The Modern World

We have an immense reliance on energy that drives the technology we require to do our work.

I'm talking about:

• monitoring automated processes,
• measuring water usage for individual homes,
• preparing samples for laboratory analysis.

And more … you get the idea.

Now, what would you do if the energy that powers the technology disappeared? Or the satellite no longer provided the feed? Or -- maybe you want to sit down for this one -- the Internet died? I wonder and worry about things like this sometimes.

Two months ago, my computer died. I was in a sort of panic, trying to determine if the problem could be remedied at the office or if I really should just work from home that day. Turned out the office had a spare computer. Whew, disaster averted. (Don't laugh. The titles I edit — Environmental Protection and Water & Wastewater News — are online.) Do you have any alternatives for when your primary tools fail?

Perhaps we should be arming ourselves for the coming ecopocalypse -- or at least -- researching good back-up ideas.

I like this modern world with all of its efficiency and convenience, but I do get a little anxious about what might happen if we use up all the energy or the connectivity short circuits. You don't think we could really use up all the energy, do you?

[Thanks to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory environmental scientist John Ziagos for the U.S. Energy Flow Chart, circa 2005. To learn more, visit]

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Nov 21, 2008