Chapter 1Introduction

1.1 Opening Statement

The evolution of human civilization is synonymous with how it meets its energy needs. Few would dispute the human race has become progressively more materially advanced with time. Yet, for the first time in human history, an energy crisis has seized the entire globe and the very sustainability of this civilization itself has suddenly come into question. If there is any truth to the claim that humanity has actually progressed as a species, it must exhibit, as part of its basis, some evidence that overall efficiency in energy consumption has improved. In terms of energy consumption, this would mean that less energy is required per capita to sustain life today than, say, 60 years earlier. Unfortunately, exactly the opposite has happened. We used to know that resources were infinite, and human needs finite. After all, it takes relatively little to sustain an individual human life. Things have changed, however, and today we are told, repeatedly: resources are finite, human needs are infinite. What’s going on?

Some Nobel Laureates (e.g., Robert Curl) and environmental activists (e.g., David Suzuki) have blamed the entire technology development regime, except certain disciplines of their choosing. For instance, Robert Curl would not see anything wrong with chemicals and David Suzuki would actually make living out of selling solar panels, calling them ‘renewable’ (it is these panels that guzzle cancer causing SiO2 fume that are far worse ...

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