Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Sustainability = Renewable Energy + Time

Everything we need to do to become 100% sustainable boils down to having two things: enough renewable energy and the time to use it.

The good news is that we have more than enough renewable energy available to us to do everything we need. The question is whether we will have enough time to use it, to clean up our global messes before numerous ecological crises become catastrophes, and enough time to allow everyone access to enough food, water, and energy in equitable ways that will reduce the likelihood of conflicts over our limited resources. We know well enough how to do all this, but will we figure out how to get ourselves to actually do it in time?

Do you believe this? Can it be that simple? Well, it is simple to understand, but it is not so simple to make it happen.

Think of anything that needs to be done. Producing enough clean water for everyone, for example. The water itself is plentiful, but it is not necessarily clean or in the right places where people need it. How do we solve those issues? Energy is required to clean the water, or desalinate it, and energy is required to move it from place to place. The other variable is how long it takes to build the water reclamation facilities or desalination plants, or the time it takes for water to be shipped from flooded Northeastern US to parched South Africa.

What about all the pollution caused by mining and burning coal to get enough energy to do what we need? We know theoretically how to convert the wh*** process over to being 100% clean, using some of the energy generated to remove all of the exhaust pollutants, but there will not be much energy left over for us to use, and there will also be big h***s in the ground where the coal used to be. The same kind of thing applies to all other non-renewable sources of energy.

We should be asking ourselves, exactly how much energy would be required for each non-renewable source of energy to be 100% clean. How much will it cost in energy for us to make those energy production sources have zero footprint, as if they had zero effect on the environment? And then we should compare the true and complete cost of non-renewable sources with that of renewable sources.

We have enormous renewable energy available to us that is ultimately all derived from the sun or from geothermal energy already inside the Earth. Solar energy is still moderately expensive to produce, factoring in just the cost of producing and maintaining solar collectors, compared to the unfair, inaccurate, subsidized cost of producing energy from non-renewable sources. But the economics are much better for wind energy, which is already competitive with non-renewable sources. The total amount of geothermal energy available to us near the surface of the earth is thousands of times more than we need.

All of the renewable sources of energy require some construction of collectors to actually capture that energy, and then we have to consider storage and transmission. This construction requires energy as well, and for that, we may initially use some non-renewable sources, but then the energy produced from renewable sources can be used in further construction. The question of economics is whether the energy cost of construction, factoring in the expected costs over the lifetime of all the facilities, is less than the energy we can expect to gain. If net energy is positive, we are good to go.

As a thought experiment, consider what the world would be like if energy were free, completely free. Then we could do anything we knew how to do very inexpensively, almost as free as the energy itself. The remaining cost is time. And time is money, as you know.

Views: 19

Comment by Ezra Ho on April 2, 2010 at 7:02am
Your vision of the world where energy is free somewhat resonates with mine. However, consider what it would take for energy to be free, perhaps if the monetary system were abolished?

Comment by Daniel LaLiberte on April 2, 2010 at 7:10am
Thanks for your comment.

The world where energy is free was only a thought experiment, just to see what remains beyond energy. I don't believe renewable energy would be entirely free, because it still costs something (in terms of energy cost) to build and maintain the renewable energy collectors.

I am not sure what you mean by abolishing the monetary system - if you mean our current fairly corrupt system, then I would agree it would help to abolish it, but we would have to replace it with something better. I believe there is no escaping some form of representation of value, which is what money is. Please see my blog, "Money is information - but does it want to be free?", for discussion of that. And I'll check out yours.
Comment by Ezra Ho on April 2, 2010 at 7:14am
I have read it already, before reading this. I disagreed with your notion of money but did not develop my thoughts on that. Ok, if you don't mind, we can have a discussion of that on either posts.
Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on April 2, 2010 at 12:48pm
Good post, well thought-out.


You need to be a member of Urgent Evoke to add comments!

Join Urgent Evoke

Latest Activity

Ning Admin is now a member of Urgent Evoke
May 17
N updated their profile
Sep 25, 2020
Sophie C. commented on Asger Jon Vistisen's blog post Stinging Nettle
"I love that you've brought this to attention. An extensive database of uncommon but resistant and hardy plants/foods could be developed and organized by climate. Ease of growth and processing should also be taken in to account. I will try to…"
Aug 19, 2020
Meghan Mulvey posted a blog post

Fourth of July on the Lake

This past weekend was the annual celebration at the lake house in Connecticut. It is amazing that the lake is still so clear and beautiful after all these years. The watershed association has done a wonderful job protecting these waters from the damaging effects of development.The wood grill was finally ready to cook on, so we didn't miss the propane tank fueled grill anymore. The food actually tasted fresher than in the past and was easy to keep fueled.Dad was very proud of the solar hybrid…See More
Jul 6, 2020
Asger Jon Vistisen posted a blog post

Stinging Nettle

In this blog post I will focus on a plant that is abundant in our nature, and which is immensely nutritious. It's of course the Stinging Nettle. Let's start with the chemical constituents of this plant:37 % Non-Nitrogen-Extracts19 - 29 % Ash9 - 21 % Fiber4 % Fat22 % ProteinOnce the leaves are drid, their protein content can reach an astounding 40 %, which is much higher than beef, which even under the best of circ**stances can never exceed 31 % protein. In addition the Stinging Nettle consists…See More
Apr 13, 2020
Jonathon McCallum posted a blog post

The meal

It is 7'oclock, I was late home from work due to an assignment that i wanted to get ahead on. By the time I get home I am feeling extremley tired and I cannot be bothered to make a proper meal. I walk to the fridge and open it to see what there is for me to eat. All of the out of date foodstuffs have been automaticaly thrown away by the fridge, they will be recycled tomorrow as animal feed or something. I see i have organic local eggs and some local cheese. Foods are vacc** sealded for easy…See More
Mar 10, 2020
Jean Paul Galea shared a profile on Facebook
Mar 1, 2020
Kevin posted a blog post


FutureToday is 2020/1/1. It is just like yesterday. The war is still continuing. It has started since 2010. In 2010, that year was a horrible year. Almost every energy ran out. Every country’s governments were crushed down at the same time. There were riots everywhere. All of the big company’s bosses were killed xdeadx in the riots. Troops fought each other everywhere. Food was bought up xawayx at once. There were no more food supplies in any shops. The economy was all crushed down. All the…See More
Jan 1, 2020
Namwaka Mooto posted blog posts
Jan 13, 2016
T D updated their profile
Sep 3, 2015
Brook Warner posted blog posts
Aug 25, 2015
Santiago Vega posted blog posts
May 5, 2015
Santiago Vega commented on Santiago Vega's blog post Act 8
May 5, 2015
Santiago Vega posted photos
May 5, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted blog posts
May 2, 2015
Rico Angel Rodriguez posted a photo

public servants

The exchange works directly for state and public workers and servants. It gives them credit in exchange for the amount of public work they contribute to the community. The more constructive they are based off a base rate the more credit they recieve.
May 2, 2015

Follow EVOKE on Twitter

Official EVOKE Facebook Page

EVOKE RSS Activity Feed

© 2023   Created by Alchemy.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service