Daily Thoughts 01/15/2012
I finished reading The Ecotechnic Future Envisioning A Post Peak World by John Michael Greer. He writes about how over several generations our society will collapse because of loss of access to critical resources like petroleum. In his view fossil fuels will not be replaceable. I disgree with this. He outlines how our society will start to lose its culture, faith in science, and people will actually have to start preserving many of our ideas for future generations because of an eminient decline over several generations.
There is quite a bit on how cultures failed then declined. John Michael Greer talks about the cultural losses when Rome fell. He describes which knowledge was saved and which knowledge was lost. I found it very interesting.
I think there are new solutions coming into play based on systems thinking which will solve many of our current environmental and energy problems. For example, there are new forms of ocean based energy which are only minimally tapped. The Pelamis Wave Power is an excellent example of this. http://www.pelamiswave.com/aboutus/about-us There is also high altitude solar energy and wind energy.
A solid example of high altitude wind energy generation are energy kites. http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5538 Another example of high altitude solar power is Stratosolar. http://www.stratosolar.com/ This has a number of advantages over space based solar power systems. High altitude solar energy can be repaired more easily and doesn't have to be launched into orbit which is a tremendous expense.
I think there is more than enough energy, it is just from more diverse sources than people previously used.
Solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass are mapped for the United States with potential resources http://www.nrel.gov/gis/biomass.html. High altitude wind energy, ocean energy (wave, tidal, and otec) is not included in the equation. Also, there is not enough discussion of small scale hydroelectric or distributed hydroelectric that does not block rivers. If you go to the fringes, there are questions about solar power satellites as well.
In a similar way, I think people are starting the process of rethinking manufacturing around much more localized venues. There is a real desire to bring manufacturing back home to the United States.. http://makerfaire.com/ The Maker movement is very much geared towards this. Also, 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly. http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/jamais-cascio/open-future/material-issue
This has reintroduced more local centers of innovation that are not necessarily that mainstream. People are building spaces like Techshops, Hacker Spaces, and Fab Labs. There is tremendous potential for innovation. http://www.fabathome.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
As an afterthought, I would like to say there is quite a bit of interest in sustainability in the library community. I recently joined the Linked In Group for Sustainability Librarians and am following the blog Sustainable Libraries http://sustainablelibraries.org/
I have started reading Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson. William Gibson has a wonderful ability to make sentences. This is one of the reasons I have liked his writing so much. Occasionally he comes up with incomparable ones. Here is an example from P. 45 of this book. "It indicates a kind of maturity, an understanding that every future is someone else's past, every present, someone else's future." You have to love this ability to weave words. It is why I liked reading his science fiction novels so much.
I read some more of Distrust That Particular Flavor. William Gibson makes the statement that he is going to meet Alberto Manguel in Spain and that Alberto Manguel new Jorge Luis Borges personally. This sets my mind wandering. There is something wonderful about William Gibson, Alberto Manguel and Jorge Luis Borges connected together through even the most tenuous of threads.
Congressional Quarterly Researcher has a Research Report on the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It should be interesting reading. Katel, Peter. “‘Occupy’ Movement.” CQ Researcher 22, no. 2 (January 13, 2012): 25-52.
Mountains of Books Become Mountains