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The Mythology of Overconsumption

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As a species, our lives have been made better throughout the ages because we have consistently consumed more. If we were to reverse our consumption habits, which is not possible, humankind would not flourish. Life would not get better for anyone if we suddenly consumed less. Nor should we expect the ecology to be magically saved by such behaviour. Life would decidedly get much worse. In any case, over 5 Billion out of 7.7 Billion today already consume less than the mean global consumption – many of those consume much, much less. How are these unfortunates to decrease their consumption? Such a thing is only ever suggested by wealthy Westerners, in an access of hypocrisy. However, to suggest that even a wealthy person consumes less may be regarded as form of inhumanity.


Environmentalists will have you believe that your consumption – flying in an airplane, for example – is shameful; that we should all stop eating meat; stop using our electrical appliances; stop irrigating our lawns. This is all wrong. These ideas belong in the intellectual dustbin. It is a truism that any human being who consumes will never cease to consume. They will only consume more. That has become our nature, and it cannot now be decoupled from our nature. Nor should it be. To suggest overwise fails to appreciate our nature. Indeed, those in smaller economies depend on greater consumption to escape their enforced and chronic underconsumption.


Humanity has not yet reached its fullest expression of advancement as a species – not even a tiny fraction of it. We may never reach it. Ever-growing levels of consumption defines our progress as a species. If we were to stop growing, our progress would suddenly stop as well. We would be frozen in a permanent Middle Ages, never to realize our full potential: never to advance medical technology to the point of eradicating all disease, or increasing human longevity to hundreds or even thousands of years; never to travel to other solar systems or even other galaxies; never to manipulate time or matter perhaps in ways only dreamed of today. These things all require massively more consumption of energy and other resources.


No one need curtail their consumption. In fact, everyone should consume more, more and more – as much as they possibly can.  The reason is, our consumption is a measure of our flourishing. Furthermore, we have an unlimited energy source that can drive all this splendour. This energy can cheaply drive extraction of resources. It can drive energy-intensive recycling of vital resources, including water, metals, bio-waste, and even energy fuel itself. With an unlimited energy source, any kind of consumption becomes possible. There is no need to consume less when such an energy source exists. And it does exist. It is nuclear energy.


An atom of uranium in fission is ten million times more energetic than a molecule of gasoline in combustion, and billions of times more energetic than an equivalent mass of photovoltaic solar panels. These overconsumption fears are triggered by a belief system that all the world’s energy can only come from hydrocarbons, water and the sun. But a world powered by high energy-density nuclear power systems can generate millions of times more energy than we have today – and it can do so in a vastly smaller environmental and land footprint than our current energy footprint.


Nuclear energy is our true Golden Goose, supplying an unlimited number of eggs for humanity, keeping us all in vast riches for millions of years. With the uranium in our natural world that is easily extractable today, we have enough energy to provide North American levels of energy consumption for 10 billion people for at least thousands of years. With a few more years of development, it is likely to last millions of years. It is the only real renewable resource we have on this planet. Allow me to state this plainly: nuclear energy is renewable energy. This is the lens through which we must look at life on earth.


Do not fear overconsumption. There is absolutely no reason to fear overconsumption – if we rightly understand that nuclear energy renders that fear meaningless. We should indeed embrace overconsumption – and support nuclear energy – and confidently move to a much better world for all of us, not just the privileged few.

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54 Comments on "The Mythology of Overconsumption"

  1. Cloggie on Sat, 19th Oct 2019 4:43 am 

    Russia-comspiracy lunacy goes in the overdrive. Clinton claims Tulsi Gabbard to be a “Russian asset”.

    “’Queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption’: Tulsi Gabbard DRAGS Hillary Clinton after ‘Russian asset’ claim”

  2. Cloggie on Sat, 19th Oct 2019 4:53 am 

    Now that the Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria safari’s ended with sub-optimal results, the US is merrily heading for new geopolitical adventures, this time in the Pacific, under the nose of the Chinese, all 1350 million of them:

    “Here’s where Washington’s focus will shift to after Syria”

    What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Davy on Sat, 19th Oct 2019 4:57 am 

    cloggo, you have zero objectivity and balance. You are like a child obsessed with something. You paint this forum 20/7 with this shit. Somehow you think the more you talk and regurgitate shit the more true it is. You are a perfect example of dishonest science and disgusting personal agenda.

  4. Agnostic on Tue, 22nd Oct 2019 1:34 pm 

    The only thing that belongs in the dustbin of history is capitalism and the 1% of humanity (the mega-rich who think they are untouchables).

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