Growing up and living in a modern, industrialized western society, we tend to forget that our particular way of living is only one of many, and it may actually not be the ideal way. There are thousands of human communities around the world that live in ingenious and sustainable relationships with their natural environment. Hunting, house-building, water-gathering, and family structures often have remained unchanged for centuries, sometimes millenia.
There are the Bajau people, who live in the coral sea near Borneo. They do not live on land, but in houses and boats on the ocean.
There are the moisture farmers of the Atacama desert, who use large nets to collect water from the air.
There are the Inuit of northeastern Canada, who burrow under arctic ice to collect mussels.
There are the Korowai people of West Paupua, Indonesia, who build their houses in trees 35 meters above the ground.
Sadly, it is often the industrialized west that is encroaching on and sometimes causing harm to traditional, sustainable commmunities. Often, quite arrogantly, we think that our industrialized, mechanized society is the "superior" or "first world" model. But the Human Planet film series suggests quite the opposite. As resources decline and pollution and climate change increase, we in the "west" could learn a lot from these traditional communities. The concept of "sustainable living" may be a new concept for us, but for millions of people in the world, sustainability is a very old concept, one woven into the very fabric of how they live in this world.