The machines started when fossil fuels came into general use. First coal in the early to mid 1800s, then oil driven machines in the early 1900s, increasing, and with the petrochemical industry. >>>People should have known that something so black and dirty or gooey was evil<<<. They overlooked its bad characteristics and saw only the "good" of cheap power. They found more useful things to do with it----plastics, fertilizers, chemicals; again overlooking the heavy metal contamination of the fertilizers, the long term toxicity of the plastics, and the pollution of chemicals. >> They looked only at the short term, forgetting to look ahead the consequences of the pollution buildup.<< They thought the Earth was so big it would absorb it all. Their greed and the demands of a population that could now have more food and other products, and thus >>>grow exponentially<<<, became a resource destroying machine. Like a locust plague of humanity.
More and more crowded, leading to more anxiety, hostility, and depression. More and more polluted until waters were unsafe to drink and the oceans' fish laden with toxic metals, the oceans themselves with huge estuary dead zones and millions of square miles of floating plastic trash. Species dying off at an extinction event rate, while the atmospheric pollution causes malevolent climate change at an accelerating rate and rains down mercury nearly everywhere. Overpopulation's cooking fires in India causing soot on Arctic ice and increased melting, more climate change, and global dimming over the Maldives, decreasing their crop yields. Power sucking out ancient aquifers of pure water until they are gone, before they can burn the last of the oil and coal. Crops fail, thirst is rampant with hunger, as the machines try to make more water and food while still polluting.
>>>>First the world economy failing as resources are used up, the ecological collapse from the over-burden, area by area.<< Desperate people running to where there still are jobs, still is pure water, still is more food--and collapsing those areas with a fight. Insane cannibal gangs roaming, stealing and killing. The seas devoid of edible life, roamed by pirates with no one to rob anymore, and relying on sails again. Floods, incredible storms, and the stench of rot, and increasing methane. >>All caused by this >>greed<<, fossil fueled, and >>ignorance<< of looking ahead.
Man, on average, a very dumb/smart creature, and one that took down most other life and a planetary biosphere, for a very long time of recovery, the Anthropocene Epoch of geology started 10,000BC. 2040s to 60s---population crash; by 2300--thermageddon, ELE of 87% of life including humans. 190,000AD the Anthropocene Epoch ends(or maybe 2 million AD), recovery and a return to the way it was, with fewer species and no humans. >>The bad greedy people who developed industrial society without forethought to the consequences, and the dumb over-breeders who also could not think ahead, >>>took down the good people who could live sustainably, for a very long time, on Earth.