (unlikely) or you’re hopelessly out of touch with the human condition (more than likely).

Then again, given that so many jobs, careers and growth-obsessed economies are staking our future on digging us out of our anthropocentric hole, this message will never be accepted — and that excludes our inbuilt bias towards optimism and hope.

Why am I so certain?


Nothing has changed in the last 10, 20 or 30 years, and it’s all premised on the cultural narrative that says we can and should enjoy a level of comfort that’s at least as good as or no worse than the previous one.

Trust me, when you talk to the kids — young adults more like — I don’t hear them say:

“We’re screwed unless we start living a very different life, one where we don’t expect anything, even to wake up the next day.”

Instead, the focus is on getting on, finding a well-paid job and consuming.

The big problem though, and one I’ve previously written about, is population size or, actually, the fact that we’ve spread our anthropocentric tentacles across every part of the planet, intent on eating it and us alive.

As a thought experiment, imagine if humans, in one generation, went instinct.

What then?

Well the planet wouldn’t so much as be saved but at least it would stand a fighting chance of not being dragged down to the point where we, qua humans, can no longer survive and vast numbers of our non-human brothers/sisters went extinct.

But who the hell is going to advocate for that sort of dystopian world?

Well, save the antinatalists, no one.

Not a single person.

In fact, natalism or having children is, for so many reasons, baked resolutely into our DNA, even if that means we end up with a planet that’s so denuded of life it can no longer support us.

Even if you don’t believe or agree with this sort of extreme message, do you honestly think that a bunch of Net Zero goals and all the high-fiving that’s going on around our geo-engineered future is going to save us and the next generation?

If you do, please tell me how long then you think we’ve got.



I don’t think so.

Even with the most ingenious solutions in the world, and more than likely not those I can even conceive, I don’t see how you dial down on the human condition which will carry on regardless, consuming everything in its line of sight until it’s all gone.

I know, I know. I’m just a tired old misanthrope and a nihilist to boot and why I continue to voice my opinion on this sort of stuff, god only knows.

The way I see it, and if I’m lucky, I’ve got 20 years to make peace with my earth-devouring ways. As to what happens thereafter, as my grandparents would say:

“I won’t be around to find out how the (human) story ends.

Take care.




Julian Summerhayes

“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” ― Dogen