Saturday, February 09, 2008

No Silver Bullet and what it takes to train...

It's catch up time for this blogger, and one of the goals of the blog is to target more actionable behavior. Yesterday both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal had coverage of a study published in the journal Science about the accounting of carbon emissions in generating biofuels, that they may be actually more damaging in carbon consumption than traditional fossil fuels. I am not surprised since the infrastructure for developing biofuels is non-existent at this time and not well centralized, unlike fossil fuels. The silver bullet is no silver bullet, but it plays to the agricultural lobby's desires and our own human desire for quick fixes.

The biofuel debate reminds me of the craze in the late 90s of "Fat Free" foods or reduced calorie food as a solution to our health woes. The problem was the issue isn't fat, the issue is calories. Eating more fat free food isn't any healthier if the consumption of calories is as egregious as eating regular foods. This is actually a really meaningful analogy since while we might not be consuming food calories, we are consuming energy calories (OK, for the technically anal, calorie is a measurement of energy, I know, I know. I did get a college degree in biochemistry, etc, etc, but work with me here). The issue is the number of calories we use, be it from biofuels or other sources. The goal is reduction, not substitution.

So to use another analogy, our energy bodies are out of shape and it's tough to get into shape when you are out of shape. I know this personally as I train for a triathlon that I should sign up for soon. One of the challenges of peak performance, is efficient form, and it's hard to develop efficient form when you are flabby. Trust me on this, I'm in the midst of this transformation. As we get into energy conditioning shape, we won't see much progress, just as we don't when we start training. But eventually it'll kick in. Some things are done the old fashion way. Exercise more, eat less.

While we talk about CFLs and Hybrids, we should forget the old fashion tips of turning off lights or walking to do some errands. We got energy sloppy over a long haul, we're going to get energy buff over the long haul. There will be improvements, but it's changing the way we look at the world and our lives that will make us faster, not some quick fix.

ONE LAST WORD, it's not sacrifice it's about wanting something better. You get in shape, you are happy being in shape. We are not sacrificing our lifestyles, we're getting ourselves off the couch and into a better lifestyle. It's tough, I'm tired after a long swim and a hike, but it beats the alternative.


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