A response to the claim that we must dismantle industrial society to survive as a species

I posted a link to my post “The ecocide at the heart of capitalism” to /r/collapse and someone responded that we need to dismantle industrial society. I wanted to link my response here, because I thought it expressed something I had thought before but never put into words:

i agree that virtually all existing industrial processes cannot remain, and even that you may be completely right that a total dismantling has to happen–though that remains to be seen.

if any aspect of global civilization is to survive, we need to find a way to rectify literally every single aspect of the global economy into harmony with the earth’s natural processes, which includes such seemingly radical steps as the end of all mining, and finding a way to recycle 100% of nonrenewable materials such as metals. i think there are probably clever organic ways to do this, such as plants that can leach metals from the soil.

that may just be impossible, but no one can say that for sure yet.

i also think that, given the course of human history, simply consigning ourselves to pre-industrial society doesn’t seem like a solution–plenty of deforestation and environmental devastation happened before heavy industry as well. i don’t think ending all industry will increase our ability to enter into harmony with nature.

to my mind, the only possible viable solution is to dramatically contract our production processes while using technology to make those few aspects of it that we decide to preserve 100% sustainable.

a very tricky road to walk, but i believe it is the only one that doesn’t lead to human extinction. anyone who doesn’t care about human extinction has a different goal than i do, and we probably don’t have much common ground to find.