A new study finds that Britons are consuming less than they did a decade ago, with similar patterns being seen across Europe. Could this be the beginning of a trend in developed countries? Might we be reaching “peak stuff”?
by fred pearce
Will rich societies start consuming less? Could wealth go green? Might parsimony become the new luxury? Heresy, surely, you would say. But it might just be possible.
Take Britain. A new study finds that the country that invented the industrial revolution two centuries ago reached “peak stuff” between 2001 and 2003. In the past decade, Britain has been consuming less water, building materials, paper, food (especially meat), cars, textiles, fertilizers and much else. Travel is down; so is energy production. The country produces less waste, too.