Easterbrook notes that most of Diamond's analysis is for societies living on small islands, and questions the generalization to the entire modern world. There are arguments on both sides - obviously Diamond's point is that some of the world's resources (fossil fuels in particular) are limited, just as the resources of trees or other critical elements of an island society were limited. On Diamond's point that, for the island societies, ''A society's steep decline may begin only a decade or two after the society reaches its peak numbers, wealth and power.'', how does this properly generalize to a world 4 or 5 orders of magnitude larger? Do we really only have a decade or two after our peak (and will we know when we've reached that?)
Easterbrook makes two comments on changes he foresees that illustrate more why he doesn't think the island analogies apply - and perhaps whe he and we are more in agreement than one would first think... "If the West changes from fossil fuel to green power, its worst resource trend will not continue uninterrupted.", and he concludes with the rather inspiring: "Above us in the Milky Way are essentially infinite resources and living space. If the phase of fossil-driven technology leads to discoveries that allow Homo sapiens to move into the galaxy, then resources, population pressure and other issues that worry Diamond will be forgotten. Most of the earth may even be returned to primordial stillness, and the whole thing would have happened in the blink of an eye by nature's standards."