Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Different Future

Across the street, my neighbours’ son Matthew turned 18 recently and I noticed that he now has a small car to drive to high school. Perhaps my grandchildren ages 2 through 8 presently will also be able to come of age and own or at least drive a car. The possibility is becoming increasingly less likely. I make that bleak observation based on data I have harvested from the World Health Organization and a Population Media site as well as an informative site on energy and fuels called Transition Boulder County.

In the 21st century our world is facing unprecedented challenges because of peak oil and dramatic climate change which drives food scarcity. 18 million people die of starvation or starvation related diseases annually worldwide. The “Age of Oil” supported huge population growth previously but that capability is declining and the human population is exploding. The globe is receiving 77 million additional net gain humans annually. The projection is that human planet expansion will multiply from the present 6.7 billion to anywhere from 9.2 billion to 9.8 billion people in 41 years, that is, by the year 2050. If humanity cannot feed 18 million people that will die in mass in 2009, how will humanity feed an added three billion in 41 years when oil supplies exhaust themselves? (Source:
Hyper-population growth is a subject that few or no leaders are wanting to address. This is a patent instance of short-sightedness from leaders who should be visionaries! (Source: World Health Organization)

If we think that alternative energy will solve the energy crisis, we may be disappointed. According to Michael Brownlee, Boulder, Colorado, , “Alternative energy cannot and will not be able to replace the energy density of oil. Humans burn 85 million barrels of oil daily. That equals a cubic mile of oil annually. In order to equal that vast amount of energy it would take 91.2 million solar panels built every year for 50 years. Or, 102 coal-fired electrical plants built every year for 50 years. Or, 32,500 wind turbines built every year for fifty years. Finally, the alternative of 52 nuclear powered plants built every year for 50 years would equal one year of oil energy.”

Since there is nothing today or in the future that can equal the power of oil, the human race is facing a extremely dissimilar future. We will have to return to basic, simple living, within the energy restrictions of wind, light, water and animal power.

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