By James C. Coomer (Eds.)
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Extra resources for Quest for a Sustainable Society
White, M. C . S i n g e r , S . W. McKechnie, and L . E. Gilbert, "Checkerspot B u t t e r f l i e s : A Historical P e r s p e c t i v e , " S c i e n c e 188 (1975) : 2 2 1 - 2 8 . For an o v e r v i e w s e e L. L. Cavalli-Sforza and W. F. Bodmer, The G e n e t i c s of Human Populations (San F r a n c i s c o : Freeman, 1 9 7 1 ) . For one v i e w , s e e R. C . L e w o n t i n , "For Apportionment of Human D i v e r s i t y , " Evolutionary Biology 4 (1967): 381-98. P . R. Ehrlich and S .
After developing a range of efficiencies for the biomass conversion, a comparison of these figures with man-made technological solar energy conversion systems can be made. 6 UNITS i \ RECOVERABLE BIOMASS ENERGY Figure 3 . 1 . SOCIETY REFLECTED BY LEAVES OR ABSORBED BY NON-LEAF SURFACES WRONG WAVELENGTHS *- 71% CHEMICAL CONVERSIONS =► 33% PLANT RESPIRATION ** ? UNRECOVERABLE PLANT PARTS ? 1 TO 3 UNITS Energy conversion process for biomass. Percent losses in r i g h t - h a n d column apply to the number of e n e r g y units available at that particular s t a g e .
A transition toward a diverse array of renewable (primar ily solar) energy technologies would also make rich nations much less vulnerable to interruptions of supply due to ac cident, terrorism, or political manipulation. Since energy plays such a fundamental role in all technological ventures, diversification of energy systems should have top priority. Another obvious area where technological diversification is desirable is transportation. Dependence on petroleum-powered vehicles - both trucks and passenger cars - must be reduced.