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April 10, 2022

They Are Playing With Primal Forces [Joe Mannix]

I don't know about you folks, but I like living in an industrial civilization. I like the relative ease of life. I like the comforts. I like the tools. I like my long lifespan. I like my generally high level of health. I like the world of plenty that we have built. Industrial civilization is a truly remarkable and incredible development.

But industrial civilization is not magic, it is not the result of blind luck and it is not invincible. Industrial civilization has certain prerequisites, and we discovered and developed them over time thanks to enormous effort. Interestingly - though perhaps unsurprisingly - these prerequisites also overlap significantly with basic public health development. Our long lifespans, low levels of disease and generally high degree of health all tie in to the same great enablers of our industrial way of life.

The core requirements for industrial civilization are clean water, sanitation, refrigeration and transportation. The first three are also essential to the remarkable levels of public health we all enjoy. Clean water and the water treatment and distribution systems that deliver it keeps disease at bay and keeps us alive and healthy - and able to produce. Public sanitation was one of the most important developments of the 19th and 20th centuries. Public sewer systems, wastewater treatment and the management of trash handling and removal have probably done more for public health and workforce productivity than antibiotics and industrial management techniques. Refrigeration keeps our food from spoiling and improves access to food. Transportation lets us get stuff - especially food and other critical supplies - from where they are to where they're needed.

These four things are the cornerstones of our industrial civilization and our health. Without all of these things being present, maintained and working literally all of the time, the world as we know it ends. Everything else is downstream from and dependent on these four pillars. The synthetic fabrics that last a long time, the televisions that entertain us, the phones and computers that connect us, the ready access to metals, the tools of our daily lives - everything is made possible by these cornerstones.

Those cornerstones have something in common. Like everything, they depend on human ingenuity and labor and various input materials but more than that, they all depend on energy.

All of our civilization's cornerstones depend on enormous quantities of stable, reliable, affordable, standardized energy that is consistently delivered and always available. A power outage to your home due to unreliable infrastructure or rolling blackouts because of inadequate supply are grossly inconvenient and irritating for people in their homes. They are an unacceptable disaster if they hit the cornerstones and if the hits keep coming, those cornerstones will crumble and the modern world - the world we have enjoyed since the 19th century - ends.

The green energy crowd apparently doesn't understand any of this. They think unreliable power is a manageable problem. People can use batteries or do without their iPhones if needed. This is true, insofar as we are talking about individuals. This assumption does not hold up when we're talking about the pillars of the world as we know it. They need the energy to flow and flow constantly while remaining stable and affordable. If that doesn't happen, we're drinking bad water (if we have water at all), we're stewing in filth, trash is everywhere, our food is rotten and we are limited to what we can get within walking distance (or, if you're rich, a day or two's horseback ride).

The green energy crowd that focuses only on vague notions of "The Environment" or "Carbon" are recklessly playing with the primal forces that underpin everything in our world. They are children playing with matches, and if they aren't stopped, they'll burn the house down.

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posted by Open Blogger at 12:00 PM

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