The story of the three “E”s and the Big Bad Human.

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[1] ECO nomy/logy

This is the last post of the blog, at least for topics concerning the course of ecology 110. Time moved on very fast; I remember as if it was yesterday editing the very first post and here we are, at the end of this wonderful class. So after my brief moment of emotion ,let me introduce you our last topic : we will examine the three E’s and the relationship between them. The three E’s are not piggies like in the famous fairytale with the Big Bad Wolf but they are the following:  Environment, Energy and Economy.  Our examination will be based on a lecture by Dr. Chris Martenson which you can watch here :      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msTW7D_rSm4

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[2] E + E + E =3E

Let’s make a brief introduction to our subject. Environment, Energy and Economy are interconnected. First of all, the Economy exists within the natural environment and depends on it in vital way. Economies receive inputs (such as natural resources) from the environment, process these inputs in complex ways that enable human society to function and then discharge outputs into the environment, such as waste. The material inputs and the waste-absorbing capacity that Earth can provide to economies are ultimately finite [3](p.147) When it come to energy, solar energy, wind power and moving water are all traditional sources of alternative energy that are making progress. However, coal, oil and natural gas are the three kinds of fossil fuels that we have mostly depended on for our energy needs, from home heating and electricity to fuel for our automobiles and mass transportation. The problem is, fossil fuels are non-renewable. They are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. Fossil fuels formed from plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago and became buried way underneath the Earth’s surface where their remains collectively transformed into the combustible materials we use for fuel.[3] (p.531)All those forms of energy are provided by the environment and of course as nothing in this world comes for free, they are a huge part of the global economy . I believe it is clear now how the 3 E’s are related : take the energy from the environment -> sell it = economy.

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[4]One way? Or Another?

Let’s move on to the videos now. Our protagonist in this post is Chris Martenson , former Pfizer Vice President, with a PhD in neurotoxicology from Duke University, and an MBA from Cornell University in Finance. Martenson is also an accomplished presenter who has offered the Crash Course seminar all over the United States. what’s more he is an author of a popular website that you are encouraged to visit : http://www.peakprosperity.com and you can also find him on twitter. The online course has been translated into several languages, and been viewed nearly a million times. What’s more background as an educator helps him animate complex material through a very interesting and humorous approach, yet easy to be understood.[7] I believe that his ideas are credible first of all in terms of who Martenson is and what’s more, if you watch his speech you are going to see that he provides sufficient evidence on his points. In his crash course, he elaborated on the relationship between the environment, the energy, and the economy. He sees profound changes on the horizon, but is not an alarmist – he sees great opportunity to transform our lives from measuring wealth by financial growth to measuring prosperity by community connections and sustainable lifestyles.

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[5] Dr.Martenson

Let’s talk about the content of his speech more specificly however. What Mortenson questions is how our lives are going to be in twenty years from now compared to the past. In his second video Martenson states that economies are going from bad to worse. The money spend by national economies is hopelesly overwhelming, creating huge debts and even greater total liabilities. In simple words, national economies have been trapped in a viscious circle with no way out. The only plausible and possible thing to be done is print money. However, although we have reached this tragic point that points the obvious, that we use resources in such an insufficient way, we cannot yet comprehend reality as it is.

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[6]Greece has the highest bars as usual!

Additionally, Martenson takes the previous point a step further , saying that the economical crisis is actually the result of economic transaction with money that in fact does not even exist! This is his really interesting Key Consept. All Money is loeaned into existence! Banks and countries can in fact “create money” out of nothing.Lets take banks for example that are generally required by law to have a certain amount of “reserve capital” on hand to meet the obligations of paying people that have their money in the bank. However, the reserve is less than the total amount of money in those savings and checking accounts. For instance, if a Bank gets 80.000€ of deposit from various individuals. The Bank then loans out 350.000€ to people and businesses seeking loans. How can they do this with only 80.000€ in capital? Well,they are allowed to loan more than they have in actual capital because most transactions today do not involve cash. Instead it is all paper and electronic. When someone borrows the money, there is a check from the bank that says, “This piece of paper (check) is worth 8.000 euros ” So, that person deposits the cash in their own checking account and writes other checks against that balance. The result is that it’s just paper and numbers recorded on electronic ledgers. Everyone in the banking system keeps close tabs on what is owed and who is owed, but there is no real cash money changing hands – it’s all on paper. Same goes for national economies in similar ways.

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[6]It’s all imaginary.

Furthermore, what he emphasizes on is that our economy does not need to grow in contrast with what we ractically want. Our urge to make the economy grow needs more energy which however cannot grow. How can we be forgetting that our energy is finite?We don’t have an alternative version of the “duck that lays golden eggs” that lays new oil,gas and coal every day! Neither ducks laying new minerals – and according to Martenson in the next 15 years many of our minerals as well as metals but also oil will run out. Energy generation gradually returns less and less.As population grows,consumption grows.The water use is becoming greater as time goes by.Also the forest loss and the species extinction has a radical rate of increase. Additionally fisheries are exploited to a greater extend each year.

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[6] While the population grows, consumption grows.

Last but not least, Martenson states that during the last two decates human beings have been overexploiting natural resources and as a result we are running out of them very quickly. However, as we see resources like petrol for instance getting more scarce we try to find new ones and in order to do so we spend even more money and use even more energy in order to use technology and equipment to extract them. As a result, we add even more to the total liabilities! In a similar way to this of my introduction, at this point I think it is clear again how the environment,the energy and the economy are interconnecte – this time through Martenson’s words.

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[6] More energy needs more money.

After watching his speech, I must admit that I agree with Martenson completely. The 3 Es are so closely interconnected and show us evidence that human beings are using all of them in a wrong constantly. However, we are so small and egocentric to ignore the evidence and keep making this viscious circle bigger at evert opportunity. What should be left after this stream of new and useful information, I believe, is a crave for change. We should change our current attitude and start caring about the environment first of all. If the environment is restored then we will have better energy production and even economy could get better as a chain reaction.As Martenson states in his report: The Future Has Arrived. If you want to know what the future will feel like, all you need to do is find the right stories and connect the dots ” Can we all do that? But more importantly can we do something about what we find out?

Citation

[1]”CBIA: Government Affairs.” ‘E for Economy’ the Focus at CT’s Merged Environment, Energy Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[2]The Economy in a Wider Context.” Money That WorksOrg. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[3] Withgott, Jay, Barbara W. Murck, and Scott R. Brennan. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. Toronto: Pearson Canada, 2009. Print.

[4] “Obama Stimulus Package May Include 20 Billion in Energy Tax Credits.” Red Green and Blue. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[5]”Blog Archives.” I Know Youll Remember Chris Martenson Tag. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[6]”Peak Prosperity Video Channel.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.

[7]”About Chris Martenson.” Peak Prosperity. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.