Your Personal View

Let’s say that you become energy conscious. Or, rather, energy sustainable. In doing, you strive to reduce your energy consumption. Electrical power comes from local, renewable resources. Batteries keep energy ever present. You become a vegetarian and obtain all your food from local providers. Your home could be classified as tiny. Inside it, consumer durables are mostly absent. Such actions showcase you as a very energy conscious person.

How much benefit do these actions give to other life on this planet? Less oil consumption means more stays in the ground. And, if you stop eating meat at every meal, then there would be fewer domestic animals and thus more land for wildlife. Such feedback makes being energy conscious worthwhile.

The error in this is in believing that others will continue to consume the same amount as you decrease your consumption. Without feedback or a social prerogative, people continue on their journey of excess consumption. Only by convincing the vast majority of people to be energy conscious will consumption patterns change. If enough change then other living beings benefit. Can you think of a global method to begin this change? Some have suggested a global carbon tax. Or, do you think our children’s future will be better if we continue our instinctive goal to maximize personal consumption?


When we feel hungry, we eat assuming there is food at hand. When we’re full then we stop eating. This represents feedback at the biological level.

There is also feedback at the technological level. For example, we experience easier lives by using semi-autonomous powered assistants such as vehicles. As we desire more ease, we want more assistance. However, we have no feedback saying we’ve got enough assistance. Rather, with easily available financial credit, there is no feedback to limit our access to technology-based powered assistants.

Nevertheless, the use of powered assistants comes with its own feedback mechanism. Principally, as over 85% of mechanical power comes from a carbon base, the use of powered assistants results in airborne pollution. This leads to an increase in the Earth’s global temperature which results in the melting of the polar ice caps and desertification of many regions. This is a very strong environmental feedback to our use of technology-based assistants.

If we ignore the feedback and continue to eat though full, then we suffer health consequences. If we continue to use powered assistants and ignore the environmental feedback are we ready to accept the consequences?

Human impact via machine tools
Machine tools