If I were a supernatural time manipulator, I would have decimated the Industrial Revolution. It is definitely the most dooming of all points-of-no-return in human history.
Observe all those who are unaffected or minimally affected by this alienating, apathetic revolution: people lived well for thousands of years without all destruction this revolution has made. Made on the environment. Made on the working conditions of employees. Made on the exploitation of third world countries. Some low-tech countries, such as the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, have one of the highest life expentancies rates in the world. That's thanks to their emphasis on an active lifestyle and priority on a healthy diet. Mind you, industrialized food isn't healthy, and yet it is the norm for much of the world.
Metropolises are not healthy for humans, and I can tell you this from a personal experience, at the very least. Even when you are in a street you've lived on for most of your life, it still remains a place of strangers and alienation. Even if you are to live in a grand metropolis for a long time, its residents and atmosphere remain foreign and uncaring.
They are not optimal areas of habitation for humans because they are such impure and inhumane places, where the law allows you to behave like a noisy demonic creature in your house and in your car, and no one has the right to complain until 11pm. You can disturb other people without giving a damn, and the law protects you from moral accusations.
The industrial revolution shaped the way we think. We may see time and people as resources, measured by their relevance to us. Their worth might not be as important to us as making an effective use of our time, and might not be as important as having a good, pleasant leisure. I believe there is a connection between that and the way we treat emotions as either positive or negative, based on how pleasant it is or isn't. It's similar to how a factory owner may treat the product they invested their time and resources in.
We shouldn't treat people as if they were tools or sets of functions for us, as that ignores the fact that they are, as well, human beings with thoughts and feelings that might not be pleasant to us. Thus, some of us may treat people like products: By the quality of experience we have when we interact with them. It's like treating a cup of coffee by its taste.
Should we treat humans as fuller beings and not as a series of functions, we can open ourselves to true love. Because to love a human being is not the same as loving a cup of coffee, or at least shouldn't be. Loving a human being means: Loving them even when they are unpleasant to us. Even when they do not serve our own interests. Even when they make us suffer because they were hurt. When a cup of coffee loses its taste, the logical thing to do is to throw it to the trash can. Humans are not of the same value, as they are more than mere resources, and as such should not be disposed in a similar fashion.
The rapid growth of the population is not likely to be in proportion to the scale of the planet. This world cannot sustain the growth of all the industries on it, which consume its resources and harm its greenery. Green scenery is decimated in the name of expansion and profit, caused by unnecessary demand for product.
We do not really need to reproduce so massively as we do today, as our species is far from extinction in terms of numbers. The more people are born, the more they will need to consume. The more we will preach the fault of financial materialism, people will consume even more. Remember: many resources on Earth are limited.
The Industrial Revolution was caused by the desire to have more than we need. Even the rich do not need all the profit they make each year. We do not really need all the consumer goods that are produced. Some of them are harmful to us, and they also harm the planet by filling it with mountains of garbage and radiation. What is so great about being rich and luxurious when we become more and more responsible for the possible demise of the planet? Greedy people produce and consume in the name of long-term satisfaction, but this is rarely achieved through material gain. It is something I call, the counter-productivity of endless desire.
The Industrial Revolution shall be the mass-murderer of the planet and its inhabitants. As said before, the planet cannot remain in its current state forever with all of the consumption and pollution created by billions of humans. Like a stomach that eats itself when there is nothing left to eat, the planet shall collapse into itself when there shall be no more unrenewable sources of resources left.
The core, if not the sole reason, for Earth’s future destruction, is because many of us are deluded that if we will consume item “A”, we shall become fully satisfied. However, when we are to observe within ourselves that there’s no complete satisfaction, we implement the same belief we put to item “A” to item “B” and so forth.
Study the same result problem and you may realize the usefulness of being satisfied without needing much waste of your own resources.
The solution to the dangers of the Industrial Revolution is asceticism: practicing and mastering a life of feeling more satisfied with less. I even dare to claim that not knowing the term "asceticism" is a disgrace for the future of our generations, who might follow the same pattern we, as a massive audience of consumers, do. Asceticism is not necessarily related to religion or to transforming into worlds of an afterlife. Even the Spartans practiced asceticism in the name of strength and autonomy.
Whether or not the majority of the world's population can successfully adopt an ascetic lifestyle, their full understanding of its positive counter-measure to today's massive consumerism, is another issue.
Regardless, this revolution marks a point of no return, no matter how ascetic we would be. It also points out an unsettling truth about humanity: That we are destructive beings. We have decimated entire species, other nations, and in the future, the Earth itself. The solution to our survival may be the colonization of the stars.