Environmental Engineering Reference
billions of people in all nations seek to improve their lives with abun-
dant low-cost energy, which has become the driving force of technologi-
cal progress. In newly developing countries, that energy is coming largely
from hydrocarbon sources.
Energy has become the foundation of wealth and can provide bet-
ter food production. Energy-intensive hydroponic greenhouses are 2,000
times more productive per unit land area than modern American farming
methods. If energy is abundant and inexpensive, there are almost no lim-
its to world food production.
Fresh water is also in short supply in many areas. Plentiful inexpen-
sive energy allows sea water desalination to provide almost unlimited
supplies of fresh water.
Over the past few centuries, technological progress has depended on
the use of abundant energy. These advances have improved many aspects
of human life. In the 21st century low cost energy will be needed to con-
tinue this advance. If the future is harmed by world energy rationing, the
result could be human suffering and the Earth's environment would be a
victim as well.
Low cost energy is important to the environment. We are beyond
the age of subsistence living and prosperous living is needed to provide
for environmental preservation and enhancement which an impoverished
population cannot afford.
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