Ajay Phatak's Blog
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Energy use and its economic and social impact

Energy is a very peculiar thing!  It has significant side effects on everything else on the natural resources front.  A few examples here will help understand this point of view.  Easy availability of electricity, leads to increased use of pumps (in the manufacturing of pumps one would need energy and materials – using more natural resources and energy) – leading to pulling out more and more water r from the ground (again wasting substantially more, than when one used a hand pump – say) – this leads to lowering of ground water levels, needing more energy to extract water and therefore more waste – apart from creating a water crisis!  This is what is called in technical jargon – a diverging loop – or a vicious circle.  Same is true with other aspects of “development” as it is defined today.  Easy availability of energy leads to more production, leading to “growth” leading to more need of energy and more natural resources.  We must start realizing that there are no natural resources to bank on for our infinite economic “progress” and the side effects of excessive energy use are leading us to bankruptcy on the natural capital front.  As soon as this realization sets in, there will be an urgent need of looking at ways to using “less” energy than more and still achieve well-being.

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2 Responses to “Energy use and its economic and social impact”

  1. Hi,
    incidentally, did you know my good friend Late Girish Sant ? How does your scheme of things compare/complement what Prayas was and is doing?

    • I have interacted with Girish at least a few times before his sad demise. His perspective has been more on equitable distribution and access to (energy) resources. While his thoughts have been very apt, I have tried to go one step upstream. If energy is looked upon as “a” resource and if economic policies are tuned to looking at resources in a holistic manner and that human economy should be part of nature’s economy instead of the other way, we could potentially solve the larger problem of resources as well. It is much easier said than done of course, but unless we look at the picture holistically and understand that “progress” in the conventional way is limited by availability of natural capital and nature’s services, we may just continue treading the wrong path.


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