But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state. Hamlet. ACT I Scene 1.
The world is a better place for humans to be living right now than at any time in our past. The simple proof is the ongoing population explosion and near lack of famine. But our bountiful world is not infinite and Thomas Malthus will at some point prove his point and population will drop to below the total amount of food available to feed us. We live on food, and food is stored energy. Most of that energy comes indirectly from the sun via plants then animals, but a large part of that energy comes from stored energy via ancient solar energy stored in the form of coal, oil and gas (and air). We use that energy to farm the land with powered machinery. We may get billions of years of energy from the sun, but at our current rate of expanding usage of those mineral forms to create our food another century of abundance seems optimistic.
Craig Venter is working on developing living organisms into more efficient sources for deriving human usable energy from the sun. This is perhaps the most noble venture of any human activity at the moment, because it will not only create food energy for people, it will provide a clear link in humanity’s mind to our relationship with the sun. That will create the obvious need for population balance. It is strange that many ancient people, the Egyptians for example, considered the sun to be the giver of life, but we modern people have lost that connection and instead have revered coal and oil and the many wonderful things those minerals have brought us. However, many people seem to think of these things as an infinite resource, and they only need to be pumped out of the ground. The media condemns the oil companies for pumping oil from a mile under the ocean bed and that a mile beneath the ocean surface. What the media seems not to recognize is that oil is now so difficult to get that this is the cheapest place on Earth that it can be recovered from. A similar situation is found with copper and that is why those miners were trapped a mile underground last year – it was the cheapest place to get copper. The world is still supplying us with these things but it is becoming increasingly difficult and costly. There will come a time when it is too costly to recover, and there are no alternatives, and then we will be forced to return to Nature’s rules of checks and balances.
So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill. Hamlet. ACT I Scene 1.