WE HAVE SEEN how humanity over the past 9000 years has placed increasingly unreasonable demands on our planet's resources and that humanity, instead of evolving towards a more sustainable form of society, is moving at an increasing pace towards a collapse. The effects of our lifestyle are now so great that not only humanity is threatened with its existence, but also many other of the earth's life forms that together constitute the planet's unique eco-existence.
The question is whether there is a form of society for humanity that is sustainable?
Hunters and gatherers are the only form of society that has been proven to be sustainable. Mankind has lived 99% of its time in this form of society. It is a principle where the species lives in the ecosystem without really affecting it. You live there only on what nature can spontaneously produce without the influence of the species and only take a little of the interest out of the system. This is how all living things interact with the system, whether it is a tree, a bacterium or a mammal. The principle requires great biodiversity and for humans, hunters and the collector form require a very large area of biodiversity for resources in the form of food, housing, clothing and materials to be produced spontaneously in such quantities that it enables existence and survival for generations. This form of society thus allows for a very low population density. It is only in particularly favorable conditions and thus very limited areas that the population density may reach 1 person per km2. It is estimated that the earth could support 5-50 million people in this form of society.
The form of agriculture that humanity created 9000 years ago has proven to be able to increase human population density, but at the cost of a sharp increase in manual labor and greater environmental impact. In China, society was fairly stationary for about 1000 years. No major changes, no population increase. You lived in a "solid state". It seems that this form of society could be sustainable and still allow humanity to take a larger place in ecosystems by being more numerous and developing certain technologies. They live mainly in villages and not in cities and are scattered throughout the landscape. It mainly uses human labor. The agricultural form is the most advanced level of sustainable form of society that we know man has been able to develop.
The social form of industrialization from about 1700 has intensified humanity's extraction of resources at the same time as the population has increased dramatically. It is through the availability of fossil fuels that this development has been possible. Energy has made it possible to develop technology. Technology has increased resource consumption on the planet while the population has increased dramatically. Since the earth's resources are finite, technological development means through increasing resources, that society now stands for a “peak everything”. It also means that the overall impact on ecosystems is dramatic.
All in all, it can now be said with certainty that the impact of humanity on the planet's ecosystem is so great that its balance is out of phase to the point that humanity and many higher animal species are threatened with their existence. It is clear that the social form of industrialization is not sustainable.
What form of society could one then imagine that allows humanity to live in any other form than as hunters and gatherers? With a combined knowledge of the historical development, it is above all the population density in the form of society that determines the extent to which humanity can utilize more resources than a hunter and gatherer takes. The higher the technical level, the fewer people. That's the equation. If humanity were small enough, one could live on the level that today's Western society constitutes. It is possible that humans can live at Norm Lund's level and then be between 50 -500 million. Since this form of society has not been tested, no one really knows if it is possible. Implementing a higher technical level with such a small population is challenging and we also do not know if it is possible to take care of waste and generate regrowth to the extent needed.
Perhaps with a population of 100 million people on the planet and combined with a minimized use of resources, that it is possible to live at a reasonably high technical level, somewhat similar to the one we have today, and still live sustainably with ecosystems so that existing and future generations of humans and all other life forms on the planet can survive.
The transition to a sustainable form of society is in any case as great from today's industrial society as it has been from the Neanderthal society to today's modern luxury life.