Illustration for article titled Has Humankind Destroyed Itself Through Progress?

The human species survived as hunter-gatherers for 99.8% of its existence. In the .2% of our time on Earth since, we have become a globally dominant civilization capable of destroying our planet — the only home we know.


The 2011 documentary Surviving Progress (inspired by Ronald Wright's book, A Short History of Progress and now streaming on Netflix) looks at the reasons why our advances have led us to this destructive point. One hypothesis is that our brains are still in hunter-gatherer mode, wired for quick decisions. As a result, we fail to think about long-term consequences and and future generations.

THIS WEEK'S DOC: Surviving Progress

The other reason for the potential destruction of the earth and humankind as we know it: change, and as we can see, not all change is good. Change brought Rome to its knees, decimated the Amazon rainforest, and might soon lead to our demise.


On Friday, we'll discuss Surviving Progress, and whether or not humanity can undo the damage it has done. Watch the documentary on Netflix now.

Documentary Club is a weekly feature in which we watch and discuss the finest documentaries available to stream on Netflix. For more, head to

Sonia Halbach is the winner of the Studio@Gawker Netflix competition. She lives in New York City and moonlights as a young adult writer with an emphasis on 19th-century historical fantasy.


This post is a sponsored collaboration between Netflix and Studio@Gawker.

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