#14 - Environmental 'Cure-All's

I got to thinking about a hypothetical future where everything runs on electric power and is made of natural materials. Both are thought to be “green” solutions at this point in time. But is that really true? If all 7+ billion people switched over, would those ideas still seem environmentally friendly? Maybe, in that future, we’d consume far too many trees or something in a battery’s life cycle affects the environment in a way we didn’t anticipate. It seems unlikely but we do have a history of not understanding long term, higher order effects.

If we look to nature, biodiversity seems to be essential for a functional ecosystem. The different ways organisms consume and expend energy balance each other out. If that’s taken away, things go south. In monocropping, where a single crop is planted year after year, the soil deteriorates and becomes less nutritious. Outside fertilizer is required to solve a problem of one’s own making. Similarly, I wonder if technological diversity is the long term answer, not one cure-all “green” technology. Maybe mass adoption of that tech would be the equivalent of swapping a corn monocrop for a soybean one. In other words, fossil fuels probably aren’t inherently problematic, the sheer scale of our usage is. As everyone’s mother has told them, “Everything in moderation.”

Drawing exercise #4. If you missed it, here’s why I’m learning to draw.