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Monday, June 13, 2016

Ancient Sunlight

I recently heard a sustainability professional refer to oil as "ancient sunlight." It struck a note with me. It was a sharp, poignant, paradigm-shifting statement.

It really is true. Through photosynthesis, the earth has been collecting energy from the sun for billions of years and slowly storing that energy in the form of fossil fuels. Like a battery.

Since the industrial revolution, when we learned to tap into those ancient energy reserves, our growth has been exponential... and artificial. We are using past savings to fund present spending. We are living off the earth's capital, rather than its interest.

It is unnecessary. The sun provides more than enough constant energy input for the earth to sustain itself, and I believe it can (and will someday) sustain all human activities as well.