There’s a broad truth about solar power – that more energy hits the Earth every morning than every person on it uses in 27 years. It’s the challenge of the harnessing that energy and making it available for everyone that continues to vex.
But buried in an article about wind turbines in the Gulf of Mexico is this little corollary gem:
Wind turbines in the Gulf of Mexico could generate up to 508 gigawatts of electricity, according to a 2020 study by the National Renewable Energy Lab, twice as much energy as Gulf states cumulatively consume. The 700,000-acre area the Biden administration now wants to open up for wind farm development could eventually supply enough electricity for over three million homes, according to a White House fact sheet.
Emphasis added. I mean, come on. There it is, and not to mention other recent stories about have these wind turbines installed by oil rig workers, otherwise known as cowboys already accustomed to working on dangerous platforms out in the ocean.
To repeat: come on.
According to this article, the number of calories consumed at home in the UK peaked in 2001:
“One thing that’s remarkable is the sheer speed with which our resource use has crashed since the recession,” Goodall continues. “In the space of a couple of years, we’ve dropped back to the second lowest level since we started keeping track in 1970. And although the figures aren’t yet available for 2010 and 2011, it seems highly likely that we are now using fewer materials than at any time on record.”
Goodall discovered the Material Flow Accounts while writing a research paper examining the UK’s consumption of resources. The pattern he stumbled upon caught him by surprise: time and time again, Brits seemed to be consuming fewer resources and producing less waste. What really surprised him was that consumption appears to have started dropping in the first years of the new millennium, when the economy was still rapidly growing.
So of course that’s there and not here, But still, point taken. And we’re oftener than not a decade or so behind the continent on some things.
Our problem will be, is, one of scale. Proportional reductions of consumption will also have to be done to scale – across regions and demographics. Sounds obvious, sure; but so does not feeding bears and they still have to put signs up everywhere. The much bigger problem will be that we will have to decide/believe it’s us, our own selves, who is telling us what to do – and not some librul hippie government whatever. I know. Obtuseness seems to be our sweet spot.