Comment 316

By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted April 10, 2006 at 11:28:28

This essay has all the precision of a shotgun at Texas peppering distance. If there is one scientific concept that should be at least qualitatively understood by the general public, it is entropy. Or rather, a kind of opposite definition called "exergetic efficiency", which is a measure of how effectively you use energy (more precisely, don't waste by mostly turning it into entropy) What MacKillop is probably trying to say is that north american lifestyles are indefensible with respect to wasting "exergy". Home examples are electric resistance space heating, incandescent lighting, and clothes dryers, instead of solar heat and light. Transportation - single occupancy commuting, vast majority of trucks and suv's used as passenger vehicles, transport trucks instead of rail, water, or no transport at all with compact economies. Cities - sprawl instead of walkability. In future I'll put some numbers to this so it is more obvious. But as a rough estimate the differences can be a factor of ten or more. Sustainability (essentially a modern society with no need for fossil fules) is doable but not if people defend the status quo and our embarrassing production of entropy.

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