Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Philosophical

What's the measure of constructive ecological processes? A hierarchical structure of listings for various methods? Or, to use a tool from philosophy and logic, apply the heuristics of value.

Rather than judge the options for various technologies to liberate ourselves from the carbon cycle, it rather works better to apply the logic of "do no harm" to the various scenarios for obtaining the energy required to drive our civilization. In an article by Carl Pope, the chairman of the Sierra Club, the process is outlined as a rule of thumb approach to energy systems. In this way, nuclear power and especially coal power are ruled out.

What about the emerging technologies that address energy solutions? They have to be evaluated on their track record, which right now is painfully short. Many missteps will occur along the path to successful energy production with minimal costs to the environment. But I believe over the long haul that very rapid moves to viable alternate sources of energy and power will prove beneficial to the ecosphere as well as provide human culture with the means to develop energy systems that work in tandem with natural processes, not against them.

Biomimicry, or the "reverse engineering of nature" is a relatively new and untested approach that doesn't lend itself to reductionist analysis. So a slow and measured implementation of numerous simple strategies becomes the most rational approach to our energy problem. Think of the process as akin to the evolution of software. We'll have energy systems v4.0 issued by university research and adopted incrementally by governments based upon pilot projects carried out by the private sector. As opposed to our system of legislation now that is in bed with the big polluting industries, and getting worse as the corporations and lobbyists increasingly write the regulations and standards for the politicians.