Is this the energy age?

Ideas govern us, not men. Of course men interpret the ideas, and often corrupt them in their translation into action, but nevertheless ideas are the source of the rules and behaviours that govern us.

Every time period is governed by an idea. Longer time periods are governed by big ideas and are usually too hard to identify until the period it well past. For example those who lived in the Bronze Age never knew that it was the bronze age; only through the filter of history did the name of the age become apparent. Achilles never knew he was a Bronze Age man.

Today I think we live in the energy age, as energy defines our lives and the consequences of energy use defines everyone’s life, from the Inuit in the North of Canada whose lands are change as the climate warms and as the oil companies extract fuel from tars, through the New Yorkers living on what was a mosquito swamp drained and made comfortable by energy, through to the Sudanese farmer whose crops are failing because the changing climate has driven away the energy.

It may of course not be the energy age. Only the souls who inhabit this orb in the millennia ahead will decide the naming of this age and by then I shall be unable to congratulate myself on my cleverness if my idea of the energy age proves right.

Be that as it may, perhaps it will turn out for the best if this age is not the energy age, because the dominance of energy use on everyone’s lives may prove so short lived that in the future it is merely called the energy bubble and our age is dominated, like all other ages, by something else that is both a curse and a blessing.


2 Responses

  1. I think this era maybe remember as the Carbon Age. As it would appear for many centuries we have been obsessed with the extraction, use, worship and fear of this substance.
    I’m not sure Robert, but aren’t most of our fossil fuels deritives of carbon and the process that creates it?

    • You’re right about fossil fuels being carbon based and also when burnt carbon gas is the by product. We are now more greedy for carbon than we are for gold! So perhaps the carbon age may be the moniker.

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