The Science Book of the Decade: Energy and Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet, by Tom Murphy

| August 14, 2023 | Leave a Comment

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: May 30

Year of Publication: 2021

Author(s): Joshua Spodek

Read or download Tom Murphy’s book  Energy and Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet for free here.

I didn’t think of how small my building’s elevators were when I bought a sofa after moving into my current apartment. It didn’t fit. The deliverymen tried to bring it up the stairs too. They made the first landing, but couldn’t make the turn to go up the next flight.

They had to take it back. I ended up paying a $300 restocking fee plus big tips for the deliverymen’s extra efforts. Plus I lost weeks with no sofa. Now I know my home’s limits. Living within them is no problem when I know them, only when I didn’t. A few minutes of measurement and geometry could have saved me that trouble and improved my life.

Can homo sapiens’ elevator, also known as Earth, fit us all in? As with my sofa, maybe a bit of calculation is worth saving the trouble of finding out after it’s too late. We’re past the point of eyeballing it. Our sofa is our population. The restocking fee might be civilization or billions of lives.

I doubt even those who study sustainability, most can answer important questions like

  • Can fusion save us? Will it?
  • What works between solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, and other options? What doesn’t? Why not?
  • What unintended side effects are we missing?
  • Do we risk losing civilization? If so, how great is the risk?
  • If we take the gloves off, can geoengineering and other last-ditch efforts work?
  • How hard will saving it be?
  • What do we have to do to make it?

These questions have answers, whether we find them out or not.

Read the full review here and watch the video below:

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