Over a period of 25 years we have experienced a steady growth of consumption and waste in our industrial societies. Now, a reversal of this trend is going on. Deficits and deficiencies of the industrial societies are growing. Crucial points in the unfavorable balance are: the rapid growth of public and other services of low productivity, the rising cost of imported fuels and other raw materials, and the devastation of the natural environment. The difficult adaptation which we will encounter, will challenge and influence our profession. In particular: our methods and our type of work will have to play a most important role; but they will be in demand for other problems than the present ones. Socio-ecological studies may play a major role. Economic units like households, plants, settlements, and regions will have to be analysed by their input of goods and materials, their output in products and wastes in connection with the social benefits gained and produced by them. This type of analysis will be badly needed for the planning of better pathways in production and consumption with a decreased load on the natural resources.