Families and businesses consume increasingly large amounts of resources. The resulting flows of matter, energy, and people are so huge that they cause secondary effects, such as traffic congestion, waste accumulation, and air, water and soil pollution. A possible response to these ungovernable situations and unmanageable fears can be identified in a triple principle: reduce, simplify, and link up the flows. It's a difficult task, which entrepreneurs, institutions, and consumers have already initiated. This book, without subscribing to a facile optimistic outlook, attempts to explore and assess these endeavours. The containment of resource consumption is certainly hard to achieve for the deep-seated mindset that is accustomed to not considering human behaviour's long-term consequences. The volume's final section reflects upon the meaning of time: in order to end the ecological crisis we must re-invent our attitude towards the future and intergenerational relationships.
Giorgio Osti teaches Sociology of the Environment and the Territory at the University of Trieste.