Why are our leaders not looking at the most “obvious” of all solutions?
The world definitely needs smart, “big picture” thinkers like Elon Musk, CEO of TESLA and SpaceX. He has been on my radar screen for several years–because I believe that this man could accomplish almost any challenge he chose to undertake. Last week, he formally introduced the TESLA battery in the 17-minute video, below.
It’s actually a pretty impressive presentation as he skillfully described TESLA’s answer to the world’s energy dilemma. Obviously we can’t burn fossil fuels forever. Two reasons: First, there is a finite supply of them and second, if we did burn all of the known fossil fuel reserves, we’d have no chance whatsoever of avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Quite a conundrum.
My beef on this topic is that this brilliant man never mentions the most obvious of all solutions to the majority of our environmental issues–our food choices. And it’s not like I haven’t tried to get his attention. I sent a letter to him two years ago and put a copy of that letter in a blog to him later that week. (See blog link below.) I got a one-sentence response from his secretary saying that he was too busy to take on any new projects. Here’s a brief excerpt from that letter:
Elon, I am writing to request a meeting with you. As you say, “We need to figure out how to have the things we love and not destroy the world.” Right now, we’re destroying the world by the way we eat. And the problem is getting worse every day.
While watching the video, you’ll find yourself thinking that his TESLA battery could be the answer to our energy crisis. But the problem is not only energy. It’s all the STUFF that we make that requires not only energy but the steadily increasing use of finite natural resources.
Drawbacks to the Solar Solution as outlined by Dr. Stephen Emmott in TEN BILLION:
It is difficult to imagine existing green-energy technologies solving our energy demands at scale. For example, the next generation silicon photovoltaic cells require intensive mining of numerous metals and rare earths. Mining such metals involves processes that are anything but “green.” Many of these metals are at severe risk of what is known in the trade as “cumulative supply deficits”— that is, they’re running out.
And the production of the new generation of solar panels involves nitrogen triflouride— one of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth. Secondly, even if green-energy technologies were a solution, which they’re not, we would need to be embarking on a planetary-wide green energy program right now. And we’re not.
Another big problem with all possible solutions to our environmental crisis is that it’s not a static problem. It continues to get worse every day. For example:
- In TEN BILLION, Emmott stated that in 1960, we flew 62 billion passenger miles. In 1980, we flew 620 billion miles, and in 2012, the number was 4 trillion.
- As for automobiles. In 1960, there were 100 million on the road. In 1980, there were 300 million. Now there are one billion. It gets worse, we’re currently on track to produce four billion cars in the next forty years–after it took us 112 years to produce the first two billion. We’ll also need to produce more food in those forty years than we have produced in the past 10,000 years combined.
The Bottom Line. We need a lot more than solar batteries to save us. Eventually, we need a global economic model that is not built on maximizing the consumption of STUFF in a world of finite resources. And that’s going to take some time.
While visiting with Dr. Emmott in October of 2013, he seemed to agree with me that we will never learn to live in harmony with nature without almost completely taking the “animal” out of the food equation. The good news is that if we can do that, we just might be able to buy ourselves enough time to solve other pressing issues like overpopulation, overconsumption and saying goodbye to fossil fuels.
Why do our greatest leaders not understand that?
Will someone please forward this blog to Pope Francis?
(arguably the most influential person on the planet today)
- Source article. Elon Musk announces Tesla Energy.
- My first blog about Musk on 5-15-13. Elon Musk. Mission-motivated leadership in action
- My blogpost on 4-29-15. The Pope and the “Protein Myth”
The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.
Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
- What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
- A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
- Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unaware, by Richard Oppenlander.
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes. eCornell is now using our survey in their plant-based nutrition course. Check it out on your smartphone at eCornell.com/4Leaf-Survey.
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