Everything that we do in today’s world requires energy. Walking, talking, driving, watching TV all requires energy. We generally think of it as electricity, but the electricity we use to power our lives was converted from another form of energy. Now, before anyone thinks that this is some sort of global warning article, it’s not. This is about something else.
In reality, all of the industrial and physical activities that we do on the planet uses energy derived primarily from the Sun. All of the chemical energy we expend to generate power is derived from the Sun through the biological food chain that has existed for millions of years. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to regenerate that fuel supply in the short space of time that is the human lifespan. Not only that, but our energy generation technology can only extract up to 50% of the available energy within the fuel in question.
The big problem isn’t whether we should or shouldn’t use the fuel; that’s been decided for us as it is. We have to because it is the kind of fuel that we as a people can easily extract and use. But how long will the supply last? The problem now is that there will be a massive increase in energy use as the more than two billion people in China, India and Latin America aspire to and achieve the living standards of the Western world’s middle class, in terms of energy usage. Fortunately, there is a push to try to offset as much of the energy usage as possible using solar and wind power.
I’m worried that our children and their children may have issues powering their lives and that future conflicts will be over this sort of basic issue. I certainly hope that’s not the case and that we can find a new way to generate the energy we rely on to enrich our lives.