Thursday, September 29, 2011

Delusional Thinking

Normally, I spend some time thinking about my posts and trying not to react off-the-cuff to items in the news and statements by public figures, as these just exist in passing in the grand scheme of things, but I heard a radio talk show host today railing against the idea of windmills and how foolish "green" (renewable) energy was to pursue, when fossil fuels were much cheaper and packed more energy, and could provide energy for 1/4 the cost.

Well, that's true for right now, but I can also go outside without a coat on today and not worry about freezing to death.  What about the future?

Really, what this represents is just the modern incarnation of fable of the grasshopper and the ant, and a stark reminder of how intellectually bankrupt most "mainstream" thinking has become.  Yes, we can use fossil fuels.  Yes, it is cheaper, more efficient, and packs more concentrated energy than solar, wind, tidal, etc.  It's more portable. long is it going to last?  This is such a simple concept -- if we use it up, it's gone.  It's that easy to figure out.

I wish I could capture the tone of the host, the sheer arrogance, the scorn at the suggestion of exploring things other than fossil fuels.  At least admit that they won't last forever...people raise their children with the idea of making them responsible adults and contributing something of value to the world, but why don't they take those same ideals and embrace the idea of guiding society and human civilization to be responsible and of benefit to future generations?

Americans take pride in the feat of their ancestors -- freeing the nation from the Royal yoke of England.  We take pride in electing our leaders.  However, there has long been a small minority of people who think we would be better off with a king or queen, because then the leader of the nation would have an incentive to pass on an intact nation to their heirs.  While this is probably just a fantasy, the reality is that we lack any kind of core guidance and desire to correct the course of industrial civilization much beyond token gestures and feel-good measures that have nothing to do with patching the holes in a rapidly-sinking ship.  

Of course, it doesn't have to be this way.  We could make decisions to move toward more efficient forms of transportation, live, work, shop, and play in small self-contained communities, moderate our energy use, etc, but this won't happen.  Unless we are burning our candle at both ends, people are always going to complain it's too dark. 

What are they going to do when the candle is gone and the lights are never coming back on?

1 comment:

  1. Actually I'm starting to get the point of this sort of thinking. If you have something that is finite, you use it once and that is it, no more, you either wind up never using it at all, waiting and hoping for the right occassion, or you use it immediately and move on with your life. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    But I'm not sure if we got all that much out of exploiting fossil fuels, the main uses of them turned out to be fighting more destructive wars and expanding the world population by a factor of at least seven. I guess the greater destructiveness of the wars will come in handy when its clear the world can't sustain the expanded population.