This took a long time to think through. I knew that this was the next logical place for the discussion to go, but was unsure how to broach such a vast topic in an efficient manner. When we look to physics, and find that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only change form, we must so too see the constraints on energy in the context of adhering to physical laws. E= MC squared unleashed the atom, but at a massive, nearly unimaginable price in energy. billions of tons of rock have been blasted and carted away, refined, purified coaxed and cajoled to come up with fuel for the nuclear industry. Literally kiloquads of energy have been used up before reactors can even fire up. This still can’t begin to express the concrete “containment” structures, lime kilns are not known for their energy efficiency, now are they? If there were no need for the waste from nuke plants for the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, no country would have swallowed the cost of nukes. Most notably because of the ridiculously long need for “safe storage” of such waste. There is no safe storage and there are rumors that low level rad waste is being fired as projectile points and bomb casings from our military hardware.
In nature, creation and destruction are paired in endless cycles, intimately tied to the Earth. We can rain hell on whatever part of the planet we see fit to destroy and never once consider that lifetimes of energy have gone into making each and every one of those places the best that it can be. When we engage in destructive acts, we set ourselves in opposition to history and the gains that countless generations have been able to coax from their surroundings. Ponder how the most recent war would have been different if we went in, arming each soldier with 1,000 native fruit and nut trees. The conversation would have been, “We are so very sorry for the trauma that your culture has sustained at the hands of war, we know that the debt you are owed could never be repaid, but let us restore your courtyards, your public space, your farms. It may take a generation, but we are willing to help.” When each soldier had planted their thousand trees, they could either go home or re enlist to restore the Earth, her soils and her people. I contend that casualties would have been low, the hearts and minds of the people could grasp that we were not giving charity, but a hand up out of war torn despair. We could have spent a fraction of the money, built far more schools and infrastructure, and spilled virtually no blood. The military should never be used for humanitarian missions anyway, would you hire a bouncer to be an altar boy?
Well, the major difference between how we practice creation and destruction in our modern game of cat’s cradle, is to allow all things to be degraded a bit rather than clean up our act. Many sewage treatment plants for instance burn their residual dried sludge, leaving behind toxic ash and liberating some dangerous compounds into the air. In nature, all things are connected. There is no away and all things come back in one way or another. We seem to forget that we are constrained by physical reality and hopelessly try to juggle more balls when the basic cycling of natural systems remains mysterious or poorly understood. Imagine if we had spent the NASA budget instead on researching our home planet, perhaps it’s oceans and the sphere which gravity has stuck us to. We are always tearing down to build, but in an earthwise spiral we must accept the limits we have been dealt. We must evolve into sustainabilty or be faced with a series of massive shocks to our way of life as resources are degraded, we become sicker and expend ever more for ever less.