Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Many living at the top of the energy consumption pyramid fervently believe there is a green, sustainable, renewable clean energy available for our future.  Much of this belief is founded in the fervent wish to maintain a significant aspect of our present energy way of life.  To foster and support this belief, a couple of parables help us understand how factual this might be.

A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, "This is where the light is."

This parable offers several insights.  First the obvious, that we look where it is easiest to see.  But there is I believe a deeper lesson, that we look where we want to see. 

This next parable adds a second dimension to seeing the truth concerning green, sustainable and renewable devices for the future. 

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who
touched his leg.

"Oh, no! It is like a rope," said the second man who touched
the tail.

"Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan," said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. 
wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" 
They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. 
The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant.
So, actually the elephant has all those features as you all said."

Clearly a primary lesson of this parable is the need to see the whole picture.

When you look at solar energy collecting devices:

Is this your image?

Or do you  imagine this?


Text Box:



So what do you think of when you call something green?
Or call something renewable?
Or call something sustainable?


Grass is green but that is not what you mean, not the color.  Do you mean it doesn’t harm the earth?  If so do you see the whole elephant or only look where you want to find the key?

How about renewable?  Do you mean it can create itself?  If so, are you saying it can duplicate itself?  If so, are you talking about all the parts renewing themselves – panels, inverters, controllers, all their internal parts, batteries, wiring and all that is mentioned in the box above.  Does it create itself like a horse or an oak tree?  What do you mean when you say it is renewable?

Sustainable – for how long?  When I plant my garden, part of it I put into clover to build the soil for the following years.  Where do I get the clover?  If I grow it myself, I deplete that soil somewhat when I harvest seed (harvesting with personal or machine energy).  If  I buy the seed, do I let someplace else consider how to deal with the depletion?  There simply is no free lunch.


There is the assumption that humans will change their ways and conserve energy and not consume, consume, consume. This is akin to Jevons' paradox (perhaps there is one more germaine). If the energy is available, what will stop continued consumption of tools and toys? Who will go first with this restraint and restricting? Think of the uproar if legislated.

I think it is incredibly difficult to wrap our heart, mind and spirit around the massive changes facing us. A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying.   It is indeed traumatic for what it might (probably) means not just for us but also for our love ones, children, grandchildren. Our hearts break. We want to fix it. So we do more technology and more ultimate harm.

It is comforting to prefer the noise of delusional magical thinking and pretending that the system of perpetual growth can work forever; that some variant of business as usual can persist.  There is just too much tied up with it and any unraveling would be far too chaotic and unpredictable. Wrapping our heads around the eventualities of global warming; of overshoot; of the desecration of world wildlife; of the acidification of the oceans; of the poisoning of pollinators stymies.

We are slowly technologizing ourselves into extinction. Technology is seductive. Is it the power? Is it the comfort? Or is it some internal particularly human attribute that drives it? Technology surrounds us and becomes part of our story and myths. Technology tantalizes the human mind to make, combine, invent. There are always unintended consequences with technology. It affects how we experience the world in time and space. It affects how we feel about the world. If all the externalities were included in the prices and cost to nature, we would be very, very wary of technology.

I think we have moved from technology in the service of religion (pyramids and gothic cathedrals) to religion and culture in the service of technology. It isn't a deity that will save humanity but in the eyes of many - it will be technology.

We will do more of the same, business as usual until there are no more holes in the ground to dig, no more water above and below to contaminate, no humans to wage slave, no other lifeforms to eliminate. Yes, we are building Trojan horses in our hearts, minds and spirits. It will be elitist and entitlement and hubris – it will end with both a bang and a whimper.


  1. There are renewables on the planet. They all involve life processes. Sunlight fuels life processes. We can make use of the stored calories in plants, and in other creatures, to feed our bodies and to heat our homes (wood, dried manure, and fats can be burned).

    The is the simplest conception of our system. You mention technology a lot, but of course you know that burning things for heat and cooking and to transform materials has been one of our main technologies for most of our history on this planet. We are the burning animal. Hunting tools, gathering tools, tools used to plant and to control animal power.. these go back thousands of years. These are all technology too.

    But it was the industrial technology that revolutionized our impact because it made overpopulation possible. It made machines possible on a scale that speeded and ramped up the digging of holes and building of transportation systems and allowed the whole provisioning of things like electricity and liquid gas and plastics and chemical fertilizers and so on. All were solving problems caused by the earlier technologies.

    We need to power down. We have no clear set of directions for doing that. Maybe we ought to explore what such steps would be. For example, what if no new driver’s licences can ever be issued? (wicked grin).

    1. There are no technological renewables. That claim is a furphy. Nature has provided renewables for eons but industrialization has not been able to emulate that process for fundamental physical reasons.

  2. The start up costs will always suck energy and at this stage most of that energy is still fossil fuel based. But once the start up phase is over, the working life of the solar panel or the wind turbine or the geothermal unit is far less consumptive than the current means of energy production and sustainence.

  3. "I think it is incredibly difficult to wrap our heart, mind and spirit around the massive changes facing us. A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying. It is indeed traumatic for what it might (probably) means not just for us but also for our love ones, children, grandchildren. Our hearts break. We want to fix it. So we do more technology and more ultimate harm."

    Brilliant paragraph except the last line should be more "good" in the end, if the technology is right.

    1. Technology has never created any material system.Technology only uses natural forces to irreversibly use limited natural material resources while producing irrevocable wastes. This tangible operation is an unsustainable process, despite the anthropocentric views of most people.

  4. Nope.
    Most INDUSTRIAL technology is harmful.

    Most ECOLOGICAL technology is not.

    1. Technology is a term that refers to systems devised by people and use materials. Natural ecological operations are not technology.

    2. Well said, Denis. (Glad to see you're still around...Bev from ROEOZ)

  5. Ah, yes, the unintended consequences of technology...... these consequences are not just what is commonly written about. All forms of life on this planet are under threat. Not just climate change, not just ocean acidification, not just poisoning of the land water and air....but contamination and corruption of the spirit leading to loss of trust in anything, including having the vision or intellect to solve the problems we face. Life always has had unintended consequences. The technology that this is written on may have more unintended consequences than solar technology. Why? because solar technology is one of the most durable products ever devised by humans. These computing devices will be obsolete in a few years.

    Part of the solution is the elimination of waste (efficiency). Most of what we do with energy and materials is waste. Part of it is devising systems that allow the economical recycling of all materials. Another part is requiring complete testing of all life cycle consequences of products before they are allowed to be released. These are complex problems but they can be focused upon. We cannot simply give up because we have never before as a civilization acted responsibly. Its not about technology or capitalism or ideology of any sort. It is about corruption from the top to the bottom that says that it is normal to do anything that gives one or a few persons some momentary advantage. I have watched this evolution of me-ism for 50 years and never before has it been more invisibly ingrained into the fabric of everything. I do not see giving up as an option. That is the ultimate form of corruption.

    1. Economical recycling of all materials is not possible. some materials, such as the hydrocarbons in oil and gas and the CO2 emissions from coal combustion cannot possibly be recycled. Some materials can be recycled at an ecological cost which in many cases is not worthwhile because it is an unsustainable process.
      Sound decisions about how to deal with the difficult times ahead depends on wide spread understanding of the fundamental physical principles that always governs what happening.

  6. The questions I ask are...

    Are metals and minerals more or less available?
    Is the population growing or decreasing or staying the same?

    If Answer to question 1 is less available, and Answer to question 2 is more people,
    how are we imagining growth or abundance????

    The elite response is ...." Undiscussed carcinogens and genetic disruption via chemicals, glyphosate, wireless frequencies, and selectively poisoning vaccines have already been introduced to reduce lifespan and fertility. This reduces demand. Our global curriculum now teaches children our brand of logic through tested math, and we will control the components of logic. This insures compliance.

    We have been planning for overpopulation for 150 years. All modern tech is controlled by eugenicists, example being Bill Gates. Smart phones and Smart Meters are wireless weapons. The survivors of the future will live in our Smart City slave camps. Nature will be hunting grounds for the managers, and indigenous people have already been almost eliminated. Everyone will be long socially engineered with no memory of anything else and happy with unlimited orgasms and drugs. You will have no gender or sobriety. We will continue killing off alternatives. We are involved with high tech from ET sources who work with us. That is why we have underground facilities and vast network of underground transportation. Our regime will survive. Our ET friends don't mind working with a coercive slave system, and "might makes right", so we will continue to act with impunity because humans are now too weak to imagine giving up their habits of consumption provided by our system. All balls are in our court."

    The Truther response to the elite is.... '

    "Your time table has been continually disrupted. It has taken maximum manipulation to achieve your endless war world, while every child is born with inner joy. Your habit of killing planets has not made you stronger, but weaker. Poverty will create the resistance to your plans, and poverty will insure the return to simplicity and self-sufficiency. The humanitarian response will responsibly deal with your nuclear reactors and poisoned ground water. Complexity will give way to sanity. Artificial environments and artificial reproduction is just your vanity trying to be immortal at the expense of organic life. The good side is just waiting for the tipping point of questions to show you the insanity of your demonic parasitic addictions. As satanists and pedophiles, the good side is invisible to you, but though you deny it, virtue is within you too, and gnawing at your lies. You are the ones living in denial and fear, and this is why you create it for others, so you can use and abuse them. It is time to turn over a new leaf and re-consider your soul-killing way of mind."

    Ray Songtree

  7. Thanks John, this analysis is spot on. For more info debunking some of our wishful thinking, see the Deep Green Resistance FAQs on Green Technology & Renewable Energy.

  8. John,

    Pieces at support you ideas.

    I suggest two 10 minutes videos.

    Losing Our Energy Slaves

    Sustainable Civilization Analysis Project

  9. Its well illustrated and quite interesting and now I have more perspective on energy saving.