I think the earth will survive, not so sure about mankind. When we look to biology, an organism that overpowers it's environment, say Kudzu, the invasive vine that runs wild in some part of the southeastern United States, overpowers and kills the trees and shrubs that it grown on. The vine then is forced into contact with the ground, and unfriendly environment, and it dies off. Then the forest and undergrowth can restart. Another example, in areas with no predators wildlife, like deer will overpopulate, overgraze, weaken, become vulnerable to disease, die off. When the deer population plummets the vegetation regrows.
If mankind is not careful, we will die off, then the earth will regenerate and be just fine, without us. Is this plague nature's warning that we are overtaxing the earth?
When I started at this job 12 years ago, I actually thought I would work until I was at least 70, in a dark moment I would say that they would simply find me decomposing at my desk one day. My work has long been an important part of my life. But I have changed. There are things I want to do in life, that I can't do while working. And I want to do them while I am healthy enough to do them. I am not the healthiest person, not that health is any guarantee of long life, I don't expect to be alive and vigorous at 80 or 90. There are a few people I work with that seem unable to give up working, they retire and continue to consult. One is resistant to engaging the next generation, circling back to her old friends, dragging them out of retirement at times. We need new minds, new ideas, new voices.
When I can get out, I will, and I hope to be replaced by fresh ideas. A few years ago I asked a student intern to write a paper about securing the financial future of Social Security retirement income, what she emailed on her way to the airport at the end of semester, was an essay saying old people should retire or die, so her generation could find better jobs. I never published her paper, it was not what she said, it was how she said it that was problematice. Securing the future of retirement income, encourages older workers to retire, and you can hire almost two entry level professionals for what I am paid. We have been interviewing in the office recently, the correct answer to where do want to be in five years, is having my job.