I do not think that the complex, capitalist, industrial society in which we Americans now live is sustainable - neither environmentally, nor socially. Moreover, I believe that it will not be sustained, and that it is already in the process of collapsing (I have been documenting elements of that collapse in my blog Sociological Stew under the heading "Zombie America" for several years). I do not know how long it will take, whether I will live to see a total breakdown in political and economic systems, or whether those will occur more than 25 years from now.
These ideas of decline and collapse form the backdrop to my life these days, and I often find myself worrying about little things; such as how will we take temperatures of our ill when all the batteries have run down and there are no more factories to make the compact batteries in digital thermometers? I wonder if anyone have preserved some glass and mercury thermometers somewhere that can be distributed to healers? Will the knowledge of how to make glass and fluid thermometers be retained somewhere.
I understand why people might prefer digital thermometers (less ambiguous to interpret, less risk of breakage and poisoning), but it makes me nervous that one can no longer find mercury and glass thermometers in the stores in my area. It's a technology that, if protected from breakage, can last and continue to be accurate for decades without any energy input.
It's often the smallest things that matter in the long run...