Planting the Seeds

Today, I was catching up on my news, reading about the Clock of the Long Now, when I heard a little story about roof beams at Oxford's New College (really, you should just watch Stewart Brand's clip). Five hundred years ago, at the same time as the college was built, the founders planted oak trees, because they knew that long after they were all dead, the beams would become beetley and eventually need replacing. Their foresight floored me; to plan that far ahead, to ensure a legacy for their successors deep in the future. And it got me thinking about our energy system, which underpins every other part of the economy, and about the seeds we should be planting now. Read the rest.

1 comment:

  1. I'm unable to track down a source at the moment, but there was an article that made the rounds on the internet about problems at one of the fusion research facilities. It turns out that they were having trouble containing the high energy beams of neutrons, and were considering venting them into the atmosphere. I think they decided that would cause cancer, to they are having to find more expensive filters, I believe. The point I took away from this is that even fusion, if done incorrectly, has environmental and health concerns. BP's recent oil spill in the Gulf and the fission plant incident in Fukushima indicate that human greed and corruption inevitably leads to disasters even when energy technologies can be used safely. The environmental and public health side effects of any new technology must be addressed with thorough, transparent, and powerful oversight, probably in addition to removing the profit motives behind energy production.