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Energy is the “soupe” of civilisation

Posted on: 6th October 2010

Monday 4 October 2010.

Those of you with young children will understand our circumstances. Maintaining a blog (weblog) on a regular basis has proven difficult with a mini tornado on the loose about the home and office. But we, and probably most parents, would not have it any other way: blog, business or other obligations notwithstanding. And, so to a first post…..

How many wars are we fighting these days? Apart from the obvious and convenient wars on terror that western leaders seem to be fighting astride their armchairs (perhaps with a Wii in hand), there are the wars for civilisation, holy wars, god’s wars, technology wars, wars on poverty, war on global warming, wars against disease, wars on drugs, alcohol e.t.c. The maxim “For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill” has few western adherents these days.  Written over 2,500 years ago, translated into many languages, a military classic, obligatory reading on many military curricula, with over a million copies sold, Sun Tzu’s “art of war” seems to be gathering dust in the libraries of our western leaders.

So, I am unfashionably careful to describe Terraintegra’s efforts in non combative terms. Terraintegra will not wage war on the energyless or surge the grid, collaterally damage the environment or extraordinarily render its resources. We seek not enemies but collaborators. Without enemies there can be no war. Terraintegra is about building peaceful equilibrium between civilisation and environment. Ironically, I must borrow a military quote to make my point. Napoleon, the type of leader who actually faced his enemy on the battlefield, may have said “La soupe fait le soldat” (if he did he probably borrowed the expression from Carmontelle). As I write, 960 million people are hungry, 150 million toddlers are underweight and malnourished and they are almost universally among the 1.6 billion without any access to electrical energy. There but for the grace of geographic circumstance, go we. Poverty & hunger need not be. From the era of European colonialism to today our embargoes, tariffs, quotas, charity, concerts, debates and lectures have hindered, not helped, development. Why? Usually because we put a band-aid on an infected wound, a surface superficial repair which leaves the wound festering underneath. Terraintegra argues that the World’s ills must be tackled from the inside out. The repair must be driven by energy within the patient. Common to all impoverishment is absence of access to energy. Energy is the “soupe” of civilisation.  It is Terraintegra’s raison d’etre to deploy technologies to generate electrical energy in every village Wordwide. (See Terraintegra – Energy for Life.pdf).

To the argument that says the energisation of all the planet’s human residents will bring change and peace, dropping slow only over generations, we ask how many generations are already lost, how many more will endure before memories of drone strikes, shock and awe, spent uranium munitions, extraordinary rendition, deceit, theft and collateral damage fade?  As for costs, Terraintegra estimates that the total budget to electrify all corners of the planet and bring “quality of life” essentials to work, at a cost of €3,200 per person who will benefit. Total planetary cost is about €5.12 trillion, equivalent to the costs of about 4 years of war. Terraintegra believes that the roll out of diversified electrical energy is movement in the right direction which over time will help reduce human suffering and obviate the causes of many wars. If there is an antagonist it is time, there is not enough of it.

” La stratégie, affirme-t-il, est la science de l’emploi du temps et de l’espace. Je suis pour mon compte moins avare de l’espace que du temps. Pour l’espace, nous pouvons toujours le regagner. Le temps perdu, jamais”.  ‘Strategy is the science of making use of time and space. I am, for my part, less concerned about space than time. Space we can always recover, time lost, never.’ Napoleon again.

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