Edo way consumed less: book | The Japan Times Online:
Here is an interesting article from the Japan Times. The article is about a book from author Azby Brown, a professor at Kanazawa Institute of Technology. The book describes how conservation techniques from the late Edo Period (1603-1868) can be emulated today.
"The lifestyle of people in Japan around 200 years ago, which was guided by the principle of consuming less, would help to create a sustainable society in the 21st century, an American expert on Japanese architecture said."
Brown states that people in the Edo Period overcame many of the same problems confronting present-day society — issues of energy, water, materials, food and population — in unique ways.
One of the points that Brown makes which I completely agree with is how in the United States, most Americans live in homes that are far larger then they actually need.