… is from the opening section of Jesse Ausubel’s fascinating January 2015 monograph, Nature Rebounds:
[A]bout 1970 a great reversal began in America’s use of resources. Contrary to the expectations of many professors and preachers, America began to spare more resources for the rest of nature, first in relative and more recently in absolute amounts. A series of decouplings is occurring, so that our economy no longer advances in tandem with exploitation of land, forests, water, and minerals. American use of almost everything except information seems to be peaking, not because the resources are exhausted, but because consumers changed consumption and producers changed production. Changes in behavior and technology liberate the environment.
People who worry that modernity is “unsustainable” without strict government controls or taxes on resource use and patterns of consumption should especially read Ausubel’s monograph.