This essay is intended to draw a comprehensive picture of life on Earth, the human journey, and energy's role. The references that support this essay are usually to works written for non-scientists or those of modest academic achievement so that non-scientists can study the same works without needing specialized scientific training. I am trying to in a tiny fraction of the global population. . My hope is that the energy issue can become that tiny fraction's focus. Properly educated, that group might be able to help catalyze an energy effort that can overcome the obstacles. That envisioned group may help humanity in many ways, but my primary goal is manifesting those technologies in the public sphere in a way that nobody risks life or livelihood. I have seen too many wrecked and prematurely ended lives (, ) and plan to avoid those fates, for both myself and the group’s members.
At this juncture, I will ask my readers to perform an exercise that I first saw described by Peak Oil advocate , which is to lay aside data and graphs and just think about how energy makes everything in our daily lives possible. Think about your food, water, mode of transportation, and materials that comprise your home and possessions, and think of the role that energy played in providing them. Think about the energy that you use each day in powering your home and in your transportation, even if it is just walking. Then imagine running out of energy. When you flipped on a light switch, nothing happened. When you turned on the tap, no water came out. Your refrigerator stopped working, food deliveries to your community ceased, and no electricity, oil, gas, coal, or even wind or water power was available. Everything in your life would come to a sudden halt. When people have tried to demote energy below spirituality, social relations, or even made it irrelevant to economics, my question is for them to see what they can forego the longest: prayer/meditation, social interaction, sex, or energy. The fossil fuels burned to power industrial civilization provide several hundred energy slaves for each American and no less than hundreds per person in every industrialized nation. All that those energy-leveraged humans do is direct the energy, like holding the reins of a gigantic beast that each person rides each day. Airline pilots half-joke that they begin their workday by strapping jet airliners to their waists. Without that energy to direct in the myriad ways that industrialized humans use it, modern civilization would come to an abrupt end.
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