In the quiet of summer, a couple of U.S. scientists argued in the pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that modern civilization has drained the Earth — an ancient battery of stored chemical energy — to a dangerous low.
Although the battery metaphor made headlines in leading newspapers in China, India and Russia, the paper didn’t garner “much immediate attention in North America,” admits lead author John Schramski, a mechanical engineer and an ecologist.
“We all have car batteries,” says Schramski, who calls himself an accidental environmentalist. “And we have all left the lights on and found the battery dead.” And that’s what energy consuming economic growth models are doing to the planet.
In addition to its low level, note that it took 300 million years to charge the “battery” in the first place!