Endo vs Exo
Summary: Plants and animals need energy. The ultimate source of this daily fuel is photosynthesis, which forms chemical energy in plants, which is eaten by animals and proceeds through the food chain. For most of human history we too were just a part of this food chain – the calories we burned while toiling or playing in our ancestral past were derived from those that we consumed. But with access to the “stored sunlight” in coal, oil and natural gas, we can now conduct “toil and play” outside of our bodies with lit tle direct exertion. Our “endosomatic energy” (what our body consumes and uses each day internally) is around 3,000 kilocalories or less. But our “exosomatic” energy – the energy we control and use outside of our own bodies is currently around 220,000 kilocalories per American per day (and 50,000 per average human worldwide) . One Big Mac has 567 calories. Though we might be aghast to consider it, the average American consumes food daily equal to about six Big Macs, but also consumes the energy equivalent of over 400 Big Macs** EACH DAY while we drive around, heat and light our homes, buy imported goods, fly to distant places, etc. Even people below the poverty level are consuming more exosomatic energy than the royalty of past eras.
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