[Ed. note: Part II tomorrow by Dr. Goklany will examine how fossil fuels saved nature, not only mankind, given population growth and the increasing demand for energy.]
“What was instrumental in powering the grand transformation that began with Industrial Revolution? The answer is fossil fuels that upended a world that was dependent on living nature for virtually its entire well-being–and thus nature’s Malthusian vise.”
For most of history, outside of conflict, human existence was defined by climate, weather, disease, and other natural factors. Virtually everything that humanity depended upon was the recent product of living nature.
What economic historian Edward Wrigley calls “the organic economy” supplied humanity with all its food, fuel, clothing, and skins, and much of its medicine and material products. Living nature also supplied the sustenance for the animals—oxen, horses, donkeys, camels, even elephants—that humans drafted as beasts of burden to transport themselves and their goods, till the soil, and provide mechanical power.…