Despite the tendency to view climate change as catastrophic, it is unlikely that either humans or the Earth will be destroyed in the process for a very long time. Instead, we will continue to experience the gradual intensification of the world we live in. We must learn to live better: adoption of solar and other low-emission renewable energy; vegetarianism or more broadly sustainable, low-emission diets; preservation of all we can protect and conservation of what we must consume. We have much to learn from indigenous people; though we will never return to the same state of technology or population, we may learn to live in harmony with nature again, to return culture to its maker, nature.
And that is something to get excited about. Let us stop thinking of it as rescue or sacrifice and think of it as the next great human project. Let us set about this task as we did empire-building or the industrial revolution, applying our characteristic creativity, ingenuity, passion, even our need for esteem, our competitiveness and aggression, our fears and complexes. The currency of former projects was spiritual or monetary, each a means to valuate actions based on their contribution to the project. Our currency should be pegged to the size of contribution to the project of harmony with nature. Cap and trade programs contain the seed of the solution: a market on which value is based on protecting, not exploiting, our environment.