Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Jared Diamond in Seed Magazine:

What became of Norse Greenland and the other societies that have been famous victims of full-fledged collapse? How could even one of these societies, once so mighty, end up collapsing? Lurking behind this mystery is a nagging thought: Might such a fate eventually befall our own wealthy societies? Will tourists someday stare mystified at the rusting hulks of New York City’s skyscrapers, much as we stare today at the jungle-overgrown ruins of Mayan cities?

It has long been suspected that many of those mysterious abandonments were at least partly triggered by ecological problems: people inadvertently destroying the environmental resources on which their societies depended. In recent decades, scientists have confirmed this suspicion of unintended ecological suicide–ecocide.

More here.