Ever since about ten thousand years ago, when humans first grasped the idea that you could plant seeds of edible plants, and raise animals for food, it seems that humanity has steadily expanded at the expense of the rest of the planet. (Not that hunter/gatherers didn’t do some harm- just that they were a lot more limited.)
This process greatly accelerated after the Industrial Revolution, which not only dramatically increased the number of humans who could be supported at least temporarily, but vastly increased the per capita usage of resources.
Where will it end? Assuming that technological civilization survives, will our descendants a thousand years from now be living in biodomes either in space or on a barren ruined Earth? In short, is the theme song of the human race “Paved Paradise, Put in a Parking Lot”?
I hope something like the following will occur: after peaking at 10-14 billion, the population stablizes and then gradually falls as the rest of the world adopts Western values such as education for women, birth control, etc. New technology that is cleaner than today’s allows for a sustained standard of living without harming the planet. Preserves for wildlife are maintained and if necessary extinct species get re-created through cloning of stored tissue samples.