Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind

Following last night’s post, I come across this in my blog feed today! Serendipity!!

“Most people who argue about the viability of their [insert favorite technology] only see that viability in terms of money. Energy, to most people is such a nebulous concept that they do not see the failures of their techno Utopian solutions…….”

Damn the Matrix

Chris Harries, a follower of this blog, has found an amazing pdf file on XRayMike’s blog that is so amazing, and explains civilisation’s predicaments so well, I just had to write it up for you all to share around.  I think that the concept of the Earth as a chemical battery is simply stunning…….. the importance of this paper, I think, is epic.

The paper, written by John R. Schramskia, David K. Gattiea , and James H. Brown begins with clarity…

Earth is a chemical battery where, over evolutionary time with a trickle-charge of photosynthesis using solar energy, billions of tons of living biomass were stored in forests and other ecosystems and in vast reserves of fossil fuels. In just the last few hundred years, humans extracted exploitable energy from these living and fossilized biomass fuels to build the modern industrial-technological-informational economy, to grow our population to more than 7…

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One response to “Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind

  1. Another article on this research and concept: http://m.thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/08/10/Earth-Battery-Running-Low

    In the paper, Schramski and his colleagues at the University of Georgia and the University of New Mexico compared the energy state of the Earth to “the energy state of a house powered by a once-charged battery supplying all energy for lights, heating, cooling, cooking, power appliances and electronic communication.”

    It took hundreds of millions of years for photosynthetic plants to trickle charge that battery. Those plants converted low quality sunlight into high-quality chemical energy stored either in living biomass (forests and plankton) or more lastingly in the dead plants and animals that became oil, gas and coal.

    But in just a few centuries humans and “the modern industrial-technological informational society” have spent that stored chemical energy and depleted the Earth-space battery.

    Society partly drains the battery by converting forests and grasslands into agricultural fields. It diminishes the battery further by burning fossil fuels to plow fields and build cities. Human engineering of one kind or another has left a mark on 83 per cent of the planet.

    In essence, humans depleted the battery to grow exponentially and spend more energy.

    “As the battery discharges,” the scientists write, the cooling, heating and electronic services provided to the house “become unavailable and the house soon becomes uninhabitable.”

    The Earth is like a dying cell phone at an airport, says Schramski, but with no rechargeable plug in sight.

    The problem, say the scientists, is that the battery is not being replenished as quick as it is being drained.

    Schramski adds a good point: “Eventually, without sufficient living biomass to run the biosphere, it simply doesn’t matter how much oil, solar, nuclear, etc. energy you have, as there is no biosphere left for humans to use it. Biomass is not an interchangeable energy. There is no replacement and we are depleting it rapidly.”

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