Obviously, America as a country is not doing a very good job handling the energy crisis. This is a discussion on what you think we should be doing to create energy for our future.


Argue your viewpoint:


Should we put forth effort to revamp the energy economy with already existing renewable energy sources (ex. wind, tidal, geothermal etc.).


Or put effort into theoretical, but highly efficient forms of energy that have yet to be created (ex. Fusion, magnetism, etc.).


Or, maybe, should we continue in the pursuit of oil, perhaps refining the process to be more efficient.


Or any other plan that may work for America.

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Replies to This Discussion

We know oil is a finite resource that will run out. Same with coal. We don't know how long it will take us to figure out how to make things like fusion or tapping into the Earth's magnetic field work. And our culture has been spoiled by the easy availability of the energy locked up in oil, no need to generate the energy just dig it up and do a little processing. I think we need to invest in every type of energy generation (winds, solar, tides, geomagnetic) as well as making everything more efficient or we risk letting our technology collapse - and we would be unlikely to be able to build it again without the boost the easy energy in oil gave us this time. It is much easier to develop new energy sources when you've got enough energy to run the computers and the laboratories without having to choose between them or hospitals or food processing/transportation...
Reduce usage, reuse things, recycle stuff
That will lower the power bill.
Fair enough - but compare the speed at which the average american goes through power as compared with the average African.  It's the difference between the source lasting 30 years and the source lasting 300 years or more.  I'm sure over time also we can become more efficient in using power sources.  But of course I'd go for using the oil we have got to support the making of components that create renewable energy, such as wind, wave, solar and dams.  There are also some really efficient solar power technologies that are more easy to construct.  I'll see if I can find them.
The average African wishes they could live our lives.  Especially gay people in Uganda.
Yes - not surprisingly so. Of course I think that my life, society and values are best for me - but I'm yet to know more and understand more about the lives, society and values of others to see if that may work better for them. I do support education and learning. If being gay is genetic, or at least inherent then it doesn't make any sense to punish people for being gay. It makes sense to support people to live according to their inbuilt drives, as long as they are not harming others or interfering with other peoples ability to live according to their own inbuilt drives. We all have needs and we should all be allowed to strive to get our needs met with equal respect to others needs.

So with this in consideration how does that relate to world population and immigration into western countries? How does it relate to belief systems?
You may enjoy pursuing some classes in cultural anthropology then.  I must warn you that if you do you'll risk watching documentaries detailing anything from human rights violations to animal cruelty.  Anyway I do agree that our societies don't have all the solutions.  For instance I'm not sold on monogamy being a good idea for anything but helping control the spread of disease in primitive societies.  Sadly not very many women I've met seem to agree with the notion of an open relationship, but that is neither here nor there.  I don't believe going to a primitivistic model will help anyone.  We should only embrace it in my opinion if there is no other option available.  It wouldn't be entirely wise to go from coal to burning shit for fuel.  Not that you're suggesting that by any means.  Just we should also be worried about greenhouse emissions in my opinion rather then kicking the problem down the road for future generations to worry about.  At the end of the day we'll do better seeking to stabilize a standard of living that people enjoy rather then universalizing misery.  Saying that I very much hope that even the poorest pauper in Africa doesn't have to worry about heat stroke in the middle of the summer in the future.  As decadent as air conditioning is most sadly don't get to enjoy it in the world, and yes it sucks up a fair amount of energy.  But I don't think we'll find an adequate solution in abandoning the technology in favor of reducing energy consumption.  You didn't say that though, and we could conceivably use less energy by turning up the thermostat.  

Not sure what the happy medium will look like to be quite honest.  Given that many of us don't seem to recycle our electronics we're only encouraging more consumption of raw materials that could be used to bring knowledge to every household on the planet.  Our best bet would be to reduce our birth rate for a generation or two if you ask me, but then again I'm prone to arguing that we've a zealous nature when it comes to reproduction that is actually a danger if not curtailed.  As for immigration that is a topic that has far ranging implications.  Using gays in Uganda was just one example.  There are plenty of others ranging from seeking the best and the brightest to refugees from war zones.  Not to mention the disparity in wealth is a problem that isn't easily ameliorated.  Sadly wealthy countries don't always seek policy initiatives that are best for the goose and the gander.  United States drug policy is as good an example as in my opinion, and there is no doubt in my mind that the spate of warfare in Mexico between the cartels and the government only seek to encourage emigration.

I could go on and on about this sort of shit, but at the end of the day it wouldn't be a concise answer to our problems.  Which sadly only points to the problems stemming from multiple reasons, and thus not easily fixed.  Especially by politicians with short term interests in mind.  That or they're diabolically evil, not quite sold on either really.
You don't need expensive air-conditioning - there are alternatives that use less power. Such as passive solar ventilation. Trees and grass and other plants provide naturally cooler environments. It's not like there is only way solution to the problem of over heating in the day. It's about people being open minded and creative / innovative in their solutions. Which is inevitable when oil prices rise.

Yep, a very good start!


Hi Pheirce.
I think we need to ask if innovation is only possible during a political crisis.
Politics effects outcomes in technology all the time.
Take the power grid for instance. When we had a coherent immigration policy, (substitute "more racist" here if you wish) it was thought that given time we'd need fewer power generation stations. Not only was there the foreseeable realization of zero population growth to limit power consumption; improvements in insulation and solid state transisters replaced older tube technology as control elements for relays, motor control and switchgear. Computers made further automation possible using less and less power until the winds in politics allowed more open (less discrimination at the ) borders. With population growth, pent up demand for housing, education, healthcare, employment oh yeah- a spike in power consumption by the ever growing number of house holds and population it looks less and less like things are under adequate management. It seems the weak dollar policy has backfired, leading to a drop in the standard of living, rising unemployment and youth violence by drug addicted criminals whose parents failed to impart the more recognized and legal work ethic which (along with our racist preconceptions ) got us into war after war and even changed the grammatical meaning of war so that it could be waged against fear, poverty and now terrorism?!
Technological advances in energy require so much more than the crisis management they have of late been given.
Ending war & living within some multiple of accounts receivable will restore purchasing power to the dollar allowing r&d money to go further. Such behavior can Foster the development of sustainable energy production and greater self determined outcomes for us all. We have to want this alternative to incessant wars enough to change our politics.
This is an interesting issue.  It seems that the population is expanding in Africa and India, China is already huge and still growing again, Indonesia is also huge in population compared to it's geographical size.  Indigenous populations of Europe, American and Australia, Japan are dropping - yet immigration from India, China, Indonesia and Eastern Europe is causing populations in western countries to rise.  India is mainly Hindu's - China is growing in Christianity.  Muslim's are growing in Europe, Australia and American due to middle eastern, African and eastern European conflicts.  I'm sure someone has done a study on it somewhere and written an article on it.  Surely there is a paper out there somewhere dealing with these issues - and the implications for future populations.

It seems to me that the biggest crisis with energy is the resulting pollution and consequential climate change. Here's a NYT's article about rising sea levels in Norfolk VA from climate change. Something needs to be done. Perhaps some kind of very small tax on carbon could be deferred through the DOE for research on alternative clean energy sources, carbon sequestering programs, battery development, and improvements in building insulation, heating, and cooling. 

Here's a link to Policy for Energy Technology Innovation




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