Sun 15 Dec, 2019 01:23 pm
Industrialism has brought new norms and expectations regarding lifestyles and consumption.
Because fossil fuels and nuclear power are energy sources that have been built up and concentrated over vast spans of geological/astronomical time, they provide incredible amounts of power, and human ingenuity has found ways to use them in so many mundane ways that we have lost the ability to put such high power levels in perspective.
As a result, renewable energy proponents are normalizing the idea that huge numbers of solar panels and batteries can and should be deployed to replace non-renewable power sources, but why aren't they considering the fact that it took the surface of the planet long spans of geological/astronomical time to capture and process the sunlight it took to build up the fossil fuels and nuclear fuels we are currently using?
We can't and shouldn't expect that renewable energy can and should be deployed to maintain the same levels of power and energy use that have become normal within the industrialist paradigm. Instead, we should revise our norms and lifestyle expectations to a post-industrial paradigm in which we do things differently and industrial levels of power and energy usage are reduced to a small fraction of total human activity.
Science and technology are blessings that allow us to achieve a lot with the energy/power and resources we use, but we should also take geology and astrophysics into account with regard to the energy sources we have and the power levels those afford relative to what the sun is delivering on a daily basis.
We should come to grasp that all the living ecological systems of the planet are actually quite efficient at operating within the margins of the energy and resources that are naturally available and thus renewable. Humans as a species are able to apply our intelligence to doing things differently than non-human species that have developed different abilities, but we should take into account the risk we pose to other species and thus the overall sustainability of the biosphere when we fail to grasp the bigger picture of long geological and astronomical processes of which we are a part.