For many centuries, humans have centered their societies around energy use and combustion of fuels. Humans have traditionally burned biological matter, such as wood, for millenia. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have focused on other types of biological matter burning, just fossilised now. Because of rising concerns about "carbon dioxide emissions," we are at a point now where burning fuels such as wood, and fuels derived from living biological materials, such as ethanol and palm oils, has become more "attractive" from a carbon dioxide "life cycle perspective." However, this has led tot he clearing out of rainforests in ecologically sensitive and important regions such as in Borneo and the Amazon. Ethanol derived from corn competes with out abilities to feed people. Ethanol from algae-based feedstocks have always been "five years away." But say we did find "alternative fuels" that will adequately displace fossil fuel use. How much land are we going to need to supply the world's growing demand for energy? How much energy do we need, period? Indeed, the questions about alternative fuels lead us to deeper philosophical, ethical and moral considerations about how we choose to live. What will it take for us to ask the hard questions?
I've been meaning to add a "Good, bad and the ugly guide to Ann Arbor eating and trash." I need to think about this more, and come up with a list of recommendations for each place you go to, so that you, too, may be able to reduce your trash generation there.