Paresh Khetan

In their study, John Randolph and Gilbert Masters discuss the role that energy plays in society. The authors begin by reviewing man’s relationship with energy throughout history. They cite fire as the “first conscious human-engineered energy conversion.” With the development of new conversions and technologies, society grows in terms of population and economy. However, the current dilemma that society now faces is that of sustainability, which is defined as “patterns of economic, environmental, and social progress that meets the need of the present day without reducing the capacity to meet future needs.” The true challenge is meeting current needs while also taking into consideration that 37% of the world’s energy is still derived from petroleum. Time or rather the lack of it, is another important issue to consider. Despite obvious evidence of our role in global warming, we have yet to take measures that counter the damage we have caused. While all societies are at fault, nations such as the United States serve as examples for the rest of the globe. The US accounted for 20% of global energy usage while it only contains less than 5% of the global population. If top nations are not concerned with sustainable standards, then why should developing nations sacrifice their potential advances? Is it not their right to achieve basic societal needs and to expand their economies? The first chapter of this study outlines the need for us to develop a sustainable future that can complement a growing economy and population. While the article does not particularly discuss plastic waste management, it presents a solid historical analysis which makes sustainability an immediate global issue.