Living in the 21st Century....

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Damnthematrix's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Living in the 21st Century....

Energy Literacy 

I have just found the most amazing piece of work......  I might add, this guy has done this work WRT climate change, BUT it also applies to Peak Everything as we slide down the backside of effluence.

Climate Change Recalculated
Friday, January 16, 2007
Saul Griffith

"It is not accurate to say we can still stop climate change," says Saul Griffith, the Bay Area inventor who received a MacArthur "genius" award in 2007. "We are now working to stop worse climate change or much-worse-than-worse climate change."

Griffith has done the research and the math to figure out exactly what it will take for humanity to soften the impact of climate change in the next 25 years, and he lays it out in a dazzling presentation. It is horrifying news. The politics and technologies we have now are not up to the task.

On slide 103 of 192 (yes, it will take you some time to read it all, BUT I promise you, it will be worth your while) Saul writes:

My new life. Shooting for 2255W 

Incidentally 2000 Watts is a number that an inspired group of people are already using as their target goal :

Lots of people in the world already do it, and it is reasonable to onsider that we might give everyone a roughly equal share,
that is, live a lifestyle equivalent to 2255 Watts.

I wanted to know what changes I’d have to make to my life in order to be able to say “I live a 2255 W lifestyle”.
As my base calculations I used the same data I used for my 2007 calculations. I removed those things I can do without,
I lowered those things that were consuming too much energy. Throughout the process I really tried to keep for myself
a lifestyle that I would enjoy, and that perhaps would even be better than the lifestyle I enjoy today. Privation is not the goal
of this exercise, it is to raise my own awareness of my energy use, and my awareness of what my energy use should look like in the future if I am to be a good citizen of the world.

It turned out that I found it very difficult to get to 2255W. The easiest way will obviously be to further decrease my air travel.
I didn’t do it here however, because given my work-life, no-one could imagine me completely stopping flying.
It certainly looks like tele-conferencing and tele-commuting are the most important technological developments for me to
adopt. If it could be substituted for all business related travel I would be in much better collective shape. I’m quite certain
that if I only get 2255W that I’d prefer to use the majority on my family, my hobbies, my sports, and my recreations and lifestyle.

Not really for the mathematically faint hearted... 

Woodman's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
Re: Living in the 21st Century....

I've always promoted that the only long term viable solution I see is not to just find alternative energy sources but to drastically reduce energy consumption.

Linda K's picture
Linda K
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 23 2008
Posts: 56
Re: Living in the 21st Century....

Thanks for the PDF of the Saul Griffith article. He's got a website too.
and is giving a talk with that same title in San Francisco on Jan.16th. It's sponsored by the Long Now foundation, which is really worth an in person visit if you're ever in the area.

I'm also interested in the 2000 watt society. Go Switzerland (Swiss army knife I've had since high school - still my most
valuable pocket tool). The statistics in the Wikipedia link comparing the enery use in various countries - what an embarrassment! The US and it's whopping 12,000 is double that of western Europe. I'm hanging my head in shame. Goes to show how right Chris is - there's a lot of education to be done out there. 

Tom Hager's picture
Tom Hager
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Joined: Jan 3 2009
Posts: 1
Re: Living in the 21st Century....

You can calculate your own energy use in watts at another of Saul Griffith's sites, He uses, I think, a different way of calculating usage than the Swiss do for their 2000 watt society, so direct comparisons are difficult. One of the most eye-opening things is his estimate of your energy use accounted for by government expenditures to build, maintain, and defend the infrastructure around you.

 My family is trying a 2000 watt experiment in Oregon, moving from a big house in the country to a small one we're rehabbing for energy efficiency in town.  See for more.

 Tom Hager

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