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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Renewable energy and human needs

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Reducing industrialisation is the only known method of reversing an environment crisis. It is known because the further back we go in human history, generally speaking, the more humans functioned with ecological sustainability. Ploughing, for example turned out to be unsustainable, but given that when it first began it was accompanied by farmyard manure, it was not as unsustainable for soil as in this latter period.

Plato, and Hesiod before him, both implied that the tendency of civilised humans was to continually degrade. Hesiod believed humankind was destined to degenerate physically and morally from the time of the Golden Age. Plato felt all social change and generated things were destined to decay. As we presently live on a planet in danger of dying from human doings we now know these forecasts were basically accurate.

The ‘problem’ is human attachment to the material; the mistaken belief that long-term human comfort is found in material acquisition or sensory pleasure. This can be seen as the milieu of the animal. It is reticence of the species with a well-developed pre-frontal cortex to experience its full potential. The Buddha shortened this ‘problem’ to just one word: ignorance.

Renewable energy is not a means of reversing an environment crisis. It is hope. Because of the attachment to hope rather than the use of the unique human ability to consider the long term, embodied energy examination of renewable energy has neglected the conditioned need for excessive stuff.

The potential use of wind, sun and wave energy maintains attachment to the refrigerator, hot water, clothes etc. while other cultures found these needs unnecessary.

Renewable energy cannot hope to provide an alternative to an environment crisis for it neglects enquiry into the part it plays in conditioning the civilised to, arguably, unnecessary stuff.

Geoff Dawe, Uki

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