The word Sustainability is the most overused hackneyed phrase of the day. If we believe the planet is not affected by the passage of time let alone human activity we are simply dreaming. Entropy increases in time as we measure time in the direction that entropy increases. This was said by Stephen Hawking.
Hence we cannot leave the world as the same place we were born into even if we did zero burning of fossil fuels or zero cutting down of forests. Even photosynthesis increases entropy. Some argue that photosynthesis lowers entropy but it simply does not.
My book Hydrogen – Hope or Hype? explains all of this much further and is an easy read and very inexpensive EBook linked below
National Geographic asked me to answer the following question:
Do you think that by tapping into the new alternative energy sources we can reverse most of the damage we have done to our environment?
Of course the answer is No. Entropy happens and we cannot ever reverse that. What we can do is move forward in a manner that brings progress with minimal impact. This includes a major modification in behavior to reverse population growth. It requires a social change in our mindset to live very differently. We cannot blame the fuel we must blame the lifestyle. Getting rid of the Brady Bunch lifestyle is needed to slow down the rate of damage to the planet. Some damage will occur no matter what simply because Entropy increases.
National Geographic is airing a series titled "Breakthrough: Energy on the Edge” that premieres December 6 at 9 pm ET on National Geographic Channel. This series is well worth you all watching.
I would expand the title from Energy on the Edge to Planet Earth on the Edge. We do have the choice of how much Entropy we add and the rate at which we add it but folks forget the misguided dream that alternative energy can reverse entropy. Even the impingement of photons on solar cells adds to our collective entropy.
Lindsay Leveen The Green Machine AKA The Thermonator writes at www.greenexplored.com and he is an award winning Chemical Engineer as well as an award winning Journalist. He is quoted as saying “you can fuel some of the people some of the time but you cannot fuel all of the people all of the time.”