Societies are becoming more unstable and less able to adapt because of technological and procedural innovations and efficiencies. This hypothesis is explored and supported by equating efficiencies with the reduction in effective societal dissipation. Dissipation stabilizes systems and enables the emergence and scale separation that are necessary for memory and cultural adaptation. Resistance movements are both stimulated by the resulting instabilities and inject dissipation back into society in a way that partially stabilizes it. In this nonlinear, long-time-scale sense, resistance has been co-opted by capitalist societies to act as a check, a feedback, on their own instability. Absent external and confounding factors, a statistically steady-state level of instability and resistance is possible, although unlikely because of cascading co-optation of and creative recreation of resistance movements. Using complex systems science, I argue that Earth's responses to resource exploitation, such as climate change, species extinction and soil loss, are dynamically equivalent, in their interaction with human societies, with social resistance movements, and so these responses justifiably can be referred to as resistance. Solidarity between social resistance movements and Earth's resistance might form the best and perhaps only pathway to a stable relationship between human societies and the environment. However, the success of this solidarity critically depends on a parallel struggle for marginalized peoples most affected by Earth's resistance to be able to freely migrate.