One of the great deceptions of modern times is that humans have only recently become consumerists. This myth/prevarication is propagated by the fanatic environmentalist faction.
Which is not to say they don’t have a good point but they rather ignore why there is a problem and that is overpopulation. It isn’t completely clear how many people we need for humans to continue but it’s between a million and a billion so there’s lots of room for downsizing.
But the string I want to oscillate here is about humans as consumers.
Humans have always been consumers. Back when we (our predecessors) were still in the trees, we consumed fruit of the trees and probably an occasional tree rat or dinosaur descendant. Once we climbed down and embraced the risk of bipedalism, we got busy consuming. Albeit mostly “road kill.”
Once we invented technology we got into big time because we had to be Hunter-Gatherers. Because we were consumers. We’d eat an area of a couple of hours walk radius around our temporary camp down and have to march on to a new area. After the population grew enough we had to develop circuits and territories so we didn’t have to kill (and eat) other bands’ members.
Those movements were the type of consumerism we have now. When we stopped we could make shelters, sleeping and cooking rigs, and tools. But when we moved to the next stop we had to leave behind every thing we couldn’t carry and keep up. And that burden had to include toting children too small to walk themselves. This is part of why we have “marriage.” It’s so the men can carry the women’s stuff while they carry bairns.
Just like consumerism today.
Of course, at some point sedentaryism set in followed quickly by either starvation or the development of agriculture with all its evils. And that may have been the only time – and it’s a big MAY – we’ve worried about sustainment and conservation seriously.
And I sorta doubt that based on some of the evidence.
So sustainability is a valid concern but horribly mangled in presentation.