Thursday, January 31, 2008


This is a whimsically done distillation of the world as 100 people. It breaks down the world into numbers that we can comprehend and visualize. It's easy for me to get jaded about these things, since it's easy to see these things over and over again. But just because we see it over and over again doesn't mean there isn't some truth. I share this, because the animations are very amusing.

So using the analogy of proportionality, imagine this. If everyone in the world was to change their lifestyle to our average lifestyle, we'd need FIVE more Earths to make it happen. (Though accounting for only 5 percent of the world's population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world's energy. (American Almanac) - Do the math) Common sense dictates this is not possible, so we have a few options:

1) Be cynical and say, well guess it's a bummer if you don't live here. And resign yourself to the lottery of circumstance and consider yourself lucky.

2) Assume the world will become like us, with the obvious consequences of scarcity and rising prices.

3) Reduce our consumption to be proportional to our population. In effect figuring a way to cut 80% of our consumption. That's really hard.

The options don't look good, but once you look at the five earths problem, it makes you think we better find a way. So there is another path, and that is buying time instead of stuff. We got a big problem, and we're going to need time. So we have to consider all three until a fourth way reveals itself.

As the movie says, "Failure, it's not an option." and neither is doing nothing.


At 8:08 AM , Blogger Green Bean said...

Yeah, the stats are pretty eye opening. If we need 5 earths, well, folks, we're just consuming way too much.

Did you see the recent article about Haitians eating dirt cookies? I mean, really, if that is what is going on elsewhere, maybe we can afford to cut back just a smidge here.

Good post, Charles.

At 10:20 AM , Blogger arduous said...

Have you read this Scientific American article about solar energy?

They say that this energy is here NOW. What frustrates me is that we could enact this now, but sometimes I feel like there just isn't the political will.


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