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Going at it from the fundamental equation of sustainability, which is:

sustainable+unsustainable=unsustainable

... then clearly based on current technology, a genuinely sustainable renewable system requires massively less power throughput, because of the ecological impacts of the waste associated with the current technology.

But on the other hand, our economies have never "tried" to do it, in the sense of operating under rules of behavior that reward ecological sustainability and punish ecological unsustainability ...

... so the premise that we haven't done it yet so we can't do it ever is not one that I buy.

Rather, its an open question. We have to get to sustainability all around to get to sustainability, and its an open question whether we can. Given the alternatives, of ecosystem crash and of power down, I favor pushing ahead on all fronts and trying to get there.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 25th, 2013 at 03:36:15 PM EST
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Well, locally we have examples (both good and bad) of trying to deal with lower consumption of raw materials and energy, or at least lower civilian consumption of raw materials and energy. I am mainly thinking about war times, but blockades serves as well.

For example, the Swedish response to the lack of oil during WWII included rationed oil, wood gasifiers, but also promotion (and I think expansion) of public transport and promotion of biking (saw a lovely little piece of propaganda where the husband does not want to bike because "I am a grown man, biking is for boys", but the wife pushes it with patriotism and health arguments. Wife wins of course and husband becomes stronger and healthier - indeed more manly then before).

Promoting and expanding public transport and biking can be done (and should be done). In addition city planning can be done to decrease commutes and spreading services so that basic services are within walking distance. These actions would save energy (wheter for powering down or using for something else) as well as promoting health, public interaction and human scaled neighbourhoods.

Hm, going of on a tangent apparently. What I meant to say is that decreasing power use while increasing utility is very possible indeed, and there are examples of it being done.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 03:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... silver bullet solutions, to kill the (evidently magical) beast with one hit.

I think we need to pack our shell with as many silver BB's as we can, blast away, then pack another round.

So I am all for pursuit of task efficiency of across the board, and if the end-result is neither power-up nor power-down but rather power-stabilize and improved standard of living through technical improvements ...

... well, if its powered by sustainable, renewable power, fine with me.

In these discussions, the "all eggs in one baskets" types have the forum discussion advantage of always knowing the answer, since their silver bullet is always the answer to every question, but I don't believe that complex systems are amenable to single solution answers.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Jul 26th, 2013 at 12:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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