AbstractIt is proposed that the prefix “retro” can serve as an irreverent, but timely buzzword for the development of new technology to meet human needs. Society has carried out experiments at a very large scale for the last century or so to meet our collective needs though the use of fossil-based fuels and synthetic materials. Those experiments have seemed successful in the short term, feeding more of us and supplying a lot of us with rising standards of living. But the experiments often have failed us in terms of sustainability. A health crisis, global warming, and resource depletion are urgent problems caused by careless use of fossil fuels and related synthetic organic chemicals. The prefix “retro,” as in “retrotechology,” signals a disciplined return to a reliance on nature-based products, as well as a respect for the beauty, but also the fragile character of our natural environment.