Big Questions, too much thinking
As I think about this and I realize that this is the wrong question! To ask it frames the question as one of outcome rather than process-- it's like asking if you can win at life by getting to the finish line first.
First off, in my view, the world will carry on, and life will carry on, with or without humans, even if we spew our toxic waste into every ecosystem and bring about mass extinction, destroying the most amazing gift of diversity and beauty and soul. Life will find a way. (just think of cockroaches--even irradiation can't seem to kill them).
There are two more immediate questions, really:
(1) will humans discover the creativity and soul to awaken from denial in time to be a part of the next Age on this planet? and
(2) does it really matter? i.e. why care when it all seems to be going bad anyway?
To touch on the second question first...
As I said before, I believe that our problems--all of them--are fundamentally spiritual ones. We have taken the internal struggle of the human being: the struggle of free will, and cast this epic struggle upon our world. Every day, we as individuals are faced with a choice: between wallowing in despair and creating hope, between succumbing to self-absorbtion and reaching out to broader community... between destroying and creating, between choosing life and choosing death. It would be easy to numb the pain, to give up and say, what does my little effort matter? So what if all I did was to eat cheetos and get drunk and watch day time soaps? What if I didn't choose to engage in conversation, to love and create beauty and allow the natural world to feed my soul, to embrace change and growth in myself, to pray? Would it matter?
Well... does it?
To that question, I ask this: when an alcoholic reforms his or her life, even late in the game, don't we all triumph just a little from that act of courage? Aren't we amazed at people who face seemingly insurmountable odds and give it their all, even if they are not going to "win?" Every time one person chooses to live out of the best of their human spirit (life) over the easier road, it seems that we are all better for it, even if one alcoholic doesn't cure all alcoholism, even if one charitable gift doesn't eradicate poverty. Somehow, that act of living creates the conditions for Spirit to thrive. It matters in the doing, not the outcome.... all this is evidence that for some reason, our little choices matter to the order of things.
A better question might be: Why does it matter?
That's a tougher one to think about. It seems to me that each person longs to be truly alive. We find life in the process of our being and experiencing and overcoming obstacles. When someone makes a choice to face fear and darkness, somehow our best selves emerge, and we are all graced... even in the telling of the story. How much greater the grace when the whole of humanity collectively chooses life over death?
As for the first question: Will humanity ultimately make it into the next phase of Earth's story?
I say: why not?
There are lessons for us in the history of earth: again and again, the creativity of life overcame challenges to life on this planet. At times, it appeared to be so bleak that life itself would cease. But yet here we are, in all our complexity, despite the challenges along the way. We love, we live and for some reason, our choices matter to the creative life within us.