A Difficult Transition --
Energy, Lifestyle, and Population
From Reflections on the Worthiness of Human Creation by K. T. Chang
Recorded human history since the dawn of civilization has seen a continuous and upward progression in standard of living and population count. In the past century, however, the rate of change took off out of control, placing the world in a fantasy land of unsustainable energy consumption. I have proposed a guideline for long-term balance involving the three aspects of living: energy management, lifestyle, and population count. In addition, there is a need to provide a margin of safety, which means never to allow the reserve to fall below 5000 years of consumption at the current rate.
Take oil, for instance, today’s known reserve of 1 trillion barrels divided by 5000 means an allowable usage rate of 200 million barrels a year, or 548,000 barrels per day. This compares with the actual world consumption at over 80 million barrels a day. If mankind is to regain my proposed margin of safety, we need to work in three areas: a retreat in lifestyle, a major cut in population, and an assignment of a majority of agriculture to industrial fuel production. It is noteworthy that none of the world’s religious teachings touch upon these activities, although religion should, I think, deal with the creation of life and the means to sustain it. Instead, in religion there is too much anxiety over death of the individual life, notwithstanding the fact that far more new lives come to the world than depart from it. The wishful thinking of an eternal afterlife has never been seriously studied in proper perspective to determine if it can be desirable. At best, it is an imagined existence without eating, drinking, and breathing. It is not living.
visualize a future world populated by rational
humans behaving according to the Universal
Sustainable Energy Management template described in
my book. But it is impossible to make that
transition from today’s real world to that future
world under the leadership of the Government and
Religion (G&R) now in control. Some changes in
the basic frame of thinking must come to pass before
mankind can take the next step toward a world worthy
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©2008 K. T. Chang. All rights reserved.