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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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