As the world struggles through the COVID‐19 pandemic, we should also be asking what systems‐level measures will be needed to prevent this or even worse disasters from happening in the future. We argue that the pandemic is merely one of potentially myriad and pleiomorphic future global disasters generated by the same underlying dynamical system. We explain that there are four broad but easily identifiable systemic, pathologically networked conditions that are hurtling civilization toward potential self‐destruction. As long as these conditions are not resolved, we should consider catastrophe as an inevitable emergent endpoint from the dynamics. All four conditions can be reversed with collective action to begin creating an enduring and thriving post‐ COVID‐19 world. This will require maximal application of the precautionary principle.