Tag Archives: energy

What is sustainability?

I define sustainability.

If you kill this crow you undermine an energy renewal process in the ecosystem.

If you kill this crow you undermine an energy renewal process in the ecosystem.

I think people over-complicate the definition on sustainability, which confuses and drives people away from adopting sustainable practices in their life, business and community.  I shall use the example of the human body to present three rules that define sustainability.

The human body is a machine that requires energy to work.  The human body is an energy system, and sustainability focuses upon providing the body with enough energy to work such as being able to breath and pump blood around the body.

Sustainability follows three basic rules:

1. Availability: there is sufficient available energy to achieve a purpose, design or function.

There is a basic level of energy the body requires each day for life, if this energy is unavailable the result is sickness and death.  The human body needs energy at all times to power the heart muscles to pump blood around the body.  Inadequate available energy means the body will go into crisis energy management: burning off muscle; collapsing the metabolic rate; redirecting all available resources to core life support processes.

2. Flow: energy must have unobstructed flow throughout the system.

If you block the flow of oxygen or blood from any part of the human body, that part will sicken and die.  The body is in constant motion, for instance the heart is pumping blood every minute of life, disruption of this motion will have dire consequences for health.

3. Renewal: the energy system needs constant renewal of energy.

The human body uses up energy as it works, losing this energy as heat.  The human body needs a constant source of food, and be able to process this food into a viable source of energy for work. Lock a human in a room with no food, over time they will sicken and die.

Summary

Sustainability is easy to understand, follow the three basic rules and you are being sustainable. The three rules are applicable to any energy system from the human body, to ecosystem, to community, to business.  Sustainability leads to prosperity which is health, happiness and abundance.  The reverse of sustainability is a wasteland of sickness, despair and poverty.

Nature consists of a network of energy systems, which require energy to function.  Sustainability might include offensive energy strategies which obtain energy, or defensive strategies that include energy conservation, efficiency and energy recycling.

The current human worldview, its paradigm, includes: consuming more energy than what is available in an energy system; blocking the flow of energy through obsession with control; undermining or paralysing energy renewal systems; and suicidally, even wiping out the pools of available energy, for instance poisoning water aquifers through fracking.  Predictability, as in the human body example, there is only one outcome from unsustainable treatment of energy systems, sickness then death.

A global leaky bucket

Global weather extremes will force people to hard choices.

Nature will have the last word in the debate over sustainability.

Nature will have the last word in the debate over sustainability.

I write this in despair, it is snowing again here in Colchester UK.  I admit envy for those of you who live in California or Hong Kong area, I see your photographs where the seasons always seem to be warm and sunny.  The northern Jet Stream refuses to move, Greenland enjoys growing strawberries as the lambs die in the fields of Britain from the winter that refuses to let go.

The extremes of weather are noted in the South of the world as well as the North.  Argentina has had the worst floods in decades last week.  The cause is that the systems such as the Jet Stream are paralysed in one place, thus everyone suffers flood, drought or winter in excess.  Nobody is sure why this paralysis is going on with systems like the Jet Stream, some say it is climate change, the point is that we are experiencing this, and it appears to be more than a temporary issue.

My opinion is that these weather extremes are here to stay for the long duration.  One is then left with a harsh reality of does one seek to control the weather or adapt to the weather? How does one control the weather, a chaotic energy system where even a small change can have great consequences? Perhaps adaptation is the better option, but does one know how huge those adaptations will have to be where drought and flood could be lasting decades?

Lets say food, water and energy are all contained in a bucket.  We take a jug and scoop out from the bucket what we need.  There is a tap that is constantly running filling the bucket with the food, water and energy.  We waste those resources so the bucket leaks.  We disrupt or destroy the renewal systems in the ecosystems so the tap is no longer running as fast as it should.  We are greedy consumers so we take more than we need from the bucket with our jug.  How will the bucket look now? Is this a sustainable future to you?

If our global weather extremes continue as they are it will be like a storm rocking the bucket spilling its contents, will our bucket future look even less sustainable? Extreme weather destroys harvests, kills animals, sends already distressed ecosystems into the abyss.  What happens when the bucket is so empty that people can no longer enjoy their lifestyle of wasteful excess, or worse that people grow cold, hungry and thirsty? Do they sit there and do nothing but die? Will they fight? Who will fight who? As the bucket contents get ever smaller, who will win in the fighting for what is left?

Being a good steward

Stewards look after their stakeholders.

Steward your resources and those of others well, avoid waste.

Steward your resources and those of others well, avoid waste.

In my business I am steward, in that I protect, guide and feed that business by managing all its resources in an efficient way.  Good stewardship is the difference between the success or failure of a business, which includes the efficient management of limited resources of time, energy and money.

I find that other people are reckless with the resources of others, they fail to recognise that time, energy and money of others is finite, to be respected.  How annoying to me in recent days when an internet project I contributed my writing talents to fell apart because the stewards fought amongst themselves.  Then there was that individual who invited me to their home over the weekend costing me two hours for something I could have answered in less than ten minutes on the phone.  Or the individual I worked with over dozens of meetings and a website last year which came to nothing.  Those were resources lost to my business I am unable to recover.

The onus of being a good steward of your time, energy and money is down to you, since others can turn parasitic on you if given the chance.  If you expect others to be respectful of your precious resources then you must be respectful of them.  As a blogger I keep my posts fast, simple and easy, because I know that your time is precious.  It is an honour to me you read Liberated Way, I keep my impact on your life to a minimum, and hopefully you benefit in a positive way from my posts.  This is the same for all my customers in my business, I try to keep the impact upon their lives at a minimum with efficient business systems.  Business customers and blog readers are stakeholders, the steward has a responsibility to delight them with positive benefits without being a burden to them.

How to play the energy system and win

Energy systems can be played like a card or strategy game to win in life.

You can play an energy system like a card game or a board game.  Know the rules, play skilfully and concentrate on good energy.

You can play an energy system like a card game or a board game. Know the rules, play skilfully and concentrate on good energy.

You are dealt a hand of cards, which when you play with skill according to the rules results in you winning the game.  Energy systems are like a game of cards with rules, which you can play to your advantage.  I am only going to concentrate on one aspect of this energy game, which is why you should focus your card game towards the good energy in life rather than the bad energy.

Every object in this universe is either a, or part of, an energy system through which energy flows. Your body, this blog and the planet earth are all examples of energy systems.  All these energy systems are chaotic, self organising and interconnected systems.  The energy systems work according to observable processes that is relevant to your body as it is to our galaxy.  You can through observation gradually work out the rules of the processes by which the energy systems work by, then play them to your advantage.

Energy is the currency of all these energy systems, so you need to think in terms of seeing everything as energy in an energy system if you are to play this game well.  Energy is your playing cards, you have choice of how you play or change your cards which determines your outcomes.

Energy systems are on a spectrum from healthy to sick based upon the type of energy in play in the system.  Although there are many forms of energy, for simplicity in this game we can split it between good energy that makes you healthy and bad energy that makes you sick.  If you have a healthy energy system then you get prosperity, which is health, happiness and abundance; if the energy system is sick you get sickness, misery and poverty.  You may have observed the objective of this game is you play cards with good energy to win prosperity, which is your prize for winning this game.

You have no need to be a caring or compassionate person to play this game, this will appeal to anyone’s self-interest to attract prosperity into their lives rather than the wasteland of its opposite.  There is nothing mystical about this game, nor have you any need for morality.  You play good energy cards skilfully according to a set of rules for personal gain, just as a professional card or strategy game player would. The principles are natural and are not rocket science.

You have a choice of playing a good energy card or a bad energy card.  I advise you to discard the bad energy cards and focus on the good energy cards.  Good energy attracts good energy according to three areas as follows:

Feedback

All energy systems have feedback processes built into them. If you do a kindness to another human being they are likely to feedback kindness to you.  Feedback may be direct, for instance you befriend a dog by being friendly towards it, the dog might head off and find a ball to invite you to play a game with it.

Feedback may be indirect for example if you throw a piece of litter on the ground.  This litter is bad energy, it may seem that there is no feedback at you personally from dropping that litter but it sets off a chain reaction that may come back at you.  The litter you dropped encourages others to drop litter.  The litter attracts the rats and bacteria who bring with them diseases.  Everyone is encouraged to see the mass of litter as a dumping zone, so they dump asbestos, chemical drums and general waste.  Nobody now wants to visit the area except the lowlifes.  It happens you have to pass through that area where you dumped the piece of litter, you get mugged by a lowlife, ending disabled for the rest of your life.  The piece of litter and the mugger may be different in appearance, but in essence they are the same bad energy which grew until it eventually came back to haunt you.

Energy fields

The reason why energy systems like your body have order, stability and self-organising ability is they have energy fields.  These energy fields resist entropy and is why these energy systems wont immediately fall apart into entropy.  These energy fields are charged to favour good or bad energy.

Energy fields are charged to attract the sort of energy you have been throwing out into your own energy system.  All inputs and outputs in your energy system must first pass through your energy field, and this will charge it in favour of good or bad energy.  With regards to your own energy field it has no concept of inside or outside, so if you harm another person the energy field will treat that as harm to self.

Nothing is fixed in self.  An energy field can be changed indirectly through energy inputs or outputs.  All changes to energy fields has an energy cost, learning a new skill from scratch has less cost than undoing a bad habit.

In your card game dealing with good energy will imprint onto the energy field a charge in favour of good energy.  If you however imprint bad energy onto an energy field, it will start attracting bad energy, and presents a high-energy cost challenge to reverse.  Energy fields can be habituated to smiling at everyone each day, just as they can create an addiction to drugs.

Energy blocking

The more good energy flowing through your energy system the more it will block out bad energy.  The reverse is that bad energy has a blocking capability on good energy.  Everyone has met someone who is either buzzing with positivity or walking cloud of misery, and in both cases it is difficult to break a highly positive person with negativity, just as it is difficult to get a depressed person to see the brighter side of life.

Opportunities for breaking the cycle

You note that once good or bad energy is in abundance in an energy system that a self-perpetuating loop is created which can make it healthy or sick.  Excess good energy leaves your energy system to often create such an impression on the outside world that it will become the legacy which will live on after you die.  Bad energy causes entropy, which collapses energy systems.  It is this energy collapse that can offer an opportunity to break the negative-cycle in an energy system.  As I understand it the energy field collapses dumping energy it has been holding into the outside world, this causes a feedback against the energy system, which can come in the form of a crisis or helper to reboot the energy system.  An example of this in mythology is when King Arthur screwed up, and the Holy Grail became involved to restore the sick land.  In history the French on the verge of total defeat to the English got a miracle helper in Joan of Arc.  In every day life,  the opportunity could be as a bloody revolution, an assassination, a nervous breakdown, an accident, sickness, divorce, redundancy, or burn out.  These opportunities tend to attempt to reboot the failing energy system, but it is painful, messy and destructive.

Our relationship with the Grim Reaper and energy

Everything is energy.

It is the doom of all energy systems to be cut down by entropy.

It is the doom of all energy systems to be cut down by entropy.

To understand the grave threat that humanity faces to its survival is to understand energy, energy systems and the laws of thermodynamics.

The universe is energy.  You are energy. Your thoughts, words and actions are energy.  What you hear, see and smell is energy.  All change and motion is energy.  All matter is energy.  How you look and how you behave is energy.  Your dreams, hopes and fears are energy.  There is nothing mystical about energy, it is a scientific fact that everything is energy.

You are composed of an energy field, through which energy flows, which together form an energy system.  You are an energy system, interconnected with other energy systems.

All energy desires to return to its primordial chaotic state, this gives rise to entropy.  The ancient Egyptians personified entropy as a snake, calling it Apophis .  The ancient Celts called entropy Gwyn ap Nudd.  In the modern world entropy is recognised as the personification of Death, or the Grim Reaper.  Entropy is the most powerful authority in the cosmos, for it existed before this universe, and will devour this universe at its ending.

You are dying.  Entropy is stealing your energy from you.  As your energy is lost you decay into disorder in a process called old age.  At a certain point the energy deficit will be so great in your energy system it will collapse, you will die. Game over.  Your doom is to die, but you have the ability to delay this fate through a process of energy renewal and conservation.  You can cheat entropy by sending part of your energy out into a new energy system by having children, but you yourself are fated to be obliterated by entropy.

All energy systems have mass, and this mass can resist the immediate impact of entropy.  Mass creates energy fields such as gravity and magnetism that can trap, organise and give order to energy.  At all times entropy is stealing energy from the energy fields, reducing their mass, reducing their energy fields, to a point that they will decay to disorder faster and faster as they diminish in energy.

Energy systems have a capacity for renewal in that they can steal some of the energy back from entropy via their energy fields.  Energy systems are in a state of becoming through a constant state of strife and renewal. The flow of energy at work within the energy systems increases mass and the energy field through energy conservation.  All energy systems are temporary in nature in that they are running at an energy deficit, their doom is delayed only through their ability to steal energy and conserve that energy as work available to the energy system.  It is through the creative capacity of energy systems that new energy systems arise to replace the ones that die.

A healthy energy system has an abundant flow of energy coming into the system, and an abundant energy available as work within the system through conservation.  Energy systems that are overly abundant with energy become creative throwing out new energy systems, for instance in human society this is marked by a blaze of art and scientific progress.

Energy systems lacking energy both as an input and as available within the system will move to a state of increasing disorder and decay.  Decay is identifiable in that infrastructure falls apart and processes malfunction.  In the UK the widespread pot holes in roads are an example of decay of infrastructure, and the death of patients in UK hospitals from hunger and thirst is due to decay of process. Disorder can manifest in many forms from violence, to anarchy, to fragmentation of infrastructure and processes within an energy system.  Syria is an example of an energy system that is collapsing to disorder. Egypt is an example of an energy system that is about to collapse into disorder.

All energy systems have a tipping point.  If there is lots of energy in a system in excess to its needs, it turns creative churning out new energy systems until it returns to a state of deficit.  If there is too little energy in a system it will collapse.  Whilst the decline of an energy system may appear steady through increasing manifestations of decay and disorder, when it hits the tipping point the collapse is rapid and total.

For me the question is no longer if energy systems that humanity depends upon will fail, rather it is when and how many energy systems will collapse.  An energy system like the Earth has sufficient potential energy to recover from a collapse, however the recovery after an energy system collapse can be slow, for the Earth hundreds to millions of years, which is not enough time for humanity to derive enough energy to survive as a species.

The difference between consumer and stakeholder

Would you rather have a stake in the environment or merely consume it?

Be a consumer or a stakeholder? Your choice. .

Be a consumer or a stakeholder? Your choice.

If a bank loaned me money the relationship would be that of a consumer.  The bank has no interest in my business, only on making a fast profit at my expense. The bank will require that I pay back its loan plus interest.  The bank would see me as a cow to be milked for every penny it can through bank charges and selling me expensive unnecessary financial products.  The bank has a parasitic viewpoint to its customers in making profit without regard to encouraging happiness, health or abundance in its customers.  If an individual invested money in a business they are in effect a stakeholder, their focus is on producing a healthy profitable business so they gain a return on their money, the downside is they take a loss if the business fails.  It is in the interests of the investor to do everything in their power to assist the business to succeed.

The consumer

In the old economic global order you and I are classed as consumers.  Our interest is limited to the consumption of products and services sold to us by the providers of those products and services. We have no say in the processes or the provision of the products or services: for instance the process that employs children in factories to provide Apple products; or the processes of Monsanto that kills bees.

Short-termism

The contract between consumer and provider is limited to a short-term exchange of product and service for money, often with a notion that what is consumed will in a short time be thrown away for a better one, or as a result of the design that gives it a short-term life cycle to encourage further consumption.

Consumers are placed in a state of constant need

The consumerist system is designed to see you and me as nothing more than a hungry locust, we the consumer are always placed in a state of need in a system that often favours an outcome of parasitism where one side loses and one wins.   The idea is we satisfy this need by spending on products we often do not need, regularly and continuously; wiping out our savings, the legacy for future generations, and enslaving ourselves in perpetual debt to money merchants (banks) to keep this unsustainable system going.  Consumption is the golden ideal in this system, where the health of a nation is measured by the amount of consumption via the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recession is considered bad indicating consumption has slowed or reversed. Spending is good and saving is bad in such a system.

The stakeholder

When you get involved in the conversation on sustainability you and me are often referred to as stakeholders.  As stakeholders we take on a radically different world view to that of the consumer.  As a stakeholder you have an interest in the community, economy and the environment you are involved in.  No longer are you merely consuming resources, you have authority, and responsibility for those resources.  You become like the investor in the business, investing in the health of energy systems thus reaping the benefits of the prosperity in terms of happiness, health and abundance that the energy system will bring.  Instead of being a bystander you are centre stage in the conversation and processes of anything that you have an interest in.  You become a change master, in that now you have the power and voice; you are the change maker, in that you not ruler, priest or merchant makes the changes.

The choice

The attitudes, ideas and processes that worked at the expense of the environment for the last 50 years around spending, consumption and relentless growth are no longer sustainable.  The energy systems are no longer coping, are breaking down into disorder.  The consumer is heading towards extinction, the rise of the stakeholder is the beginning of a new order.  The choice remains if you wish to continue to be a consumer or take on a new role as a stakeholder.

The illusion of control

Nature presents alternatives to the human obsession of control.

Swans adapt to change rather than seek to control it.

Swans adapt to rather than control change.

Last night I am in bed floating on an increasingly stormy threatening ocean, afraid I would fall into the dark cold waters to my doom.  It was a dream, the bed my sense of security, the ocean the chaotic universe.  To my relief my dream bed grew larger and the ocean calmer.  We all need security, but the process of control to achieve this sense of security is wrong.

Energy systems

The universe is composed of layers of energy systems.  “Panta Rhei!” announced the philosopher Heraclitus as he observed that the natural state of the universe is to flow, move, change.  The energy in the energy systems naturally favours strife, renewal and creation.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and create.  The design of all life is movement. Energy moves, be it as a form of money, water, food, heat, knowledge; in fact everything is in a state of becoming, motion and change.  Nothing is still.

The illusion of control

Then comes humanity with their illusions of control.  Humanity entertains the delusion that the universe is deterministic, that at any given moment humanity can know everything there is to know about an energy system; in reality all energy systems feed into each other, have hidden parts, have a state of complexity of anything more than three variables that makes it impossible for even the fastest of human computers to calculate the true state of a system at any one moment. Another human delusion is that energy systems are dead cold mechanical systems thus easy to determine and control; in reality all energy systems are chaotic, living and self organising; energy systems that are destroying, renewing and creating new forms of itself.  In such energy systems the smallest change of a variable causes a large overall outcome in a system.

The danger of abstraction

Control obsessed humanity abstracts complex energy systems down to simple self-confirming illusions of control.  What will reach the ground first, a sack of feathers or a sack of apples each a ton? In an abstraction only using gravity as a variable humanity proudly declares both will arrive at the same time; however they leave out friction and air currents which can have a large unpredictable impact on the outcome. If you are unable to determine outcomes in systems, you are unable to control the system.

The danger of determinism

The process humanity uses to control the energy flow in an energy system is by forcing it to be deterministic.  This process leads to obstructions, stagnation and interference with the strife, renewal and creative aspects of energy flow in a system.  Humanity even talks about controlling the weather to achieve favourable outcomes, not realising that any attempt to interfere with energy flow in the weather will cause the entire energy system to break down.  Often by control humanity slows or even stops the energy flow altogether.  All energy systems are healthy because of the flow of energy through them in a cycle of potential-kinetic-potential-kinetic-repeat. If this cycle of flow of energy is blocked the entire system turns entropic and breaks down.  It also wastes large sums of energy fighting against the flow of energy systems.

Control leads to sick energy systems

Practically all human processes are focussed on command and control, which leads to the flow of money, energy, food, water, information being paralysed or slowed.  All energy systems that relies on this sort of energy flow starts to break down according to the laws of thermodynamics.  Look at the effects of the vast control systems on the human information and money systems due to 9-11 and the credit crunch.  Look at the children where fear of child abuse, road traffic accidents, of health and safety has the outcome of childhood obesity, allergies, mental health issues and eye sight problems.  How liberty, creativity and wisdom has been devastated in children and the human society thanks to the obsession of control.  Where energy is flowing in an energy system it is healthy, when it is controlled to the point the energy is no longer naturally flowing, sickness is the result.

Nature has the answer

What is the answer? Look to nature.  Nothing in nature is controlling energy flow, instead it uses defence and attack strategies to capture energy.  All plants and animals establish territories that contain enough energy resources to satisfy their needs, they never try to mess with the energy flow, they tap into it.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and create; all which requires energy.  All strategies in life are focussed on energy; all life aggressively and creatively captures energy, uses the energy efficiently and conserves energy.  Energy impacts life processes and purposes, ultimately determining who survives and prospers.

All plants and animals won’t control energy flow, they adapt to changes in the energy system.  When the lake in Castle Park Colchester froze over recently all the ducks headed off to the river; when snow hit Castle Park, all the squirrels vanished to their nests; even the children adapted to changing weather conditions in Castle Park by indulging in snowman building and sledging.

Fighting against energy systems costs energy

To fight against an energy system costs energy.  A plant and animal follows the rule of least resistance where they follow a strategy that costs the least amount of energy.  All life will rapidly adapt with new strategies to changing situations in an energy system, for instance some birds will turn cannibal if food runs out.  Genetically all life will mutate their DNA rapidly to environmental changes, with viruses being the fastest adapters (thus a warning if bat species are exterminated, as the viruses from bats will jump to humans to survive, for example like Ebola and SARS.)

Summary

In summary nothing in nature seeks to control energy flow, but rather adapts and uses strategies to capture, use and conserve energy in an efficient manner.  All life follows the principle of least resistance following the strategy that uses the least amount of energy to achieve an outcome.  The purpose of all life is to live, grow and to create; all which requires energy.  All life carves out spaces with enough energy resources to sustain them, which they will defend aggressively and creatively.

The stupidity of humanity and its choice

Only humanity could be stupid enough to waste energy attempting to control energy flow in energy systems, thus undermining the whole energy system that humanity depends on to survive. I dream that humanity will wake up and learn from nature, for like in my dream the outcome will be that humanity risks falling out of bed into the abyss of no return.