David Suzuki, the renowned Canadian environmental activist, author and broadcaster, says, “If you fly over a forest and look down, you'll see every green tree and plant reaching to the heavens to absorb the ultimate energy source: sunlight. What a contrast when you look down on a city or town with its naked roofs, asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks, all ignoring the sun's beneficence! Our economic systems don't often encourage the most efficient and least harmful ways of providing necessities. They aim for the quickest, easiest, cheapest and most economically profitable paths. We can do better than that.” Indeed we can and we must if we are going to leave a habitable planet for future generations. Yet as Dr. Suzuki observes, “We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone's arguing over where they're going to sit.”
Richard Heinberg is a leading expert on energy issues. He is Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. He is the author of The Party's Over, Powerdown and Peak Everything.