I'm happy to report I regrouped and revisited the challenge I write about at the end of the article. After some rest time, then more work, I finished a version that I'm satisfied with and that comes in <1,000 words.
Life learned to repurpose its genetic heritage, body parts were re-proportioned, modifications made, animals radiated, survivors learned to thrive in their brave new worlds. The increasing interaction of plants, animals, predators, pray, sensing, grasping, protecting, hiding, thinking - the stuff of competition. All of it worked together giving birth to ecology and the outlines of today’s world.
Some say since the Cambrian, Earth’s story has simply been variations on those themes as Life danced to climate and plate tectonics.
Humanity's gluttonous instincts are inflicting reckless damages upon our planet and her biosphere, like never before. We have been injecting ever more insulating CO2 into our atmosphere and carbonic-acid into our oceans unlike anything since the triggers to the Permian/Triassic super extinction event.