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Spaceship Earth - Running Out Of Fuel: War And Other Abuses

Updated on May 16, 2011

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."

Albert Einstein

The Effects Of Conspicuous Consumption...

The population of the United States constitutes only about 5% of the world's population, but we use 24% of the world's energy reserves. On average, each American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians or 370 Ethiopians, each day. People in the U.S. eat approximately 815 billion calories each day which represents roughly 200 billion more than they need. This extra 200 billion calories is enough to feed 80 million people who will otherwise go to bed hungry. We throw out 200,000 tons of edible food each and every day. While over 50% of the world's population consumes less than 25 gallons of water per person, per day, we in the U.S. consume an average of 159 gallons of water per person, per day. We use 80 percent of all corn grown and 95 percent of all oats grown, to feed livestock. Fifty-six percent of all usable farm land is used for beef production. Did you know that it takes 1.2 pounds of grain to feed the cattle and over 100 gallons of water to produce one quarterpound hamburger? We drive one third of all the automobiles in the world, but we only represent 5 percent of the global population. If you add Europe and Japan to the consumption equation you now have 16 percent of the world's population using just over 80 percent of the world's natural resources.

An F-22 fighter jet uses between 12,000 and 80,000 lbs. (yes pounds) of fuel per hour of operation.  The actual rate of consumption depends on throttle settings, altitude and use of afterburners, but this usage equates to between 0.5 and 3.4 gallons per second of fuel used. There are approximately 122 F-22 Raptors in the U.S. Military arsenal. If only half of these fly each day for one hour, at the lowest throttle setting they will use 109,800 gallons of fuel (61 jets times 1800 gallons [.5 gallons per second times 3600 seconds in an hour]. This is just the amount of fuel for these aircraft flying for one hour each day. The U.S. has approximately 5573 manned aircraft in its active fleet. In addition to the aircraft we have thousands of other vehicles such as tanks, ships, personnel carriers, automobiles, etc. We borrow 3.85 billion dollars each week to maintain our operations in Afghanistan, alone. At an average rate of 4.6% interest, which is what the U.S. currently averages on its debt, the interest on this loan for one week is $3,405,769.00, in addition to the 3.85 billion dollars. So the cost of one years' borrowing for the war in Afghanistan including principle and interest is $200,377,099,988.00 (200.378 billion dollars). The first 6 days we were involved in Libya, the cost to the U.S. was over $550,000,000.00 (550 million dollars).

I don't know what you think when you see these numbers, but I think we need to find a way to get along here on planet earth and I think we, as Americans need to reevaluate our lifestyles and consumption. If we were on a spaceship moving through the galaxy we would have calculated the amount of resources we have at our disposal and would have figured what each individual needed each day to take us as far on our journey as we could go before we needed to find other sources of sustenance. Well, news bulletin!--we are on a spaceship moving through the cosmos and we have no other fuel sources in sight, yet instead of using the resources we have wisely, we are wasting them as quickly as humanly possible. All this is taking place while we are continuing to increase our population at exponential rates each year. Why are we so short-sighted? Why do we think the cost of war is worth the return? The cost has been great, but I have yet to see the benefit in the horrific waste of resources we allow for this indulgence. It costs very little to communicate with others around the world, but it is costing everything we have, and more, to be in conflict with them.

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    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear Fay,

      I don't know if Americans are too weak to discipline themselves for the changes that are needed or not, but with so many in favor of the war mongering, it is hard to believe that anything will change for the better.

      The military is the biggest offender in the consumption frenzy. I don't see that changing any time soon.

      Thank you for your comment Fay.

      Lela

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Great hub. I'm convinced that we will never learn. My grandmother would say we're hard-headed. We continue to go through the same cycles...gasoline skyrockets and we panic...the price stabilizes and we forget all about it. Maybe when gasoline goes up to $7.00 a gallon, we'll get serious.

    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear junko,

      What you say is absolutely true. America has somehow created the illusion that everything in the world is ours to consume and that we are the standard for what is right in the world. We are obviously wrong on both counts.

      If we could rely on those in leadership positions in both government and the private sector to do the right thing, it would be different, but we can't so we as individuals need to change our consumption habits and also our reproductive habits.

      I read an article the other day that said over 40% of all births in the U.S. are unplanned. Peoples' behaviors never cease to amaze me.

      The earth is eveyone's inheritance, not just America's.

      Thank you for stopping by, junko.

      Lela

    • junko profile image

      junko 

      7 years ago

      At this rate America is unsustainable. That's a political word used a

      lot these days. This article is very thought provoking, and religiously speaking, God is lord of all mankind not just America.

    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear Alaster,

      It makes perfect sense to me. I believe that part of the goal of the big fish is to kill off the numbers of the little fish so that they, themselves, can dominate through fear and intimidation. I just hope the little fish are paying attention so that they can see they have more power in their numbers alone than the big fish have in all their wealth and bullying.

      I see a time coming very soon where the little fish say enough is enough.

      Thank you for stopping by, Alaster.

      Lela

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      What do I think of these numbers? Staggering.We'll let the great comments above stand and I'll only repeat this oft quoted analogy. There's a little pond with a lot of small fish and a couple of big fish. The pond connects to a vast ocean that the big fish know about but must keep the little fish from realizing lest the few lose their power over the many. Perhaps this makes no sense but its what came to mind after finishing your article and the comments. Peace Lela.

    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear Credence2,

      As you say in this very wise comment, "Our greed is our undoing and it is self destructive." The desire for immediate gratification is the sign of a culture whose sensibilities have been lost. Using all of one's own resources and a good portion of everyone else's to wreak havoc and fear on a world already on the brink proves "People are Dumb".

      Thank you for coming by Credence, I appreciate your views.

      Lela

    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear GNelson,

      It has always been about the money in industrially developed countries. We certainly cannot rely on the large energy corporations to do the right thing. They will not stop until they have killed everything on this earth, including themselves.

      Thank you for your insightful comment.

      Lela

    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear BizGenGirl,

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for your comment.

      Lela

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 

      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Like they say, Leia, Only fools fight in a burning house.

      The problem remains that the basic nature of man is unchanged over the centuries. What drives us to hunt species until they extinct? People kill whales to get their fins and other delicacies? People kill tigers to get sexual aid products? Millions of buffalo were slaughtered for sport? As our consumption and population increases, the earth may no longer be able to survive the onslaught. The astronomers have not found any earthlike planet within eyeshot of their telescopes, so we had better take care of this one. The cost of making uninhabitable planets habitable is unrealistic. Our greed is our undoing and it is self destructive. This species of ours needs desparately to mature to a higher plane of existance, because it is certain that if we don't render the planet uninhabitable, we will again tangle with the annihilation power of the atom. Again, great hub..

      It is as I always say "People are Dumb"

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 

      7 years ago from Florida

      I am convinced that it comes down to profit. Corporations can't make money if we consume less. As long as profit and consumption are the primary drivers than there will be little change. I would to think that we are intelligent enough to change without a catastrophe forcing us to. I would like to think that but I don't. It should be obvious that everyone on the planet can’t live like we do yet they all seem to want to.

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 

      7 years ago from Seattle

      I vote Hemp! lol =P

      I also voted up your hub CP, great work =)

    • CreatePerfection profile imageAUTHOR

      CreatePerfection 

      7 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

      Dear HS, we should have turned to alternative fuels eons ago. The reason we haven't is because every new invention that comes out which uses alternative fuels or produces them is bought up by the oil companies. Yet, we have allowed our government representatives to keep padding the pockets of these short-sighted greed merchants.

      Thank you for this very thoughtful comment and thanks for the visit. It's always great to see you in the comments.

      Lela

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Great Hub. We are a very wasteful people and our fuel consumption is outrageous. We are long overdue for turning to alternative renewable fuel sources. President Carter tried to start the process in the late 70's but then the price of oil dropped. Demand for this fuel dried up and President Reagan killed his programs. So it goes. We need a massive and serious program to deal with this. We individuals need to be responsible and cut back also. China, India, and Brazil are rapidly increasing usage and supplies are running down. The time is now to change our ways.

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