Every aspect of modern civilization is dependent on fossil fuels; transportation, manufacturing, plastics, food production, medicine… This consumption is tightly correlated with economic growth. Plastic production, for example, has increased 20 fold in the last 50 years from 15 million tons to 311 million tons per year. This production is predicted to reach 1,124 million tons by 2050.
Transport makes up the lion’s share of global oil consumption. Cities and highways are designed with automobiles in mind, with residential, industrial and business centers spread out with no regard for efficiency.
Globalization exacerbates this trend. Items which could be produced at home are transported thousands of miles to cut costs.
Debt based monetary systems require perpetual growth (2% per year minimum) to stay afloat. Economic growth inherently increases the consumption of fossil fuels. Even if all transportation were to be converted to electric (a significant engineering challenge for freight) increases in manufacturing output translates into more plastics, more petrochemicals etc…
Politicians make overtures to sustainability, but the fact that the U.S. dollar is a debt based, oil backed currency gives the most powerful nation in the world clear motive and incentive to defend the status quo.
To break free from the fossil fuel - infinite growth - feedback loop, we must transition towards localized and sustainable systems of production, organization and exchange.
Debt based monetary systems require infinite growth to stay afloat. Cooperative economic models provide a tested and proven alternative.
Rather than throwing away an entire phone when the processor became outdated, what if you could simply install a standardized replacement, available from a wide variety of manufacturers? A transition to standardized modular systems can radically reduce the consumption of energy and materials.
To reduce dependence external resources we must maximize efficiency; minimizing waste, and distance traveled. This will require an efficiency-oriented design logic which gives human and ecological variables their due weight.