We suffer from the disease the Church calls consumer diarrhea. When you get sick you often get diarrhea. When you are a sick consumer you get a disease we call consumer diarrhea. The two symptoms of this disease are copious energy use and super consumption.
When you consider the first commercial oil well was dug in 1853 we can certainly recognize the tremendous rate of increase in the consumption of this liquid by modern mankind. What took eons to make has taken us just a little over 150 years of consumption to see the age of peak oil already here or quickly on the horizon.
A quote from Mr. Paul Ehrlich:
The United States poses the most serious threat of all to human life support systems. It has a gigantic population, the third largest on Earth, more than a quarter of a billion people. Americans are superconsumers, and use inefficient technologies to feed their appetites. Each, on average, uses 11 kW of energy, twice as much as the average Japanese, more than three times as much as the average Spaniard, and over 100 times as much as an average Bangladeshi. Clearly, achieving an average family size of 1.5 children in the United States (which would still be larger than the 1.3 child average in Spain) would benefit the world much more than a similar success in Bangladesh.
Mr. Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University in the United States. His most recent books, both co-authored with his wife Anne, are “The Population Explosion” (Simon and Schuster, 1990) and “Healing the Planet” (Addison-Wesley, 1991). The feature originally appeared in Vol. 6, No.3, 1994 of “Our Planet”.