Energy Consumerism

gdpit_com_96762788_90Energy is defined in physics as: ‘the property of matter and radiation which is manifest as a capacity to perform work’. The word has its roots in the Greek ‘energeia’, from ‘ergon’, meaning ‘work’.

ways of wasting energy

ways of wasting energy

But the word ‘energy’ has a much greater meaning than just something that supplies ‘work’ – just look at the way children often spend it, in fun, in joy, in running about senselessly. Although this hardly seems like ‘work’ – in a physical sense it is. It takes energy to lift a leaping child from the ground just as it does the space shuttle. And sometimes it takes energy to stop them using energy!

Modern quantum physics tells us that the entire universe is made of energy. It shows links between the energy that makes atoms circle electrons in a molecule and that which make planets circle suns in a solar system – it’s just a matter of scale.

Some even go further and postulate that everything is made of light energy – some, evidently more solid light than others. But physics is still unable to tell us whether light itself is a wave form or a particle – because it holds the properties of both.

So – if we live in a universe made of energy – why are we supposedly ‘running out’?

We are rather young as a species. Our non-renewable sources of energy such as oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power are becoming scarce (or too dangerous) just at the moment we have realised that everything is made of energy. We have been so stuck in a world of non-renewables that the groundwork on harvesting the infinite energy of the universe is still being done. Information concerning this is often repressed in the interest of global multinationals who want our money and feed our governments.

Imagine – making us go out to work in jobs all day to pay for energy which is actually FREE and INFINITE and EVERYWHERE. What a shocker if people found out how to harvest their own!

There are many sources of renewable energy: wind, water, geothermal, solar, biomass, even natural electricity and hydrogen (secondary energy sources) –methods of harvesting them are getting easier – some people are even making ‘harvesting devices’ for energy out of rubbish!

Our planet is rich in energy. Enough energy simply falls on the planet from the sun in 40 minutes to supply all of our needs for a year. We are running out of several forms of energy at present, hence the discussion of ‘peak oil’ and the like. Energy produced from oil, gas, coal and other natural resources has reached its ‘peak’ – supplies are dwindling while our need for energy is increasing to work our homes, our transport and our industries. Multinationals with vested interests would sooner grasp at straws like ‘fracking’ than change their dirty ways.

You might think that with all this energy falling from the sun, tidal power, wind power and other renewable sources that the solution to our energy problems would be easy – simply switch over. The problem is that vested interest has kept the development of alternatives ‘quiet’ over the last 25 years or so. We are not ready to switch yet as the technologies are not where they need to be. Even James Lovelock, instigator of the Gaia hypothesis, an alternative theory about life on earth, suggests that in the short term we will have to rely on increased nuclear power to feed our expensive energy habits.

Mostly our homes run on 240 volt systems whereas many of our devices can now run on 12 volts – certainly LED lighting technology is easily able to run at this lower energy requirement. Look around the house and I expect you will find a plethora of devices running at 15, 12, 9, 6, 4.5, even three volts – all with ugly black plastic transformers to ramp the supply down enough. But rewiring our homes and devices to run on 12 volts is too huge a job – unless we voluntarily undertake it as individuals. This means that some of high power devices – kettles, washing machines, dryers and so on will not work (yet).

The decentralisation of energy supply is another issue in the economies of energy. The power that pays for governments often comes from large industry; centralised monopolies are a large part of the capitalism that runs our economy. Harvesting our own energy supplies ‘from the wild’ still runs counter to the interests of a culture based on ‘consuming’ what is supplied to them from a centralised controller, in order to create a money stream. This is why the issue of ‘using less energy’ is barely discussed – it runs contrary to the ideology of consumerism.

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