For some reason it's never really sunk in that the basis of the opus is kind of old hat, in a way. One of the things at the bedrock is the idea that humanity is on its way out; that our species is doomed; that the end is nigh.
There's a lot of reason to think so. When I say to people -- as I sometimes do -- that the writing is on the wall, and our species is living beyond its means so egregiously that we're doomed, they agree with me. This means that either they really feel this way or they're simply putting on the pose for my benefit, which is also quite possible.
One would have to admit that the mountains of evidence are overwhelming. These days the only people who deny global climate change, loss of biodiversity, etc have a vested interest in doing so, or are working hard to live in denial. The science on this subject seems to be extremely clear. But the fact remains that people have been saying this for a very long time. There's never been a shortage of people who see the great big cataclysm heading right towards us. Despite their convictions both the world and the humans upon it are intact.
The same could be true even now. What if all this dire glacier-melting, temperature-rising, rain-forest-falling, fisheries-depleting, and population-skyrocketing turns out to be no big deal, that the data has been read incorrectly or that we'll develop a technology that will save our asses and humanity is going to be fine? Wouldn't that be a travesty? It would mean that our species could do exactly what it wanted, with no consideration of the consequences, and still not have to be faced with any consequences. Where's the fairness in that?