The Sustainabillity Illusion

A great amount of time and effort is going into what is called sustainable activities such as growing food organically and converting to energy efficient vehicles. These activities are worthwhile and should be encouraged but they are insufficient. We lived in a world that could have been considered sustainable hundreds of years ago but no one would want to live like that today. A tremendous percentage of our time would be consumed in trying to get enough to eat. Today we use energy to grow, process and market the food we eat. We use energy in almost everything that we do. There are many ways to grow food that reduces the amount of energy required. We now grow farm raised fish in raceways that are extremely energy efficient. Less than half the amount of fuel is used as compared to growing the fish in ponds. The use of diesel fuel has been completely eliminated with the new process. The energy used is electrical energy that comes from the burning of fossil fuel.

It took millions of years to sequester the carbon that is now in the form of fossil fuel. We have extracted and burned a huge amount of it as a source of energy in less than 200 years. That amount of carbon spewed into the atmosphere will have a profound affect on life on this planet. Great harm has already been done but the tragic part is that it probably won’t stop until every last ounce of fossil fuel is gone. It is frightening to think about what our environment will be like when that happens. Life adapted to the environmental change that took place over the millions of years that it took to put the carbon in an inactive state. Life cannot evolve fast enough to adapt to the changes that are happening over a few hundred years.

Almost everything that we do involves the use of energy. Most of that energy comes from burning fossil fuel. The only thing that can prevent an environmental disaster from happening is the quick development of a cheaper source of energy in a usable form. Not enough effort is going in that direction. We do our part to engage in sustainable activities but sustainability will not happen until the energy problem is solved. We should become active in promoting change in the political processes toward aggressively going after a solution to our energy problem. Identify the political leaders who understand the problem and vote for them.

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