Industrialisation and globalisation seem to want to just mass produce everything from products to food. The agricultural lobbing groups are given power from the government and do a lot of bad things with disregard to the environment ie. stronger pesticides and pump the livestock full of antibiotics

Do we need to localise and become smaller epicurean style communities to have less impact on the land and become more sustainable

  • I'm voting to close as "primarily opinion based." The question could be improved by focusing on one of the particular issues raised -- industrialization, pesticides, antibiotic use in livestock, etc.
    – LShaver
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:03
  • @LShaver I agree the question is opinion-based, but I'm not sure the answers necessarily would-be. Your suggestion that the question can be fixed by focusing on a particular topic seems to imply that the question is "too broad"?
    – THelper
    Dec 12, 2017 at 13:58
  • @Lshaver I agree with THelper, and I think that the answer from Richard Chambers rescues the question.
    – 410 gone
    Dec 13, 2017 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


Industrialization and globalization don't really want to "do" anything. These are social descriptions to abstract the behavior and actions of people. The problem is that a capitalistic society tends to not allocate costs properly, especially environmental costs, without government regulation. Feedback loops that would ordinarily limit or constrain people and organizational behavior are attenuated and ineffective because there is not a strong and direct consequence to poor behavior.

Localizing and being smaller does not necessarily reduce impact to land and other resources nor is it necessarily more sustainable. What makes for impact reduction and sustainability is having the necessary feedback loops in place so that behavior changes and having the necessary technology that allows people to make the changes.

For example a town that depends on firewood which in turn leads to deforestation as well as health problems due to wood smoke may be turned around by installing solar cell technology and using propane fueled cooking, both of which are products of industrialization.

One type of feed back loop is Law suits by people that are affected by industrial agriculture practices. See this about nitrate contamination of surface water from run off Growers Face Lawsuit for Water Nitrate Pollution however in this case I believe the lawsuit was dismissed With Water Works' lawsuit dismissed, water quality is the legislature's problem so now the feedback changes from direct civil lawsuit to indirect government regulation.

There is also evidence that consumer preference changes affects the practices of industrial farming when those practices have been identified as problematic.

See this article For the First Time, Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals Drops

This year’s report could just be the beginning. In January of this year, the FDA implemented a policy three years in the making: It asked manufacturers to stop selling antibiotics important for human medicine, such as penicillin and tetracycline, for growth promotion in animals. So the sales numbers will likely drop further in the next report.

The 2016 report is also the first time the FDA has broken down antibiotic sales by species. The chicken industry has, thus far, been the focus of reducing antibiotic use. Fast-food companies including McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC have vowed to cut antibiotics from their chicken, and at this point, almost all of the major chicken suppliers have done the same.

  • Do you have any examples of good feedback loops which protect the environment for industrial agriculture? In my example I was trying to get at how industrial agriculture’s negative feedback loop of increasing usage of pesticides damages the soil, where as a smaller organic farm that doesn’t use pesticides wouldn’t have the same negative impact on the land, that was sort of the intention of my argument
    – ben
    Dec 10, 2017 at 21:46
  • @ben see the edits I made to this answer with two feedback loops, lawsuits and consumer preference changes. Dec 11, 2017 at 20:04

One way of defining sustainability is: "Satisfying our need without compromising future generation needs".

This usually comprises environmental, social and economic sustainability (commonly known as the 'sustainability triangle')

If you want to reduce it to one 'opposite to' word my best guess is sustainability is opposite to consumerism.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.