Many readers and contributors to BioResources are working to develop sustainable technology. Such research attempts to use products of photosynthesis to meet long-term human needs with a minimum of environmental impact. Archeological and historical studies have concluded that the long-term success or failure of various past civilizations has depended, at least in part, on people’s ability to maintain the quality of the resources upon which they depended. Though it is possible for modern societies to learn from such examples, modern societies are interconnected to an unprecedented degree. It is no longer realistic to expect one region to be immune from the effects of environmental mistakes that may happen elsewhere in the world. Research related to renewable, lignocellulosic resources is urgently needed. But in addition to the research, there also needs to be discussion of hard-hitting questions, helping to minimize the chances of technological failure. The next failed civilization may be our own.