I hold up a cup of hot coffee. “What is the energy in this cup of hot coffee?” I ask. The obvious answer, you heated the water. Embedded energy. Embedded energy. In the making of the cup. In the purification of the water and supplying it to me. In the gift of the hydrologic cycle making “fresh” water (if there aren’t too many pollutants in the air – a la acid rain). In the growing and processing of the coffee. In the transporting the coffee from there to here to me. The coffee maker. In the knowledge of all these things. And on and on and on.
Energy is embedded in every facet of our lives.
Fossil fuels are also insinuated into every facet of our lives not just as energy. Some of the medicine we use:
“The vast majority of medicines, are summarized as from benzene, and derivatives, and benzene is derived from petroleum, some examples are all those drugs which carry a bencenic ring , such as aspirin, acetaminophen, salicilic acid, sertraline, benzodiazepines, barbiturics, antiseptics, antiemetics, ulcer treatment, like aloglutamol, ranitidine, famotidine, omeprazole, lanzoprazole, pantoprazole, antiespasmodics, like hioscine, fluopropione, thiopramide, phloroglucinol, lidamidine.It is correct to say, that for all the areas it covers Medicine at present, each has medicines derived from petroleum, through synthesis of benzene or derivatives of benzene.”
I' Chemist-Pharmacist,Phd, MSc. 30 years experience, Medicines Quality Control, Manufacturing, Synthesis research. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080206175810AAiAVJu
Now of course you are not going to read all of these lists. You get the point. And all the plastics in the list and beyond the list. Our world is infused and created with fossil fuels. And the food system with the tractors and huge machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, tractor trailers hauling, food processing, grocery stores, home cooking and all that goes with it.
We could do the same for water, which is on a par with energy as necessary and critical for life of all kinds. Of course, we might now be choosing to further pollute our water underground for greed and energy by fracking. FRACKING. It sounds almost obscene, in practice it is.
About that bike you are going to ride. That beautiful 21 speed, lightweight speed demon. Tires, medal, gears, grease. Embedded energy? Water?
When I hear talk about transition towns, I wonder if they take into consideration even a small modicum of the lists from above. Or are they like the college kids who go out for a night or two and live in cardboard boxes in support of the homeless and then go home to their warm homes, good food and health care?
I have already written about the illusion of “renewable resources.”
However, there is one solution that looms on the horizon. It will take considerable patience but might just work. Pixie dust. They are small and fast but it might just work. Investments welcome.
What will work is community, planning, hard work and knowledge – do it now!