In the history of civilisation, it has frequently been the case that new techniques have been introduced simply for curiosity, or sometimes because they have benefited a particular individual or group within society. But with the passing of time, societies have organised themselves around the new technologies and their populations have become progressively more dependent on them for the satisfaction of basic needs. Eventually a state of complete dependence is reached.

The current dependence of human populations on fossil fuels is an obvious and extremely serious example. Others include our dependence on electricity and, quite recently, on computer technology.

This insidious form of addiction passes largely unnoticed, although it is often of immense economic and ecological significance.

From the ecological standpoint it is significant that, in the modern cultural setting, the following basic behaviours usually use up much more energy and create much more pollution than they did in the past: seeking in-group approval; seeking to conform; seeking attention; seeking novelty, seeking excitement, seeking variety; seeking comfort; visiting relatives; being selfish; being greedy; and being generous.

The achievement of a sustainable pattern of technometabolism globally will require big changes in the worldviews and priorities of the prevailing cultures worldwide.

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