I'd like to welcome this text as a contribution to the discussion on the threats facing the planet, with its strength laying in the necessity to step outside the whole ecological question as it's posed today and refer instead to the marxist method of Engels and the fundamental question of social relations.
There's a position put forward by some anarchist-types, David Graeber and David Wengrow ("How to change the course of human history), asserting that we can't know anything much about humanity's past prior to the Upper Palaeolithic, about forty-thousand years ago, so why bother with what they see as speculation. Typical anarchism you might say, especially in the context of the importance of "man making himself" from very early on.
I've seen somewhere Engels' description of the "stamp of (human) will", "makes (nature) serve"... "masters it" as being an expression of arrogance but, as the article shows, nothing could be further from the truth. Engels is very clear about the "footprint" of civilisation and the tendency, if localised then, of nature to bite back. With civilisation comes despoliation, greed, short-sightedness, factors that are qualitatively aggravated and then globalised with capitalism. Alongside the poisoning of the Earth, the decadence of capitalism sees a quantative and qualitative poisoning of its peoples. If twenty-thousand people are dying a year in Britain due to car fumes, etc, it must be millions world-wide. And the fall-out from the nuclear tests of the Cold War still swirls around us, through us and into us and is added to by the various nuclear "accidents" causing rises in various cancers and a lowering of the age of children which various cancers are contracted.
It's a good text which underlines how Engels and Marx worked together and went back as far as they could in order to look to the far-distant future and what that means for the class struggle now. And their conclusion of a workers' revolution and a transition to communism is just as relevant.