Most people are familiar with the idea of six degrees of separation—that everyone on the planet is separated by only six relationships. I want to introduce you to the idea of “70 degrees of connection”. In today’s world we all desire a comfortable temperature of about 70 degrees most of the time. People talk about climate change, but the desire for a 70-degree personal space—safely separated from the elements that endanger us—is a dominant force in our lives.
We are not comfortable here on earth unless we have everything right. Right angles, smooth surfaces, the right temperature. And we have easy access to it in the modern world. Our access to comfort is so instant and constant that we don’t even notice we have it or where it comes from. This is an odd, dark side of energy. Having so much comfort has made us weak and vulnerable, and ignorant. Have you ever wondered what it would it be like not to have the necessities and comforts provided by energy? What if we had to survive without it? This is what apocalyptic movies are all about. We wonder how we would adjust.
Imagine. Suddenly all the stuff we depend upon is gone. We don’t have air conditioning. We don’t have a way to get quickly from point A to point B. We don’t have supermarkets filled with an astonishing array of foods and other products waiting for us. What would that be like? We are fascinated by it. The success of apocalyptic films is confirmation of this fact. But watching the apocalypse is a lot different than actually living it, which would be horrific.
Climate change videos are horrific in a different way because of how they deceive. The documentary film FRACTURED (available at ClearEnergyAlliance.com) exposes the deception. The film shows a video of a polar bear talking to a young girl. He says, “Climate change is coming and I’m one of its first victims!” In another clip children are chanting, “My community is under attack from climate change!” In a third clip a dog with a blanket says, “Stop climate change! The time to act is now! THIS MEANS REVOLUTION!”
Mark Mathis, the film’s producer and narrator, says, “I am everywhere trying to explain energy reality and what I hear back is, ‘Yeah, but what about climate change?’” Mathis says, “The frustrating thing is that it’s not a conversation starter. It is a conversation ender. Can we say, let’s set it aside for a moment and talk about energy? Then we can talk about the issue of climate change.”
Mathis continues: “I don’t like the term ‘fossil fuels’. It’s two words. First, fossil. What does that word mean? Well, it conjures up dinosaur skeletons in museums.” That is backward thinking, and we are no longer even sure oil even comes from dead dinosaurs. Mathis corrects that misconception. “Fossil fuels are everything in the now and should be everything in the future. There is nothing more current than oil, natural gas, and coal. That is what we should be talking about.
“The second word is ‘fuel’. People are deceived when they hear ‘fuel’ because they only think gasoline in the tank, fuel in the plane, in the train, powering the ship. Yes, that is critically important, but fossil fuels do a lot more than that.” Mark points out that oil, natural gas, and coal are deeply integrated in every aspect of the modern world.
So, these two words “fossil” and “fuel” do not properly define scope of what fossil fuels do. So, Mathis believes we should stop using the term and replace it with something much more accurate. Therefore, Mark created an acronym, a term that spans the full scope of what these terms represent. The one that he came up with is TECHMAPS:
T = Transportation
E = Electricity
C = Cooking
H = Heating/Cooling
M = Manufacturing
A = Agriculture
P = Products
S = Sanitation
“If every fifth grader was taught that these are our ‘TECHMAPS’ resources—Coal, Natural Gas, OIL—and here is why we call them TECHMAPS. They do all of these things in our lives. If kids knew this in the fifth grade and then later on, when somebody said, “We’ve got to get off TECHMAPS resources!” the kid would say ‘What are you talking about? How are we going to get off the resources that supply everything?’”
Energy Balance Sheet
Every transaction in life is a trade off in costs and benefits. Whether you are eating a donut or buying a car. So, when it comes to energy, it’s our comfortable homes, businesses, transportation, and education.
The TECHMAPS benefits are here for starters:
TRANSPORTATION : cars, trucks, freight trains, trains, planes, subways, buses, ships, paved roads
ELECTRICITY: lighting, refrigerators, water heaters, small tools, computers, phones, television, washer/dryers, internet, radio
COOKING: ovens, stoves, microwaves, barbecue grills,
HEATING: Homes, businesses, warehouses, vehicles, public spaces
MANUFACTURING: construction, assembly, lubrication, packaging, processing, resource feedstocks
AGRICULTURE: farming, ranching, all food products
PRODUCTS: medical care, education, job opportunities, technology, innovation, literally every product made
SANITATION: waste disposal, toilets, pesticides, cleaning products.
When we look at this list, we are finally seeing the positive side of the cost/benefit equation. Of course, there are negative issues with all sources of energy, but with TECHMAPS they are far outweighed by the positives. But because of our warped culture the positives are rarely acknowledged while the negatives, (mostly fraudulent or exaggerated) are broadcast 24/7.
In Fractured Mark explains, “We recently saw a protest in Seattle against Shell Oil with hundreds of kayaks canoes and other boats moving down the river where Shell was trying to move an off-shore drilling rig to the Arctic. The boating protestors did not realize that their kayaks, canoes, and most of their clothing required oil derivatives to produce.”
The irony here is amazing. Interviews with quite affluent Prius driving protesters illustrated that they had no clue of energies realities. They were against coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear. When they talk about traditional energy sources, they focus only on the negative side of the balance sheet while ignoring the positive. But then when it’s flipped and they are talking about renewables, now they completely ignore the negatives and only wanted to talk about the positives. In the case of wind and solar the negatives are extensive.
Folks with electric cars feel good about having no tailpipe to give off exhaust gases. But there is a tail pipe. It is just that it is not in the car. It is in a coal fired power plant miles away, or perhaps a nuclear power plant. So, when you are driving an electric car, you are driving a car that is mostly made of oil and powered by coal, natural gas, or nuclear power. There is always a tail pipe. Every energy source has a tailpipe whether you see it or not. That is why people like renewables because you can’t see the tailpipe.
The clean energy revolution is under way, they tell us, but
no renewable power source can operate without fossil fuel to keep them going. When people hear the terms “Clean” or “Green” they again love it because they can’t see a tailpipe. Mark Mathis does not define it that way.
“Green and clean are marketing terms. They really don’t have anything to do with energy reality. They require significant amounts of fossil fuel energy to manufacture and keep them going.”
Wind and solar produce unreliable power that destabilizes the electric grid. The environment is not cleaner or better as a result of using them. Much more reliable thermal power generators (nuclear, natural gas, coal) do far more work with much less environmental impact. Nevertheless, we see videos artistically stating that we must DUMP THE BIG SIX ( the largest private oil and natural gas companies) and create an “all-electric” society. Of course, this is ridiculous since wind/solar only produce electricity, not TECHMAPS, and these “unreliables” require massive amounts of oil, natural gas, and coal to even exist.
It is hard to understand how any person who calls themselves an environmentalist can be an advocate of wind power because of the vast amount of materials that must be stripped from the earth to build them and the environmental damage that is done (though usually in other countries, such as China).
While the environmental impact of wind has improved, every year wind installations kill a million bats which are incredibly important because they are high pollinators and keep our food supply going. Wind farms kill 100,000 birds and we are not talking sparrows. We are talking large raptors, bald eagles, hawks, high up the food chain. Wind turbines are industrial apex predators killing some of the most majestic and important birds on the planet.
Solar energy (like wind turbines) requires a large volume of rare earth minerals so if you want to see the tailpipe on that one, go to China and see the environmental destruction there. China has created enormous toxic lakes in inner Mongolia as the nation extracts and processes rare earth minerals, some of which are used in the making of solar panels. But that’s only the beginning of the destruction. Large solar arrays that concentrate the sun’s power create so much heat that they act as giant bird zappers. Then, when the panels wear out in a decade, they are now dangerous toxic junk.
We all must do what we can to push back against the flood of energy disinformation being imposed on the public by politicians, activists and the mainstream media. You can start by watching the film FRACTURED. Just give it 10 minutes and you will end up with one of the most educational 90 minutes ever and you will know almost as much as this author has learned on the topic in the past 60 years.