Future Gazing, the age of energy, distributed networks, and complimentary currencies

We have entered the age of energy…actually we entered this age in 1945, the day Oppenheimer split the atom.

The laws of energy are overtaking the laws of matter. This is a big statement. Its is worthy of deep reflection and repetition.

Everything is speeding up, a state of accelerated acceleration as Buckminster Fuller called it. Money is now mostly digitally transferred, and huge sums of digital money can be made and lost…in seconds.

Reputations can be gone in a moment.

Our thought forms are officially called virus’s.

The internet and all the manifestations of a highly connected world is the accelerated acceleration of this age of energy.

We have children born with cross wiring of their energy receptors, scrambled so to speak. We call them autistic, or ADHD. We have adults who are connected to the energy field more acutely than others, and having not yet learned to manage the energy information insult, suffering depression and breakdown and sometimes suicide.

While this shift is going on, we have the decline of our old ‘fossil’ energy mechanism. Not simply because they are being depleted, but also because they are creating so much damage to the global and local environment.

Anyone who doesn’t see the writing on the wall about the peculiar nature of our climate fluctuations is a proverbial ostrich. I am not attached to what you call it, cooling, heating, climate change. I don’t care where you think it has originated from. Its happening. We know its happening. We also know we need to change our habits and behaviours, because our carelessness and hubris is killing us and killing life everywhere. It is quite frankly, shameful.

Concurrently, we have the demise of the mighty USA, its steady disintegration into a shadow world brought on by hubris, complacency, and profligate greed and carelessness. A country who’s elected politicians now need an obscene sum of $8 billion to win an election. I am completely gobsmacked that they do not see the obscenity, arrogance and evil that has become the American political system. I know well that many people in the US do see this, but obviously not enough to demand change. We the people hold the power, we always have.

We have the seeming rise of China and India…driven largely by a population that has an insatiable appetite for middle class lifestyle. And who could blame them for wanting what we have, or have had?

This is a small part of the stage that has been set for the completion of this next decade.

I have never called myself a futurist. But I recon I must be about as good as anyone out there gazing into the immediate next 10 years. Having been taught for over a quarter of a century by the great Buckminster Fuller, who always said that in order to see into the future one must draw the arrow far back into the past (he called this prognostication), and by always starting with the biggest view available, the Universe no less, I am alarmed that what I see few others also see.

Either I am way off the mark, or I am on the mark and few people have opened their eyes. Or those who have are remaining quiet.

Here is what I see….

In May, 2012, for two days, Germany, a nation of almost 82 million people, provided 50% of their entire energy needs from renewable resources. They aim to be as close to 30% renewables by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

What that means is that Germany will not be dependent on oil. Or oil countries, or the whole oil economy. Their energy will be stable, available, and not withstanding a global darkness and stillness, plentiful.

If Germany continues on this trajectory, they will be the world “power” broker literally. The world leader. It has little to do with land size, number of people, economy, or military. It has everything to do with energy. It will have everything to do with energy for a very long time. I am floored that more people do not see this. He who owns the energy will hold the power. Eventually of course, everyone will ‘own’ the energy, because it is free to all, like air. And then the ‘power’ equation will shift to who knows what.

Denmark is working hard to catch up. China is onto it, but has a long way to go, although it will not surprise me if they really go gangbusters in the next 6 years.

America, well, you can forget that. She’s a dead duck in the water.  The power base/money is still big oil, and a centralised power supply. Australia, tragically, is so far behind the eight ball on this, yet she has infinite supply of renewables….Australia’s problem is that she has so much coal and liquid gas that has kept her economy going through the last few bumpy years that no one is really looking at the future with any clear sight. If they did, they would see a very large unstoppable mac truck pelting down the road with ‘you missed the boat’ written all over it. Shame on us Aussies, we even sent some of our most innovative solar panel producing companies off shore because we have been distracted by the resources boom.

In the wonderful book by Jeremy Rifkin, “The Third Industrial Revolution”, Mr Rifkin speaks of every building becoming an energy producer. The technology is already present to do this. Nothing needs to be created. What does need to be created is a distributed network of connectivity to join all the energy positive buildings together.

This is a complete shift from the centralised structures as we know them.

Given my years of studentship under Bucky, I have been taught to look at nature. Show me natures centralised systems, other than of course the big one’s, the sun and the ocean? Nature thrives on distributed networks.

As evolution would have it, humans stumbled inadvertently into the first human made global distributed network, the internet. While it may still be in its early stages, we have an inanimate, but almost animate network of local and global connectivity that eventuated seemingly spontaneously by natural design.

Humanities ongoing success depends on distributed networks, particularly those built at the local “hub” level, with web’s of connectivity going across the world. We really can learn a lot from nature, from biology, from living systems, and from bacteria swarms. They are light years ahead of the human game.

Similarly, our energy networks need distributed networks to survive. In some countries in the world, communities can already ship their excess renewable energy into a larger grid. This will become standard if communities and countries are smart enough.

Building and repurposing every building to be a net energy producer will change the game.  Electric cars will become the norm, with every building a power point.

Likewise our currencies need to be given more diversity. The Euro is in trouble, but it could survive if it became a currency used for a particular purpose, and not as the “be all and end all” for Europe. If the Euro was used as the ‘European to International’ trading currency, and was backed by local and community currencies, it could survive. Communities, systems, enterprises all need their own currency, able to be engaged at the local level, and possibly be traded across local borders for specific purposes, like the trade of perishable commodities.

I find it quite ironic that our language is reflecting exactly what I am speaking about. Fossil fuels belong to the fossil age. Energy is power. Power is energy. The countries that have the most affordable, renewable energy will have the most power, at least in the beginning until others catch up. And when we have oodles of almost freely available unlimited energy world wide, we will be at the next stage of the evolutionary leap into who knows where…but that will be the subject of another article…in another time.

We have much to do just to get there.

 

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2 Comments on “Future Gazing, the age of energy, distributed networks, and complimentary currencies”

  1. great article, Christine. I’m fascinated by the renewable energy issues,
    and how it will impact future development and sustainability. Thanks for opening my eyes and
    bringing my attention to this…

    1. Thanks Vanessa, this article was designed to be an opener to a conversation…there are much more qualified people than me to speak of the details of the how to’s.

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