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Energy Slaves


Our command of energy resources has created amazing technologies and social systems at a grand scale, but at what cost? Where past societies shackled human muscle with force and subjugation to create an energy surplus, beginning in the late 19th century we have used coal, oil & gas to create an unprecedented energy abundance. As the era of surplus energy comes to an end, how will our systems reliant on energy slaves for mechanical and cognitive work adapt? How is the energy transition moving forward?

In Extraenvironmentalist #76 we discuss our global energy systems with Andrew Nikiforuk as we discuss his new book, The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude. Andrew discusses ways of understanding our use and abuse of cheap energy. Then, Chris Nelder joins us to talk about the ongoing energy transition and how it is reaching a tipping point through the recognition of a financial carbon bubble, the German Energiewende and the decline of the traditional oil majors.

As Terence McKenna once said, “Reason, and science, and the practice of unbridled capitalism, have not delivered us into an angelic realm. Quite the contrary: they’ve delivered 3% of us into an angelic realm, completely overshadowed by guilt about what’s happening to the other 97% of us who are eating it!”

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