This Jared Diamond keynote dissects the collapse of societies, using the Norse colonization of Greenland as an example. The speaker, an award-winning scholar who studies and writes about the likelihood of societies to fail or succeed, presents his five-point framework used to determine the fate of a given society.
The first point of the framework deals with the human impacts on an environment; this point can include human-induced devastation such as deforestation. The second point is climate change; a society may meet colder, warmer, dryer or wetter climates that can create unpredictable results. The third and fourth points of Diamond's framework deal with a society's hostile or friendly relations it might have with its neighbors. These relations can affect a variety of factors including trade and war. Lastly, a society's political, economic and social environment will affect the ways a it responds to and manages emerging problems.
Diamond's speech ultimately demonstrates how societies today can learn from their ancestors and prevent similar endings.