Opportunities and risks are related in a dialectical fashion. The options for society and its members are either to undertake the social transformations necessary to change the exploitative relationship with nature or suffer the consequences. Social and technical constructions that upset nature's self-regulating mechanisms have tangible consequences, with their threatening potential challenging humanity to become more ecologically rational, more deeply modern, and more sustainably industrial. Ecological problems are sufficiently serious that their resolution can not be left to the haphazard aggregation of the individual decisions of consumers. Environmental problems create the need and the opportunity to transform political and economic structures, but whether the opportunity will be seized or missed is not predetermined. Ecological considerations utilized to steer technological change are likely to require more labor, and therefore contribute to solving unemployment as well as environmental problems.