The Energy Glut: Global obesity and fossil fuels

energy glut ZED Books
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The Energy Glut by Ian Roberts
ISBN: 9781848138704
Published by Zed Books Ltd. on April 4th 2013
Genres: Environmental Policy, Epidemiology, Medical, Political Science, Public Health, Public Policy
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This is an excellent book that deserves to be read, achieve best-sellers’ lists and made compulsory reading at schools and colleges.

The authors don’t mince their words: “the human race is getting fatter and the planet is getting hotter, and fossil fuels are the cause of both.” With an easy style and credible statistics, they then explain their thinking and lay the blame firmly at the over-use of motorized vehicles: “motorization has meant that petroleum has replaced food as the main energy source for human movement.”

Global obesity epidemic

That global fatness and global aspects of the same energy problem is no new scenario – I can vaguely remember something along these lines being reported in The Sun newspaper a few years ago! – but here the authors give the problem a weight of supporting data and incontrovertible evidence.

They first introduce the global obesity epidemic before focusing on the main villains of the story – motorization and food. But the authors do not lay the blame on personal failings, instead stating that obesity is the normal human response to a sick environment – the natural consequence of living in a world flooded with cheap energy. They point the finger at the oil & gas companies, the marketing gurus and the politicians. They then examine in detail why fossil fuel energy is so cheap and looks at the consequences.

Treading more lightly. Literally.

So much for the problems – what about some solutions? The authors are not short on them either, although the practicalities of some of them may need some serious, if not downright revolutionary, thinking. But the end result will undoubtedly be positive for the planet and its inhabitants: “Treading more lightly on our planet will make us healthier and happier and richer in every sense of the word.”

I congratulate Mr Roberts and Mr Edwards for researching and writing such an excellent and relevant book. I still can’t make my mind up though if they are idealists, describing solutions that unfortunately will never be implemented, or prophets, looking forward to the inevitable day when the oil runs out and these measures will simply have to be implemented.

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2 responses to “The Energy Glut: Global obesity and fossil fuels

  1. Hans De Keulenaer

    We’ve heard about the energy-water nexus as well as about the energy-food nexus. This book appears to touch on the latter, while introducing an energy-health nexus. It keeps amazing me how energy touches on so many aspects of life in such a significant manner.

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