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The Timeline of Industrialization

Debra Redalia

That little black line way over to the right is industrialization. Hunter-gathers lasted 1000x longer than industrialization, and agrarian lasted 50x longer. It's time to continue to orient our lives to Nature.


While writing Moving Forward to a Lifely Way of Life and This Very Short History of the Oil Industry Explains Why We Have Toxic Products Today I was looking at things that happened at various points in history. And I had a realization.

Our work here at Lifely isn’t something radically new…it is actually a continuation of the direct human participation in Nature that was occurring prior to industrialization. And this return to Nature will naturally occur after industrialization ends, because Nature is the ongoing foundation of Life.

We don't need to "fight" industrialization. Industrialization cannot sustain itself. All we need to do is withdraw our participation in industrialization and focus on creating a new way of life and industrialization will fall apart. Forests will take over lands where factories used to be. The Laws of Nature will prevail.

As shown in This Very Short History of the Oil Industry Explains Why We Have Toxic Products Today, the oil industry which began in 1859 has only enough oil to continue to fuel industrialization for another 30 years. That would put the entire lifespan of the oil industry at just under 200 years.

Here’s the timeline of Homo sapiens (see the two posts mentioned above for details):

200,000 BC first Homo Sapiens are hunter-gathers who collect the food and other materials they need from the stock existing in Nature.

8,000 BC Humans begin to control Nature by growing plants and domesticating animals. Production of everyday goods is done entirely by hand.

1764 first machines of the Industrial Revolution were developed in Britain.
1793 First textile mill using machines opened in America and the new industrial technology began to spread. This continued for approximately 100 years until even food was manufactured by machines instead of being cooked at home (because the factory workers needed to be fed and no longer had time to cook for themselves)

1859 First oil well drilled, kerosene replaced whale oil for general lighting

1901 Invention of automobiles increased demand for gasoline
1914 Gasoline fueled WW1, leading to the development of military trucks and airplane
1945 Petrochemicals developed during WW2 were introduced into the general public via consumer products. At the same time, television advertising contributed to the development of consumer culture, where social status, values, and activities are centered on the consumption of industrial products.

Putting all these dates together, I really could see how in our entire span of human life on Earth, industrialization is only a blink of an eye. In more than 200,000 years of human evolution, industrialization has been in development for only some 200 years, and our modern petrochemical products and consumer culture has only been in existence for a mere 75 years.

I was trying to visualize this and it took me four days to figure out how to show anything close to the ratios in the image.

Industrialization will inevitably end because industrialization cannot be sustained. But we don't have to continue to participate in the mass destruction of the Earth. We can begin to change our ways now. Indeed, we already have.

Welcome to Lifely!

Quite simply, this blog is about orienting ourselves and our lives to Life, instead of orienting ourselves and our lives to industrial consumerism. Here we are sharing our own journey. You come too. Read more...

Debra & Larry Redalia
lifepartners + soulmates

For more than 30 years we have been delving into the nature and activities of life together. Indeed, this has been and continues to be the very reason we are together. With delight, we research, explore, observe, and even wake each other up in the middle of the night to discuss how life functions and how we can function as life—even while living in the modern world. We each are different from the norm, but we are different in the same way, so we have been able to think outside of the ordinary together and find the extraordinary workings of life.

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