What’s That Got to do with People?

It is important to understand the energy relationships of the ecosystem for two reasons:

1. We are part of the ecosystem and we can not survive without it, but really our individual comfort and satisfaction are not as important as the welfare of our communities. They can’t survive either.

2. Maybe it is even more important that we realize the relationship between MONEY and ENERGY. That would be, of course, an idea of how the economy relates to the ecology. When I consider the following sequence of factual statements, I end with the conclusion that we need to do a lot more thinking on this subject before we continue to try to cure a problem by doing more and more of what caused it in the first place. What’s your conclusion?

a. Whenever we use energy to do work, the energy changes from a higher form to a lower form. Because there is no such thing as 100% efficiency, some of the energy is lost, commonly as heat, a waste product or byproduct that is released into the environment.

b. Most of our energy for doing the work of staying alive and also the work of maintaining our communities (road work, driving around town, making things for us to buy) most of this comes from burning organic molecules. What happens when we burn organic molecules? A big molecule changes into a bunch of small molecules and the chemical energy (that I referred to above as organic energy) bonds that were keeping them together is released. So, an organic molecule is burned, some of the energy is used to do work, while heat and water and carbon dioxide are the byproducts. This happens in our bodies (as metabolism, see below) and it happens in our communities.

c. Our usable energy is a resource that comes from the earth. As stated before, the SOURCE of organic energy is plants, because plants make organic molecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and a few other things). Plants are the only source of energy for most of the life processes of our bodies and our communities. Oil, coal, gas were generated by plants and animals that were fossilized during the carboniferous age. We will not get more from that source than whatever is already in the earth.

d. There are also other resources that come from the earth that will be discussed in a later section.

e. Money is nothing more than green paper unless it has a relationship with resources. Money has no value. The vale of money lies in its relationship with resources.

Money of value is related to resources; resources come from the earth. That is why Ponzi schemes always eventually crash.

If we want to reach a sustainable relationship with the earth, we must look to our money and consider what we do with it. Only balance is sustainable, in goods, molecules, resources of any kind, and money. Growth is not sustainable, and as the resources become exceeded – growth is impossible.

Sustainable Balance

Everything in the universe that we can study is about balance, that is, it requires balance to maintain. Without balance, there is no such idea as sustainability. Well, there is the idea, but it is insane. If something gets smaller and smaller until it disappears, that is not sustainability; if something starts eating and gets bigger and bigger until it is bigger than the earth — that is not sustainability (but it does describe modern corporations, doesn’t it ☺. Balance is where its at if we wish to survive.

If there were no death there could be no life; therefore death can not be considered the enemy (but it is one of the best ways to sell stuff).

If a man has ten sons, is he then required to divide his lands into ten plots, none of which are sufficient to support a family? That is not balance and it is not sustainable; he is not providing for his future.

Balance between humans and the ecosystem.

Balance between oxygen and carbon in the ecosystem.

Balance in the water cycle.

I am not good at physics. Probably I could quote something there if I were, but I do know that all of life is about balance. If you know anything about physiology, the balance of salts in your blood. Everything. Temperature. The same is true at the level of the individual cells.

Therefore – the obligation of stewardship is to understand the balance. Do not assume everyone and everything is just like you. Study facts, also study convictions and opinions and as you do be wary of the desperate extremes of people who are so afraid of life that they can’t listen to reality but instead make up pretty stories (or horrid stories if they want other people to join them in their pit of fear)..

If we really want sustainability, we will have to nurture the balance of life. Nothing else is sustainable.

Power of Thinking

“I see a system failing,” Ms. Menon said. “It is doing something, but it is not solving the problem.” quoted in the New York Times March 13.

As Indian Growth Soars, Child Hunger Persists

Doesn’t it make you want to cry when you open the above link and see the children suffer? And read about the reality they face.

“. . .‘serious’ rates of hunger persist(ed) across Indian states that had posted enviable rates of economic growth in recent years, including Maharashtra and Gujarat.”

How much longer will we cling to the belief that growth will lift us out of our global problem that we created by excessive growth?

Economic growth is based in goods.  Money is a promissory note to deliver goods.  On this earth — in this earth ecosystem — all goods come ultimately from the earth.

The earth has reached its capacity; it can not grow more goods than it already is growing.  Yet the economists (that is, people who deal in money) continue to believe that economic growth will cure our problems that are caused by excessive GROWTH.

Why do we continue to believe this strange, toxic mantra that only works when goods are plentiful?  Why do reporters not THINK about what they are saying when they tell us that growth, GNP,  is a symbol of prosperity?  Prosperity for whom?  When will we stop evaluating every success in terms of the same growth that is defeating our efforts to achieve success?  What happened to the idea of sustainability?

I think it fell victim to our preference for making money, but that won’t change the fact that sustainable growth is an oxymoron.  Sustainable is possible — but only in the absence of growth.  Why don’t we go for sustainable?  For the children.
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The power to find a better way – a way that will work — begins with the willingness to think outside the circle of our  toxic mantra.

That’s why God gave us a brain.