By the time the problem becomes obvious to everyone — and the first example which comes to mind is someone coming home only to discover their home completely engulfed in flame — there isn't much anyone can do.
Now..I have just told you a story, and you don't believe it. Of course you don't. People want and need to believe that someone is in charge and in control of the situation. Human nature.
But how many people live in California (just as an example)? And you KNOW that the San Andreas fault is going to cut loose eventually but you stay there. Do you know that when it does your homeowner's insurance won't cover the damage? Oh, no it won't. Call your agent right now and ask. And do you know that FEMA doesn't have the money to help you with that? I'll bet you did know but don't believe it could happen to you.
A really simple scenario might involve a moderate earthquake which cut the water supply to Southern California. How would you deal with that? Or maybe that's the wrong question. Have you ever considered "what if"?
So we could deal with any ONE problem — too much phosphorus in fertilizer, too much this, too little that — but mankind cannot deal with what will happen when it all comes together because we cannot imagine it happening.
It's out there for us to embrace.