Energy: An unsustainable way of life

February 16, 2013 3:30 pm

EarthHaving the energy to walk outside, in my opinion, is one of life’s great pleasures, nothing seems to fill me with such a feeling of utter content and well-being than a nice stroll outside, often in the dead of night when the breeze is cool and with one of those nice, roll it yourself herbal blend cigarettes to compliment the eerie quiet one often encounters at twenty past four in the morning. It is not the peace and quiet that draws me out at this time in the morning though, nor the breeze or even the herbal blend, it is the stars.
At this time in the morning I would expect to see anywhere from two to two thousand stars dotting the blackened sky above my garden deep in the forgotten backwoods of England, many of those that can be seen could be very similar to our own star, the Sun and it is to this star that we owe our entire existence, for without it, we would not have a solar system to live in at all.

There are many different types of stars, from red giants to white dwarfs, trillions and trillions of them all over the place and of all different shapes and sizes, usually consisting of a few vital elements such as hydrogen and helium and they all have one thing in common, they are all extremely fucking hot!
Its been a long time since I’ve had any physics lessons but if what I remember is correct the energy converted by stars is down to a thermonuclear reaction happening in their inner core, the conversion of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe into helium via a series of reactions that include the fusion of four hydrogen nuclei, protons, into a single helium nucleus of two protons and two neutrons.

What can certainly be said is that, we back here on Earth are careening towards a crossroads that could ultimately seal our fate and place fixed limits and restrictions on technological progress and human advancement. On one side of the road we can carry on the way we are and hope for the best as our reproduction rate, energy consumption and entropy grow endlessly out of control.

The second path would need us all to put down our arms and set aside our differences to work together on what is our greatest threat and create a way for ourselves to continue to exist without destroying the planet (or each other).

The third path is a rough one, it has never been walked before and would need the same commitment and team work that the second path called as well as new and unknown dangers and problems to solve. This is the path to another home, moving on, up and out. Somewhere out in the vast expanse of our universe are other planets orbiting stars, in fact there are possibly trillions of little worlds like our own orbiting their stars “Goldilocks zones” in such a way that the conditions needed for life are already there, maybe they just need a little helping hand to get things kick started? Terraforming a distant planet to become habitable for humans may sound like science fiction but there are companies out there that have already taken the first step.

Richard Branson’s latest venture Virgin Galactic would focus on the shiny new “Space Tourism” market as well as also, given the technology, on mining asteroids and other NEO’s (Near Earth Objects) for their resources. This sounds ridiculous but it is true, and why the hell not? It’s not like we’ve got anything better to do in space.

Whatever the solution is we need to find it awfully quick to survive the ordeal relatively unscathed but, in order to do that there needs to be a major reevaluation on our way of life and the primitive burning of fossil fuels will likely be the first to go, should the situation ever actually take place. At current, the decision would seem to be carry on the way we are going with the same megalo-maniacal mindset that was responsible for Richard Nixon getting a second term in the White House, Julian Assange being held prisoner for two years without trial and half the Indian cricket team match fixing for money. The problem is we just don’t know any better and it takes something to completely blow up the back burner after sitting on it for so long for us to take any notice at all.
There is too much profit to lose and not enough to personally gain by doing the right thing.

The so-called “Energy Crisis” is not a recent development as crisis go. The human race has struggled to discover, or invent, a mechanism for perpetual power for centuries and that search continues to this day. We’ve had the Tesla Coil, wind farms, kinetic generators harnessing energy from winds and the movements of waves in oceans and thus far, we haven’t even come close. Or have we?

Could the solution have already been discovered but shunned? Nuclear power has been around for decades and has always been completely shrouded in a fog of controversy and taboo, places like Chernobyl and just recently Fukushima would probably not be as well-known if it wasn’t for the disasters that occurred there. But the pro’s outweigh the con’s in my opinion with nuclear energy and it is foolish to let past experience dictate the future as it can never prove it.Georgia guildstones

The Georgia guild stones, in (you guessed it) Georgia, USA, claim that an ideal population of the earth would never grow above the one hundred million mark, to put that into perspective that is 0.001 percent of the current population of the planet. There are many other strange and apocalyptic messages inscribed on them in several different languages and very little is known about the people who put them there.

I don’t take those mysterious stones as seriously as some people I know do, but I do believe that they may be onto something with regards to the health of our galactic home. At present we are living on the slowly dying carcass of the only known planet in the entire multiverse with the ability to harbour life, but this was not always they case, there was a time when Earth was the crowning glory of our galaxy, an ineffably beautiful blue sphere that would one day become the home to Iphone’s and television and The Daily Mail newspaper. It seems such a shame to me that such a beautiful planet can be so violently savaged everyday for the profit of the very species it made possible. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

If you look at our overall situation in terms of the second law of thermodynamics we are a closed system here on this planet, we can only use what energy we have at the moment coming from the sun and as soon as our supply runs out when the sun dies in about five billion years we will inevitably perish. The problem with living within a closed system is that the entropy of that system can only increase because no new energy is being introduced into it, and we do not have enough new, high-grade usable energy to reverse that entropy. This is a very basic, very sloppy explanation of the second law of thermodynamics, a subject in which I am not an expert but do have some interest in and I would recommend further research to anyone interested in finding out more about thermodynamics or the nature of energy and entropy.

However the problem is not thermodynamics, these are merely the rules of nature and we have no control over them whatsoever. If one does not obey the rules of the game then one will find it extremely hard to win or even finish said game. Personally I think that we as humans have conditioned ourselves to care less about our own continuity and focus more on grabbing as much for ourselves as we can in the time we have, and why not?Crowd

If only we’d have invented converse trainers two hundred years earlier, If only 3D television was around in the eighteen hundreds. If this was so maybe we would have realised earlier that all the fun and games couldn’t last forever and that the time given for serious thought about literally saving the human race from ourselves may have been just that bit longer.

We don’t have much time left, It was estimated in 2009 that by 2055 all proved oil reserves would gone, by 2072 all natural gas would be gone and by 2128 all coal would have disappeared and when that time comes around you will find me at a crossroads standing in the middle of a pentagram at midnight, waiting for the opportunity to haggle me a warm place to sleep for all eternity, because trust me, there wont be many left when the bell finally tolls.

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