When the energy base of a society is replaced with a new energy base major changes occur in the everyday living, worldview and environment of a people. This is due to the fact that the energy base defines the underlying technological structure of a society and this technological structure has effects on the environments in which people inhabit and these environments, in turn, influence the people’s views about the world.
Some major changes in the past energy bases include the change from wood to coal and then the change from coal to oil. Each one of these energy base changes resulted in new technologies and disrupted societal, economic and class structures, resulting in new modes of everyday living.
Today the world is on the brink of transforming its energy base once again. Oil resources are dwindling and exploration and exploitation of current oil stocks are becoming more expensive and more time intensive. A plethora of alternative energy sources have arisen including: nuclear, biofuel, wind power, solar and hydrogen. Currently, none of these sources can fulfil all the world’s growing energy needs and some are much too disruptive of the environment.
Our current worldview will have to be change and will of necessity change as the energy base transforms if we are to survive. No longer will we be able to define development and well-being based on economic expansion and increase of material consumption. The world view that arose out of our past energy environments of coal and oil have led to environmental degradation, alienation and vast concentrations of wealth.
In contrast our future energy base will allow for more diffuse technologies and less control over lives by giant corporations and large governmental entities. Self-sufficiency of individual homes and communities will increase and the poorest members of society will even share in the piece of the energy pie. In fact, the new alignment resulting from the changing energy base clearly indicates a more equitable and peaceful future.
Most important, the upcoming energy technology will be far more environmentally friendly than the current technology and the future designs of homes, other buildings and whole cities will be more in tune with nature. When people are closer to nature they share a more expansive sense of community and realize how important it is to conserve energy and keep their surrounding environments clear of waste.
A final additional benefit of being closer to nature is that a heightened sense of spirituality and purpose of human life become more evident and the ills of alienation and nihilism sink into the background, allowing for a more positive humanity to emerge and to thrust forward into the future to achieve unity and paradise here on beautiful planet earth in harmony with all its creatures.