The segue that I almost always slide into is that it isn’t so much about superiority in technology, but superiority of consumptionism: the practice of living by taking, rather than living by cooperating and creating. The majority of people are easily distracted from considering that there is a difference. Most are conditioned to the Invisible Hand philosophy that if they are making ‘more’ or consuming more, and (worse) selling more, then they are increasing humanity in some way and to use the old GM economics aphorism, “What’s good for humans is good for the universe”.
This backward economic philosophy has always led to collapse of empires, whether black, white or green. The closest things we have to ‘sustainable’ are the frugality of the Amish and the naturally limited hunter-gatherers.
That’s not good enough. To quote Raj Patel, “The opposite of consumption is not frugality; it’s generosity.” Human consciousness was an experiment called “intentionality”, and it failed. Our massively deluded egotistical behaviors never quite came to understand that in order to survive long-term, a species has to contribute more usefulness to its environment than it sucks out of it. It doesn’t have to do it intentionally, but it has to do it. Our experiment of intentional living (civilizations, technology, etc) managed to isolate our intentions and desires from the environment’s risks and needs. Once city walls are built, it’s a small step to using money to isolate people from even the needs of their own civilization (Always low prices, Always low taxes).
We have now consumed the stability of the planet’s ecosystem unintentionally. Humanity doesn’t even know that Intention is an elusive mechanism and takes cooperative work to operate it. There’s little chance we will intentionally become capable of solving the problems that are so profitable to so many oblivious animals. Humans with money and cheap food are just mice pushing the orgasm button until they die.