Where we've been
Our consumption has been increasing not only overall, but per person for the last few decades. We have been using up more natural resources, using more energy, spending more money, and throwing away more stuff nearly every year. This is despite increases in recycling rates and increases in energy efficiency, because we have been in the habit of getting more things and bigger, more powerful things.
We need to use less energy, build better homes, and eat smarter food
It wasn't always this way, however. Before the industrial revolution, the energy we used was almost entirely solar powered and we used it in more sustainable ways. Our energy for ourselves was based on whatever we could grow, without the help of synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers.
We don't live this way anymore, and we don't have to, but we do need to find a way to be just as sustainable.Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Our homes were built to take advantage of the weather and minimize the amount of heating we needed to do. And when we did heat the homes, it was with wood from the surrounding forest or waste biomass from large animals. The products we produced had long lifespans and were often repaired and passed down as opposed to thrown away.
In a lot of ways, we were pretty sustainable. And in the ways that we weren't sustainable, it didn't matter as much because there weren't so many of us compared to the vastness of resources. Now we've gotten to the point where demand for energy and food and products is so high and there are so many people and so few relative resources, we must learn to conserve. We need to get back to a point where we consume good products and repair them when they break, as opposed to throwing them away. We need to use less energy, build better homes, and eat smarter food.
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