It seems that segments of an organic system always are favoring balance w/in the whole. The pressures which force imbalance can continue for al long time, like a sore or cut which is never allowed to heal but saps energy from the body in attempting to heal. The energy required to heal increases the chance for disease and infection from other sources to put the system more out of balance. The forces which build a system and theose which break it down are constantly seeking advantage one over the other. Some call these forces good vs evil giving the impression that there are two moral imperitives on opposing sides, not a functioning whole.
It is my observation that just as yin/yang, the whole only serves itself, seeking balance. When energy required to repair a system to return it to a balance becomes disproportunate, that is, it demands more than the balance is contributing to the whole system, a critical stage is reached, an apogee/perfect storm/critical mass whatever you wish to label it. When this occurs it is as if a buble is burst, the collapse is sudden and all energy once abiding in the system is released to be re-incorporated into the surrounding environs in a different, more elemental form.
This shift does not allow adaptation for any sub-system involved, it only allows extinction, disappearance, disassembly and reduction into simpler component parts. Death is a word often given to "living" organisms experiencing this phenomenon. I look at the interaction of humanity w/ it's surroundings and cannot help but feel the overwhelming development of more and more sores. Scars are not forming, repairs are few, little healing is taking place...it is requiring more and more energy to maintain this sub-system. When the word rape is used it also leaves behind an emotional sore in terms of human behavior - this is a most appropriate term often used w.r.t. our human relationship to Earth. The more humans attempt to exert this 'control' over the environment rather than seek balance/harmony within it, the more dislocated and therefore out of balance and consequently, the bigger the bubble. The collapse will be sudden - global warming is but a symptom, like a headache. This disease (my understanding of the word being, uncontrolled and rapid development of 'foreign' or imbalancing organic stress) is progessing beyond a 'cure', a rebalancing which controls the overall structural integrity of a system. Earth is finding its own cure, its own balance. The end result, a sudden collapse, death, extinction, disassembly may not seem so sudden - it may extend over decades - but in Earth time of millions of decades it is but a moment. Inexorably, humanity as we know it will be expunged &/or transformed into a more compatible being.
Some with a religious bent will point to this as the end times as if it is a prophesy or inevitable result of some evil or basic fault within man himself. This may in fact be true. But to my thinking I see only the inexorable processes of a whole seeking balance, no supernatural being is entering into the system, just the inevitable result of actions resulting in reactions. There are actions which create and actions which destroy...they are not evil or good, they only are seen by humans in this light because of their immediate impact on human lives. Thus we see attempts to 'enlighten' as only poor attempts to make humans the center of some 'creation'. What we observe is simply a small speck in a universe which extends beyond time, space, or even the concept of origin. To try and enlighten from this perspective ends only in creating myth and mysticism. What we choose to believe should be taken as a means for our survival, not as a construct of some supernatural being.