Energy Systems and Social Evolution

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					Energy Systems and Social
     What a great read!
            The Auberle Argument
                      Eco 328
o   Developing New Knowledge
o   If we know the answers, we don’t have a job.
o   Doc Smith puts the readings into a very
    complex matrix of years of study
o   Student X is thinking these ideas for the first
o   Student X might have the better
    How Do Humans Interact With The
         Energy Environment?
o   Pay attention to your energy participation in
    your daily life
o   When you do something think about the
    energy life of the activity
o   When you consume something think about the
    energy history of the item
            Some New Terminology
o   Exogenous
    n   Something from without the system or control
        o   Katrina for residents of New Orleans
        o   Volcanoes
o   Endogenous
    n   Something from within the system
        o   Pollution
        o   Climate weirding!
            n   See how quickly our knowledge systems change!
o   Limited by the resources
o   Optimized for life or maximized for numbers?
    n   Singing and dancing?
    n   Breathing and procreating?
    n   Are children normal or inferior?
        o   In an economic sense
    n   At what level of subsistence does the income
        elasticity become negative?
              Social Evolution
o   Sieferle is very Parsonian in his approach
o   Discontinuity in circumstance
o   Perhaps some exogenous changes in climate
    resulted in a major need for social/economic
    change in production systems
o   Thus agriculture.
                    Social Change
o   Social acceptance
    n   Religion
o   “A New Metabolic Regime”
o   A confluence of disaster and opportunities
    n   Sound familiar?
o   Nutritional blanding
    n   diet of necessity
o   LESS leisure
    n   Less singing and dancing
o   Social differentiation
o   Was agriculture a better lifeway?
o   More people, but was life better?
o   Irreversible changes
    n Population
    n Land use
    n Society
    Controlled Solar Energy System
o   More variability in outcomes???
o   Substitutability between 3 possible uses of
    n   Food
    n   Animals for work
    n   Wood for heat and shelter
o   Economic tradeoffs
              Eat it or Heat it
o   Metabolic energy for
    human activity
o   Mechanical energy
    from animals
o   Thermal energy from
o   Mutually exclusive
    land uses
o   Dexterous
o   Creative
o   Singing and dancing
   o    Large
   o    Fast
   o    Time, weight
        and speed

On a feedlot, young beef cattle are grown to market weight on a diet that consists primarily
of grain. Cattle that are fed grain reach market size at about 14 months of age,
compared to 18 to 24 months for grass-fed beef, but raising cattle on grain is much
more energy-intensive. (EPA)
 o    Brrrr
                                     Heat it
 o    Expands available living locations
Recently I discovered a company through a Google ad that
made the Eskimold. Well I ordered one and we had a hoot
making this lopsided Igloo. I recommend it for a fun winter
             Energy Budgeting
o   Agricultural societies were limited by distance
    in terms of energy budgets
o   1 person = 40 KG and 25 km/day at a cost of
    1 kg of food.
o   40 days, round trip, or the trade is limited to
o   Draw the circle for trade: only high value
o   Location Economics
Agriculture Invites Innovation
o   High value trade
o   More productive crops
o   More productive transport
o   Increasing population pressures
o   The NEED for improving the energy
    conversion of solar energy
The Incoming Solar Energy Limits
o   Transport and thus trade cannot have a
    negative energy balance
o   No longer true in the fossil age
o   A need for increased bioefficiency of crops
    n   More monoculture
    n   More requirements for human interaction
    n   Genetic engineering of corn, grains and potatoes
    n   Innovation
             Broader Implications
o   Concentrated populations of humans
o   Concentrated specific matter
    n   Nutrients and by-products
o   Removing same matter from the hinterlands
o   Removing the productivity of soils
o   Removing the productivity of mines
o   Reducing the diversity of the endowments
                 Dust to Dust
o   Agriculture and urbanization focuses attention
    on specific randomly distributed elements
o   These elements are not returned for
    distribution after use
o   Imagine farming on a graveyard
o   This reduces the potentiality of the incoming
    solar energy
         Conservation Of Matter
o   Concentrating randomly distributing elements
o   Reusing those same elements?
o   Recombine and redistribute for reuse
o   Recall the Jacobs conduit idea
o   A new chemical regime
“The only and epochal escape from
this dilemma was to finally break
the bonds of this system and to
shift to an energy regime of an
altogether different nature.”
   highly significant or important especially bringing about or
   marking the beginning of a new development or era
     Population Pressures Mandate A
o   “Economic growth became the system
o   “If it ends in a dead end, there is a danger,
    because of its tendency towards globalisation
    and universalisation, that for the first time in
    history not only a single society but in
    principle all of humanity will be affected.”
              A New Paradigm
o   Agrarian societies were innovative within a
o   Fossil fuel societies are expansive in terms of
    energy use with no obvious budget.
o   Fossil fuel societies are by definition a
    transitory phase of humanity
o   Hunter gatherer societies had lots of singing
    and dancing
               Labour Productivity
o   Megafuana hunting 40-60 MJ/hour
    n   Lots of fun
o   Some kind of change = small game hunting 4-6
    n   Ouch
o   Agriculture 12-20 MJ/hr
    n   Some singing off key
o   Fossil Fuels
    n   No limit
                    Consider It

o   Human: 100 pounds (ouch) walk 15 miles a day and
    eats 2.2 pounds of that food from incoming solar
o   Gasoline: moves a 1500 pound car 30 miles in half
    an hour and doesn’t need to eat today’s sunshine.
o   The limitations are gone
o   Or are they?
o   “led to the formation of behaviour that appears
    absurd from an energy point of view.”
               A Short Fling
o   A treasure of development
o   Unsustainable
o   Pollution
o   Climate change
o   Biodiversity
o   Singing and dancing
o   62% of moms feel guilty, what about dads?

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Lingjuan Ma Lingjuan Ma MS
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