Chris Schaberg (see comments) has commented on post-apocalyptic movies (Wall•E, The Day After Tomorrow), and what they tell us about our attitude towards the ecological era we're in.
I believe that one thing we have to get used to is that the ecological catastrophe has already occurred.
The extent to which post-apocalyptic fantasies push the “catastrophe point” forwards into the future is directly proportional to how much we want to ward off the fact that it has already happened.
One way we can tell it has happened is that it's now impossible to measure certain things. Say you have some kind of self-interest theory (suppose you modify it to include lots of others like family members, friends, your social circle etc.). How is your self-interest theory going to deal with substances such as plutonium, which have consequences that far outlast you, your circle (however wide), even perhaps your species?
Global warming is the result of a few hundred years of certain processes occurring, but its effects may last for thousands of years.