By Lolly Tindol
Where does the seemingly limitless energy that fuels modern society really come from — and is that perception of limitlessness delusional? It’s time to remake the energy economy as if nature, people and the future mattered.
This book by the Post Carbon Institute is an excellent teaching tool for those who don’t know about climate change, those who are on the line about it and activists who need more data.
Every citizen who is “energy literate” — that is well grounded in energy fundamentals — will have opinions on the above questions and be able to engage in the crucial societal conversation about energy policy. “Energy” or “The Big Energy Book” as we call it for its large format and vivid photography, offers a compelling introduction to energy literacy, helping readers see through industry hype and to reject political rhetoric inconsistent with the realities of our energy predicament. For activists already engaged on these issues, “Energy” will deepen one’s thinking about the philosophical underpinnings and trajectory of modern, industrial growth.
“Energy” takes an unflinching look at the systems that support our insatiable thirst for more power (and the ideas behind those systems) along with their unintended side effects. From oil spills, nuclear accidents, mountaintop removal coal mining and natural gas “fracking” to wind power projects and solar power plants, every source of energy has costs. Virtually every region of the globe now experiences the consequences of out-of-control energy development. No place is sacred; no landscape is safe from the relentless search for resources to power perpetual economic growth. Even the composition of the global atmosphere is affected. CO2 emissions in the atmosphere from our primary energy sources have risen precipitously since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and have caused untold damage to the world around us. A few examples of the effects of higher levels of CO2 are ocean acidification, extreme weather events and sea level rise. Status quo energy companies have externalized the cost of this damage onto the public and the environment so the expense doesn’t figure into their bottom line or affect their profits.
“Energy” features the writings of more than 30 leading thinkers on energy, society and ecology. Collectively, they illuminate the true costs, benefits and limitations of all our energy options. Ultimately, the book offers not only a deep critique of the current system — which is toxic to nature and to people — but also a hopeful vision for a new energy economy that fosters beauty and health, emphasizes community-scale generation and supports durable economies, not incessant growth.
All are welcome. Refreshments. Free books available at OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology in Fayetteville.
OMNI350 Climate Change Book Forum meets from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5 in the Walker Room of the Fayetteville Public Library. We will discuss the book “Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth.”