"We are all astronauts' Buckminster Fuller says in his book Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth (1969). In this book he compares planet Earth to a spaceship flying through space. The spaceship has a finite amount of resources and cannot be resupplied. It is fully reliant on the sun as an energy source. As he puts it:
'Spaceship Earth was so extraordinarily well invented and designed that to our knowledge humans have been on board it for two million years not even knowing that they were on board a ship. And our spaceship is so superbly designed as to be able to keep life regenerating on board despite the phenomenon, entropy, by which all local physical systems lose energy. So we have to obtain our biological life-regenerating energy from another spaceship - the sun."
In this metaphor Earth is compared to a mechanical vehicle that requires maintenance and that will cease to function if it is not kept in good order. But there is a catch: we hardly know how to operate our spaceship.
"The designed omission of the instruction book on how to operate and maintain Spaceship Earth and its complex life-supporting and regenerating systems has forced man to discover retrospectively just what his most important forward capabilities are. His intellect had to discover itself.'
And now we will have to use our intellect and write thye instruction book ourselves. One of the main problems we are faced with is our energy supply:
'The fossil fuel deposits of our Spaceship Earth correspond to our automobile's storage battery which must be conserved to turn over our main engine's self-starter. Thereafter, our "main engine," the life regenerating processes, must operate exclusively on our vast daily energy income from the powers of wind, tide, water, and the direct Sun radiation energy. The fossil-fuel savings account has been put aboard Spaceship Earth for the exclusive function of getting the new machinery built with which to support life and humanity at ever more effective standards of vital physical energy and reinspiring metaphysical sustenance to be sustained exclusively on our Sun radiation's and Moon pull gravity's tidal, wind, and rainfall generated pulsating and therefore harnessable energies. [...] We cannot afford to expend our fossil fuels faster than we are "recharging our battery,' which means precisely the rate at which the fossil fuels are being continually deposited within Earth's spherical crust.'