So what about the 'blessings of civilisation'? Are the delights of the microscope, the thoughts of Darwin, the poetry of Shakespeare and the advances of medical science, sufficient recompense for the environmental degradation, social conflict and human suffering that ultimately derive from the origin of farming 10,000 years ago? Would it have been better if we had remained as Stone Age hunter-gatherers forsaking the development of literature and science? The answer is in our hands; it depends upon what we choose to do during the next hundred years of global warming - our future, that of planet earth, remains within our control.
He concludes by quoting John Lubbock, Victorian polymath and archaeologist:
Even in our own time we may hope to see some improvement, but the unselfish mind will find its highest gratification in the belief that, whatever may be the case with ourselves, our descendants will understand many things which are hidden from us now, will better appreciate the beautiful world in which we live, avoid much of the suffering to which we are subject, enjoy many blessings of which we are not yet worthy, and escape many of those temptations which we deplore, but cannot wholly resist.