TCC has, over the years, focused great attention on our future direction on energy resources. We would like to take this opportunity to share the Story of Energy and Its Sources with you.
Mankind and energy have always had an intimate relationship since the Palaeolithic Era. Energy is a fundamental priority for the survival of civilization, and human attitudes towards the development and use of energy directly or indirectly determine the advancement of civilization.
All organisms, whether animals or plants, require energy to perform their life functions. From the very start, life is a process of acquiring and consuming energy resources to enable growth and activity. The metabolism of animals and the photosynthesis of plants require the conversion and circulation of energy sources to make these processes possible.
All living beings are linked to natural ecology, and humans are no exception. Before the creation of civilization as we know it, humans obtained and consumed energy resources in the same way as other organisms; constantly foraging to find and consume energy sources and then constantly repeating the cycle.
Humans evolved from the foraging stage to start to produce food in different seasons and to store food. When food sources became scarce, they began to share the stored food with others; that was the beginning of human civilization. The same is true for energy resources, which should also be divided into three stages: production, storage, and sharing.
In the beginning, human beings first fed themselves to obtain the “manpower” for work, then fed animals to obtain the “animal power” for work, and then began to learn to harness energy sources available in the natural world. These natural energy capabilities could be found either in the form of climate and seasonal changes from land, ocean and the wind. Additionally energy could be stored in plants via photosynthesis, or buried in deep valleys and caves. Energy resources have been continuously discovered and excavated by humans for generations, and have become the driving force for the expansion of civilization.
One day in ancient times, a tiny fire was ignited. The birth of fire symbolized the birth of civilization. After the emergence of civilization, the relationship between human beings and energy has also changed rapidly: whether it was used for foraging, cooking, working, or transporting, the more power human beings required, the less the energy sources originally provided by the natural world could satisfy them.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human beings have been searching for more energy sources to power machines, allowing machine power to replace and enhance original manpower. At that time, the powers of the machine seemed to be inexhaustible. Not only was mass production possible, natural materials could also be refined and used by more people through forging, molding and other fabrication techniques.
But in an environment that is full of self-interested thinking where human beings seriously lack the will to control their own desires, human desires became the driving force behind the development of human civilization. However, our endless desires have resulted in a misguided relationship with Mother Nature. Our ancestors, in order to solve the desperate situation they were facing at the time, did not realize then that the new approaches toward energy and consumption they had come up with at the time might spawn new problems.
From firepower, coal, petroleum, to nuclear power...over several centuries, a giant hungry beast has been created to devour energy. Humans kept mining energy sources, cut down many trees, killed many whales, levelled many mountains for coal, and drained many oil wells. The behemoth became larger and larger, and so did its appetite.
Today, the behemoth is no longer just a locomotive or a production line, but an industrial zone or an entire city. Humans act like gods, mining the very core of all food and taking unpredictable risks, to develop all kinds of technologies such as atomic fusion and atomic fission. These technologies, capable of creating the world, can then generate an energy source that glows and heats like the stars.
In fact, all human civilization is basically on a path of no return, looking for and consuming scarce energy resources.
The energy supply between the sun and the Earth has maintained a delicate interaction from the beginning of time. It has maintained an ecological equilibrium for over 4 billion years, and according to the rhythm of nature, it has provided the energy needed for the survival of all living beings. While it has had its up and down cycles , these cycles have always been in moderation relative to the environment.
From a historical and cultural point of view, re-cycling is not a new concept, much less a special one. It exists in nature, in our culture, in our religions, in everyone’s bodies and in all things.
Looking around, everything is recycled, and especially from the point of view of our atomic makeup. We have all been at one time a completely different life form, being, or matter. The atoms that make up us had also, in times past, made up other organisms, and they are still being changed every day.
As scientific research has postulated, it only requires half an hour of sunshine on Earth to provide enough energy to maintain current human needs for a whole year. But why has humanity again and again run into critical shortages of energy? Possibly because conversion efficiency was inadequate; possibly because we produced surplus production causing meaningless waste; too much access to cheap energy led to the excessive and inefficient use of energy capabilities in unnecessary places.
When the Earth’s human population was still at an insignificant number, even wanton squandering was not able to wound Mother Earth as we are harming her today. But human civilization in the 21st Century has been readily changing the natural ecology. The 7.8 billion humans walking the Earth today, are no longer an inconsequential link in the circular system of an aging planet. Rather, every act and move they make all cause system shocks, demonstrating humanity’s all too present impact. At the same time, it is necessary, relatively speaking, to restrain these irresponsible and abusive behaviours. Humans should not look down upon or abuse the energy sources and the potential power in their hands just because they understand them and think they master them. Only by honestly understanding the arrogance of human beings can we truly solve the problem.
The direction that TCC is currently working on is to explore and develop more efficient energy sources and conversion approaches that are closer in line with the natural ecological rhythm. In parallel, we seek to create more sustainable processes of storing and using energy sources in accordance with the rhythm of the natural world. We combine renewable resources and energy storage systems which recycle urban waste through cement kilns, creating a coexistence of the city and nature, the humanities and the environment. Just like in the cycle of nature, any substance has its place for reuse, and to ensure the future longevity of societies and civilization energy systems should also be designed likewise.
Behind these actions and these development strategies is the expectation of a new friendly relationship between human beings and energy resources.
Our goal is to reduce the load on the chain in every link, even bearing it on our own shoulders, so that future generations can continue to survive and ultimately thrive in an unburdened world.
Among the biological species living on this planet, the biggest difference which separates human beings from other species is that human beings realise that life is finite and the existence of all things has an end.
Life has a deadline, buildings will erode in the elements, and the seas will dry up. Because of this knowledge that there is an end, people have designed the concept of minutes and seconds. Human existence is thus closely tied to a race against the clock.
Survival is a constant consciousness of time, and crisis is the clock face leading to the Final Judgement, which approaches closer step by step. Only from the perspective of human beings do the phenomena of the Deluge and other natural disasters in ancient mythologies as well as today’s realities of receding glaciers and rising sea water, have meaning on a timeline. This makes it possible to reach consensus on carbon reduction goals in 2030 and 2050 as verbalized in the step-by-step schedule of the Paris Agreement. This has created an urgency to search for sustainable energy sources and the restructuring and reorganization of human society under the anxiety of a time crunch, piecing together the complex problems we face today.
The history of energy sources has always been the history of the interaction between man and Mother Nature. In the presence of Mother Nature, only when we know how to be humble, can we put away our arrogance.
Just like a child seeing a rainbow for the first time, he is so excited to expand his imagination about the real world. Even as we grow older and understand the optical principles behind the rainbow, we should not forget the first experience when we experience the magic of the world in childhood. If we always try to keep an uncontaminated view and make it fit our imagination about energy sources, science and technology, can we create the reality of a sustainable existence for all mankind.
The more deeply nature is understood by humans, the more it will be appreciated as a miracle worthy of respect. Every ray of sunshine passes through countless raindrops; red, yellow, and blue light is refracted at different angles. Through them, we see rice paddies, red maple leaves, and the rich colours of forests and ocean waves.
Imagination for new energy sources, like the rainbow, is accompanied by our deep attention to nature as well as our awe, admiration, and a heart touched, allowing us to look forward together to a future life with radiant colours.
On Earth, there is one kind of creature here, and one type of organism there.
There are different lives everywhere.
They are all very similar to one another, all priceless.
Today, everywhere on Earth, they are all crying out for help.
So many small living beings need to be nourished by nature or need the helping hand of human beings.
TCC sees it, and we are doing it!
Did Noah’s Ark carry so much life onboard?
It will remain a question unanswered.
Today, the human eye must see more clearly the sense of urgency needed for life to survive on earth.