From Holocene to Anthropocene
The so-called conquest of nature overwhelms us with the natural fact of over-population and makes our troubles more or less unmanageable, because of our psychological incapacity to reach the necessary political agreements. It remains quite natural for men to quarrel and fight and struggle for superiority over one another. Where indeed have we "conquered nature"? - C.G. Jung 
Our planet is 4.5 billion years old. Its evolutionary process has proved resilient enough to outlast enormously destructive crises that ended whole geological eras. Of course, that is not true of the biosphere we inherited in this end-Cenozoic era. As for humans, our hominid lineage diverged from the common ancestral one we shared with chimpanzees, about 6 million years ago. The relatively young modern human species to which we belong is about 250,000 years old. These time-frames are relevant because they provide the evolutionary backstory to the numerous scientifically-based national and international reports that have called for urgent protection of planetary life support systems. [2,3] The planet may be able to do without us, but there is no evidence humans can do without specific ecological conditions on Earth.
As far as civilization goes, the main determinant of those conditions is climate. The regional climates of the Earth vary greatly from its equator to its poles, because the parallel rays of the Sun fall unevenly across the curve of the planet's surface. Global average climate is the average of all those climatic regions. It showed little variation during the last 12,000 years, the Holocene epoch that gave rise to civilization. What preceded this? 140,000 years of extreme climate variation that did not allow humans to settle anywhere for long. We could live only as hunter-gatherers.
Stable global climate permitted us to develop agriculture—and with this came towns and cities and advanced cultures. By 2500 years ago, extraordinary developments had become possible. In Greece, masterpieces of classical sculpture, drama and philosophy appeared alongside the first democracy in history. In India, the prince Siddhartha Gautama renounced a kingdom and attained the fully awakened state.
The stable climate of the Holocene was maintained by a self-regulating atmospheric system containing finely-balanced concentrations of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour)). They partially block radiation of the sun’s heat from the plant back to space. The global climate is continuously re-created by interdependent cycles of carbon, nitrogen and water between the environment and living beings. Prior to the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Holocene atmosphere was 280ppm (parts per million).
200 years ago, the Earth entered a new geologic epoch when human economic and industrial activity progressively came to dominate the biosphere-- and evolutionary path of the planet. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Crutzen called the new period the Anthropocene . Burning fossil fuels to power the industrial revolution enormously increased carbon gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The result was a forcing of the greenhouse effect that has increased global average temperature by 0.8°C since 1880. This apparently small increase, has initiated momentous change across all climatic regions. The polar ice caps and terrestrial glaciers have begun to melt. Extreme weather events (hurricanes and typhoons, floods, heat waves and droughts) have quadrupled in frequency since the 1950s.
Eighty percent of global energy supply still comes from fossil fuels. This has created an enormously powerful lobby of corporations that extract and burn them for energy--let us call it "Big Carbon". Oil, coal and gas are doing three remarkable things at the same time. They are generating the greatest profits in economic history, rapidly running out and gravely damaging our planetary climate.
Big Carbon owns most of our energy generation, distribution and infrastructure. Despite enormous profits, it commands annual taxpayer subsidies of over $400B. It wields enormous political influence through PR, advertising and through direct corruption of governments. A chronic, ongoing failure to regulate Big Carbon is responsible for our repeated failures to achieve a meaningful treaty to reduce carbon emissions.
Media coverage of current events is contaminated by denial and disinformation. It has generally failed to expose the corporate manufacture of doubt about climate science. It has played down the causative role of fossil fuels in global warming and reinforced our addictive relationship with them. We live in the midst of a "permanent PR campaign" for fossil fuels. As a result, many people (notably in the U.S.) have abandoned reason for "belief" that there is no climate problem. But man-made global warming is a settled scientific fact. Like gravity, it does not change because we refuse to believe in it.
1. Carl Jung Collected Works, vol 18.
2. UN Environment Programme  GEO4 Report
3. IPCC  4th Assessment Report
4. Paul Crutzen & Eugene Stoermer  Int Geo-Bio Prog News 41