Steve Mouzon has noted that everyone used to be green:
Originally, before the Thermostat Age, the places we built had no choice but to be green, otherwise people would freeze to death in the winter, die of heat strokes by summer, or other really bad things would happen to them.
At the Old House Web, Matt Grocoff writes a wonderful piece about how people lived in the house he is in now, before the Thermostat Age.
A photograph of our backyard, taken circa 1913, documents several ways in which the Gauss family lived within their means in an elegant cradle-to-cradle, closed loop pattern. They grew much of their own food and canned, preserved and stored it in the cellar. In the far back yard we can see the chicken coop and rabbit hutch where they harvested fresh eggs and meat.
They didn't have indoor plumbing, but "of course there was the lovely outdoor compostable toilet, also known as the outhouse." It all sound so bucolic, but of course it wasn't; indoor plumbing is nice, and Matt acknowledges this, noting " I’m still not sure how they managed Michigan winters in 1901."
But the fact of the matter is, these lessons from the past can be templates for the future. Read it all at Old House Web: How to destroy the planet from the comfort of your own home; Part 2