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I'm not getting the gist of your analogies. conservation can legitimately be compared to caloric restriction, but wind and solar are more like planting your own garden. Let's explore that relationship more. a calorie is a legitimate unit of energy. in the 50's it took approximately one calorie of fossil fuel to grow one calorie of food. Today, 10 calories of fossil fuel are used to grow one calorie of food. to my understanding this is ~excluding~ the calories consumed to transport, refrigerate, and cook the food. [source: "What a way to go: Life at the end of empire" - a must see documentary] This is acceptable when you have an unlimited local source of fossil fuels. but we don't, and we all know it, yet we remain stubbornly in denial. think of it in terms of radical self-reliance. it's like we have a civilization in the black rock desert that thinks it's living a carefree, wonderful existence, ignoring that that existence depends on a flow of water, food, and other life-critical goods from outside the community - by definition that is not only unsustainable, but it puts you at the mercy of forces outside your control. eventual result: wars and other problems. the forte of the human species is supposed to be adaptability. we have adapted ourselves into a tenable situation - a house of cards, if you will: lose access to cheap oil, lose bridges/roads to an earthquake, lose your monocrop to drought or pestilence, etc., and you're in a world of hurt with no backup plan. my personal belief is the real culprit is reductionism. we look at each problem like it exists in a bubble. we need cheap food, so let's monocrop so we need less labor. oh look, monocrops create pest problems, so lets use cheap fossil fuels to create pesticides or genetically modify the crops. and oh look, monocrops deplete the nutrients in the soil, so lets fertilize using cheap fossil fuels... each step along the way, you create new problems and new complexity wherein the whole shebang falls apart if one element in the chain is threatened. take electricity generation. all it takes is one solar flare like the Carrington Event in 1859, and the entire grid goes down with devastating effects: we need to be developing robust holistic solutions to all of our problems. distributed clean power generation. distributed food production. distributed means for potable water. I'll have more to say later, but this is a start. gotta run and poke a fire.
Toggle Commented Mar 5, 2010 on Energy Cornfield at heathervescent
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Mar 5, 2010