Skip to main content

View Diary: Why is our society contracting? (55 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Patience (4+ / 0-)

    We're living through the end of the coal/oil age, which like Charles II is taking an unconscionably long time a-dying. But once we kick these corpses out of our way, there is virtually unlimited potential in renewable energy. Too many people on the left are treating the upcoming shift to renewables as a chance to force their own slender lifestyles on other people. Now, one has a certain sympathy with this. But it pisses ordinary people off no end. And to no purpose, since renewables will provide us with not less but considerably more power than we have today. Since that power will be almost entirely electrical, adaptations will have to be made in some areas (an electrical passenger plane is a long way off). But I still think that the age of wind and sun power would be more enthusiastically welcomed by Joe Public if he were reassured that he wouldn't be forced into a monastic mode of existence. Such modes are probably healthier and more "reasonable," but we live in a democracy, and most people find them remarkably unattractive.

    "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

    by sagesource on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 03:22:06 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I Wish... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bmcphail

      ...I could agree with you, but solar, wind and any other (geothermal?) renewables are a long, long way away from assuming any meaningful share of world energy consumption, particularly in the area of transportation, where oil is especially important (and farthest away from being replaced--electric cars are still not practical, to say nothing of air travel).  The age of fossil fuels is far from over--they still provide over 80% of our energy.

      We'll need to keep looking for other sources of energy, but the main focus of our efforts should be to create a robust, much less energy (and wealth)-intensive culture.  And I suspect that, as in most other things, education will become far less centralized.

    •  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but....... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bmcphail, qofdisks, shaharazade

      humankind, from what I can see, is on it's way to a quite miserable future.  As a single species we have overwhelmed the planet, overpopulated its environments, polluted its waters, ravaged it's native rainforests, reduced its wild habitats, polluted its atmosphere with greenhouse gasses and greatly diminished its biodiversity.  And this assault is continues.  This simply cannot be sustained without meeting dire consequences, yet I see nothing in the way of ability, power or even will of the worlds leaders to head off an inevitable slide into oblivion.  It's a shame.  We were given such a beautiful planet but the exceptional abilities and intellect that evolved in our species will be the cause of it's destruction.

      You mention that  "a monastic mode of existence", (a sort of simple restrained  life with an elevation of purpose) is "probably healthier and more reasonable" ... "but most people find them (such modes of living) remarkably unattractive."  That may be very true but it may also be the only way to survive and live a reasonably satisfying and sustainable mode of existence.

    •  What you consider "monastic" most people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade

      would consider peaceful and fulfilling.  Society needs to slow down and take better care of each other.  People need to get back in touch with the earth and it's cycles of provision.  
      There needs to be far fewer people on the planet by human will rather than waiting for nature to impose correction upon us.  That imposition of a correction will be far worse than any sustainable lifestyle that we could impose.
      You propose that we live like there is no tomorrow in an exponentially run away state that is about more, more, more.

    •  An electrical airplane may not be needed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW
      (an electrical passenger plane is a long way off)
      The Navy may have found a way to use electrical power (from atomic powered aircraft carriers' reactors) to synthesize jet fuel from carbon dioxide and hydrogen extracted from water.  It would cost about $6 per gallon, but for the Navy it could be cheaper than shipping jet fuel from the US to wherever the carrier is operating.  As oil supplies dwindle, it may be cheaper for civilian use also.  The electricity to do this could come from renewable sources.  
      But I still think that the age of wind and sun power would be more enthusiastically welcomed by Joe Public if he were reassured that he wouldn't be forced into a monastic mode of existence.
      Seventy-five percent of Americans want clean renewable energy now.  How much more enthusiasm do we need?  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:47:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site