QuickThing11: carbon sources and sinks

Look what all that throughput gets us . . .

Both sides of THROUGHPUT - the pictures and numbers paint a very clear picture of SOURCES and SINKS

Modernization has catalyzed the release of carbon from its SOURCES – stored in the earth, for example, as coal or trees which we burn for fuel or to clear land for agriculture – and that release is currently overwhelming the Earth’s exquisite SINKS – our oceans, our forests, and our air.

So, let’s go back a single post to OneThing36, to that slightly geeky word throughput, what Donella Meadows describes as a kind of speed limit – the flow rates at which the Earth can meet our acquisitive demands.  At some point, the sources will run low or the sinks will overflow (or both) . . . and that will reduce the throughput either by “human choice or by . . . unpleasant natural feedbacks.”

Consider the Canadian tar sands and the Keystone Pipeline . . . an exceedingly clear illustration of SOURCE – THROUGHPUT – SINK.


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