The concept of “flattening the curve” brilliantly communicated the need for rapid public health measures to avoid overwhelming health system capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic (Figure). The curve is flattened by behaviors that reduce the rate of contagion spread and enable time to replenish and innovate resources. “Flattening the curve” applies to any exponential process. We’ve embraced it for SARS-CoV-2, and we have seen how sustained, dedicated, and tightly coordinated effort can alter the course of nature. Environmental destruction is also an exponential process. For our long-term survival, we must “flatten the curve” of exponential environmental damage. Herd immunity does not apply to depletion of the earth’s finite resources.
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