ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth – Book Review

Energy ignorance is not bliss.

If you have ever flipped a light switch, consider reading ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, an energy primer with dramatic photos.

Without energy, our lives would come to a screeching standstill so it seems to me that at a minimum we should have a basic understanding of what energy is, where it comes from, and how producing it affects people and the planet.

I discovered ENERGY during my own quest to learn more about how our society generates power and its impact on us and the environment. This book covers energy in an easy to read and understandable manner.

Book Review

As you turn the pages between the foreword and the introduction in ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, you will get a preview of what you are about to read. Twenty-five photos, each taking up two pages, show energy in a myriad of ways including a uranium prospecting site near the Grand Canyon, a palm oil plantation in Indonesia, a wind farm in California, a concentrated solar plant in Spain, and a tar sands extraction site in Alberta, Canada.

The remaining pages of the book will enlighten you about all forms of energy, provide you with a historical framework of how we got to where we are, examine economics and environmental impacts, uncover myths, and give you hope that there is a better way to power our world.

Accompanied by photos illustrating the subject matter, ENERGY is comprised of informational pieces and short essays written by energy experts, conservationists, authors, researchers, scientists, analysts, environmentalists, engineers, philosophers, and activists. The book’s content is organized into seven sections.

  • ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Illusion of Endless Growth Book CoverPart I: A Deeper Look at the Energy Picture
  • Part II: The Predicament
  • Part III: The Landscape of Energy
  • Part IV: False Solutions
  • Part V: Wildness Under Attack
  • Part VI: Depowering Destruction
  • Part VII: What We’re For

The dedication for ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth sums up what is at stake.

“For the wild creatures whose habitat is being destroyed by a rapacious energy economy, and for the children whose breathing is labored due to pollution from fossil fuels. May a future energy economy that mirrors nature’s elegance arrive soon enough to relieve their suffering.”

The Bottom Line

The Foundation for Deep Ecology published ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth in collaboration with the Post Carbon Institute and Watershed Media. These three organizations are involved in educating, promoting, and advocating for a transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world.

ENERGY editors Tom Butler and George Wuerthner are both authors and activists with the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Their other books include Wildlands Philanthropy, Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy and Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation.

I believe a wide range of people will find this book informative and I like the fact that you do not need to be a scientist or a technical person to understand the contents.

ENERGY is a large and hefty tome weighing in at 5.8 pounds with 336 pages and 152 color photographs. Due to its size, I found that it was more comfortable to read the book sitting open on my dining room table. A smaller book might be easier to handle, but I think the large photographs make an impact that could not be achieved with less page real estate. The information items and essays are short, which make this an ideal book for people with busy schedules. You can easily read a few pieces at a time and come back to others later. I read ENERGY during my lunch breaks over the course of a month or so.

When I purchased ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, I also bought and read its predecessor Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining. I am donating my copies to the local library so that others can read and share these remarkable books.

Featured Image at Top: BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Drilling Platform on Fire in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, Photo by unknown photographer

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Earth Day 2017 – Mr. President, Go Green

Veteran Co-Owned Solar Company Based in San Diego, CA - Photo Semper Solaris
Veteran Co-Owned Solar Company Based in San Diego, CA – Photo Semper Solaris

For Earth Day this year, coming up on April 22, 2017, write a letter to President Trump letting him know a concern of yours, environmental or otherwise.

Prior to the first Earth Day in 1970, smog was so thick in some cities you could not see across the street, water pollution was so bad that rivers caught on fire, and pesticides were poisoning not only pests but people and wildlife, too. Richard Nixon was the President of the United States.

On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans took to the streets demanding that the Federal Government take action to protect the environment and public health. The modern environmental movement gained traction and people from all walks of life supported environmental legislation. During the 1970’s, the Environmental Protection Agency was founded and Congress passed important environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

Since 1970, Earth Day as spread around the world encouraging people everywhere to take action to protect Mother Earth, the place we all call home.

A few years ago, I began a tradition of writing to the President of the United States for Earth Day (I write on other days, too). This year, I wrote the letter below to President Trump about renewable energy.

April 17, 2017

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: National Security and Renewable Energy

Dear President Trump,

While reading your 2018 budget proposal America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, a sentence in your message to Congress on page 7 resonated with me.

“A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority—because without safety, there can be no prosperity.”

Safety from terrorist attacks is just one way to help Americans feel safe. We also need clean air to breathe, safe water drink, healthy food to eat, a roof over our heads, and a habitable planet to live on.

As an American citizen, I respectfully urge you to support ramping up renewable energy to promote safety and prosperity for all Americans.

The Pentagon has stated that climate change is a major threat to national security and the DOD has embraced renewable energy to improve systems efficiency, troop safety, and mission effectiveness.

Expanding renewable energy to power American homes, businesses and transportation would enhance our national security and provide jobs. The U.S. Energy and Employment Report and the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 with projections to 2050 provide compelling information about how renewable energy and energy efficiency is already contributing to your make America great again strategy.

Solar – 374,000 Americans are working full or part time in the solar industry, a workforce increase of 25% in 2016. American veterans hold 9% of the 260,077 full-time solar jobs.

Wind – 102,000 Americans are working in the wind industry, a workforce increase of 32% in 2016.

Energy Efficiency – 2.2 million Americans are working on energy efficient products and services related to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program (which you propose eliminating). Of those jobs, 290,000 are manufacturing jobs.

Mr. President, you have considerable business experience and acumen, which is why many Americans voted for you, so I urge you to put that knowledge to work in supporting renewable energy.

My spouse and I are trying to do our part. When we installed solar panels on our roof, we specifically chose a manufacturer producing panels in the U.S. and paid 9% extra to support American workers.

Let us work together to keep Earth habitable for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.

Sincerely,

Linda Poppenheimer

The Unlikely Environmentalist at greengroundswell.com

For Earth Day 2017, please write a letter to President Trump and join millions of Americans and me for the March for Science on April 22. If you can’t make it on the 22nd, then consider participating in the People’s Climate Movement March on April 29.

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