Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The calorie is obsolete

Most of us tend to think of it as something to avoid.  The calories in that chocolate cake that you are eyeballing in the line at the cafeteria: the calories in that one-more slice of pizza lying in its box on the kitchen counter.

But you have to think harder about these pesky things (the first thing that you have to think about is that the calorie that you are so used to dealing with is actually a kilocalorie, but that is beside the point).   As you sit in your warm kitchen on a brisk fall day, you should begin to recognize the overarching importance of this sadly obsolete unit of measurement.

We sit in our warm homes and fret about our bank accounts, a phenomenon that is four or five degrees of separation from reality, perhaps we had better look at a more basic level in our lives.

Lets talk instead of joules.  Still the same kind of thing.  The reason that I want to  talk about this term instead of the archaic calorie is that you can start thinking about the basis of our personal survival and cultural well-being.  The number of joules (amount of energy) that we use to operate our overweening society is staggering.  The number of joules that we use to provide what we consider basic life is getting to be un-doable.   We have to seriously cut back on the amount of energy that we use.

Everybody talks about this, everybody has their little pipe dreams about how they can keep their toys and "lifestyle" and all the accouterments of the dying scheme.  But the way that things are running, with money running out and oil running out and the piper at the door demanding payment, the end point is that everyone will be doing with a lot less.

Hence the joule.  You are going to have a lot less of these available soon.  Better get used to that little nip of reality.  You had better have a serious plan for stretching your allotment (I won't say share, that implies something else entirely). 

1 comment:

Mayberry said...

Hmmmm.... A kid was suspended for riding a horse to school (obviously not in Texas). I'm not "allowed" to have a wind turbine (too "dangerous" in a subdivision), the government won't allow practical efficient vehicles (small turbodiesel SUV, utility AND 30+ MPG), I could go on and on. Many people would like to reduce their energy usage, but we're not "allowed". As for the rest, it's too radical a departure from their comfort zone to even think about sustainable living arrangements...