Vortrag anlässlich des Herausgebertreffens der Zeitschrift GAIA, 29. und 30. April 2006, Wien
We employ the concepts of socio-ecological regime and regime transition to better understand the biophysical causes and consequences of industrialization. For two case studies, the United Kingdom and Austria we describe two steps in a major transition from an agrarian to an industrial socio-ecological regime and the resulting consequences for energy use, land use and labour organization. In a first step, the coal based industrial regime co-existed with an agricultural sector remaining within the bounds of the old regime. In a second step, the oil/electricity based industrial regime, agriculture was integrated into the new pattern and the socio-ecological transition had been completed. Industrialization offers an answer to the input and growth related sustainability problems of the agrarian regime but creates new sustainability problems of a larger scale. While today’s industrial societies are stabilizing their resource use albeit at an unsustainable level large parts of the global society are in midst of the old industrial transition. This poses severe problems for global sustainability.