Japan's sustainable society in the Edo period
We doubt that there is a treehugger among us who is not in love with the simplicity and elegance of Japanese design and art from the Edo period.(the Shogunate, from 1603 to 1867) It appears that this period was also a model of sustainable living, as this recently republished article describes.Japan closed itself off from the world and minimized its contacts with the outside- the complete opposite of globalization that was going on in the rest of the world, first due to British and then American ambitions.
In Japan, they had to become a recycling society. Everything ws a vaulable resource- there were tinkerers, ceramics repairers,even (our favourite) used umbrella rib buyers.
For energy, Edo period Japan was a plant based economy- almost all food, clothing and shelter was essentially plant based, making it essentially a solar-energy based economy.
Oil for lighting was made from sesame and other seeds, wax for candles from trees.
Charcoal for heating and cooking came from branches and brush rather than standing forests.