The Post-Consumptive Vision: Can you see it?

A reader writes, in reference to my blog a few weeks back:

Prophetic words, Brian, bless you.
Last week I was in Bavaria, southern Germany. Almost every south-facing roof was fully covered in solar panels, which I was told will pay for themselves in 5 years, and then more. There has been a government tax incentive to install them, but apparently the German government is removing that soon (is it costing the federal govt too much?).
The panels may not look too beautiful in the lovely Bavarian countryside, but after the initial surprise, I got quite used to seeing them, and then began to ask ‘why does that roof NOT have solar panels on it?’! Why can’t we do the same?
The UK is at least 10 years behind mainland Europe in all these areas, including recycling. Almost every litter bin we saw was already colour-coded for either paper only, or metal only, or plastic only etc, ie ready-sorted for recycling. One of the very few ‘mixed’ garbage bins I saw was being re-sorted (by hand!) by the garbage man, who was separating the contents into paper, metal, plastic etc!
HOWEVER. . there is no speed limit on the Autobahns, and as we drove at over 100 mph, we were continually being overtaken by cars which must have been doing 150 (yes, I do mean MILES per hopur, not kms!). We can be selectively environmentally friendly when we wish.

If the mills and railroads “built” the 19th century, and if the automobile and highways and computer built the 20th century, what else will build the 21st century but solar, wind, and other renewable energy, along with the retrofitting of existing homes, transport, and buildings for greater energy efficiency? But this kind of growth is inherently different – because it is pre-engineered for sustainability – for a regenerative economy, not an extractive-consumptive one. Thanks for helping us envision this with you in Bavaria. We have to see it everywhere.