Chapter IV, Section A:  Manna from Heaven

In a complete energy economy, the energy of ecologic processes sustaining an economic entity would be factored into the entity’s value. The two major functions of an ecosystem are to move energy though the trophic levels and to cycle nutrients within the system, both processes sustaining life and both requiring energy. What makes an ecosystem work? Solar energy. Using that energy, and usually involving the organisms within an ecosystem themselves, nutrient cycles return waste compounds back to life sustaining compounds. Thus nutrient cycling is how the environment cleans itself. Almost all nutrient cycles are contingent upon freshwater, the universal solvent, with the hydrologic cycle a nutrient cycle itself. Thus both water and solar energy have intrinsic ecologic value in energy terms, and comprise the assets of the ecologic segment of a complete energy economy.

Table of Contents