Tag Archives: Energy

Nation-scale Energy Sustainability May Be Closer Than It Appears


More and more often I am seeing articles like this one, describing how wind, solar, and hydropower are making fossil fuel-powered energy plants increasingly obsolete.  The long term survival of humanity and all life on the planet may hinge on how many humans we load onto the planet, how much energy we each use, and how much pollution is associated with that energy.  Sustainable sources have a lot less pollution associated with them than traditional sources, and this is largely a result of manufacturing processes rather than operating outcomes.  When whole countries start becoming self-sufficient on alternative, cleaner power sources, everyone benefits.  Our long term future depends on achieving complete, long term sustainability, and every country will have to invest in sustainable power if they are to support a clean (survivable) environment.

Thanks for reading — Tim

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How Can Civilization Avoid the Population Explosion?


Looking back on my handful of decades of observation, I agree with published experts who see the pace of change in technology and possibly in human civilization accelerating. Population charts also show a rapid upswing that will eventually exceed our resources and infrastructure, but a number of efforts to avoid disaster are ongoing, most relatively weak and some wrong-headed, but they are better than nothing. More importantly they may end up buying much needed time to cope with the negative consequences of the population explosion.  But will it be enough?  And how do we avoid enabling the population to continue to skyrocket-to-disaster? Continue reading

Important Question for your Legislators: Can Growth Continue Indefinitely and, If Not, What Follows It?


Hindsight is golden – no question about that.  All through the recent election season I pondered what the right question was to ask legislators and, of course, it hit me days after the election: “Do you think population and economic growth can continue forever and, if not, what do you think will happen when the trend reverses?”  This and similar questions should be at the top of everyone’s list, not just today but every day for decades to come. Continue reading

Conservation – An Important Part of Our Lives Now and in the Future


How will we live when fossil fuel reserves have almost run out?  Scientists and students of human history accept that human population will continue to explode until the energy sources fueling this incredible expansion start to run out.  It is clear that a collapse of civilization will occur, probably over a period of decades in the mid-to-late 21st century.  The change will be too rapid to cope with effectively, especially given skyrocketing energy costs and infrastructure breakdowns.  The magnitude of the disasters involved will vary depending on how soon we wise up as a species, improve our long-range planning, and get serious about mitigating the coming challenges. While substitute energy sources will be developed quickly, the sheer numbers of humans being born onto the planet, day by day, may exceed our ability to build and deploy the replacement hardware and infrastructure, and the inability of most people to afford it may be an additional problem.  

In the aftermath people will live quite differently from how we live today.  After a period of decline that might last several decades, or perhaps a century, what remains will stabilize and coalesce into a new human civilization with some significant differences from what we know today.  For instance, energy consumption per person will need to be a tenth or less of what people currently consume in North America.  Here are a few ideas that might describe how we will live then. Continue reading