I read an interesting book about energy and the world’s worrying lack of it a while ago.
Without Hot Air
The author takes us through a fairly credible back-of-the-envelope analysis of our energy needs. Discussion centres around the UK and covers replacing our coal-based energy infrastructure with renewable sources of energy.
It was certainly eye-opening reading, I’ve long been suspicious of the government’s “Don’t leave your TVs on standby” propaganda. I fully understand that there is a coming crisis, and certainly we shouldn’t be wasting energy but solutions are never going to come from individuals, it must come from action by countries and new science.
It seems the biggest thing most of us can do to make a difference is stop travelling by air (for me this is an easy option - I love flying but the whole Airport Experience leaves me cold and angry. I haven’t flown for 2 years).
The part in the book about Geothermal energy was particularly interesting. I got quite excited about Geothermal when I realised you can dig a few holes in your garden and heat your house for free (ok, kind of free, plus a little bit of electricity for pumps). I hadn’t quite scaled it up to huge population-based power stations sucking all the heat from the earth leaving an icy crust behind.
It’s humbling to consider the huge expenditure of energy involved in transporting food and clothing, things humans need for survival (although maybe not sourced from all 4 corners of the world), that’s before you start thinking about the components that make up my very fancy laptop.
Call me selfish, but I’m going to continue indulging my self in the convenience of leaving my television on standby, satisfied that my energy-saving lightbulbs, lack of air-travel and modified driving style will have no effect whatsoever on the coming energy apocalypse!