Monday, September 19, 2011

Energy and Material Balance Sheets on a Global Scale (Our Finite World)

Energy and material balances have been a part of the work I do for several decades.  It has been the first step in better understanding the broader view of integrating natural and synthetic systems and the potential implications.  This article at the blog Our Finite World looks across this broad globe-scape, beyond the troubles in Europe and possible subsequent events, to sustainability of ourselves - in the long term.  Our explosive growth in the last centuries has both been achieved, and made life exceptionally complex through advancements in energy.  The current path is not sustainable.  An excerpt is provided below.  The FULL POST is HERE

The Sixth Mass Extinction

In the last 500 million years, there have been five mass extinctions, removing varying percentages of animal species. The last happened 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs became extinct. Biologist (including Michael Soulè and E. O. Wilson) have calculated that the current rate of extinctions is 100 to 10,000 times the background rate.

Niles Eldredge describes the Sixth Extinction as follows:

  • Everywhere, shortly after modern humans arrived, many (especially, though by no means exclusively, the larger) native species typically became extinct. Humans were like bulls in a China shop:
  • They disrupted ecosystems by overhunting game species, which never experienced contact with humans before. 
And perhaps they spread microbial disease-causing organisms as well.

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