we are in fact locked into it by our own certainties of producing, selling, buying goods into some kind of imagined infinity.
we have functioned in this way for about 10000 years, since the first hunter gatherer enclosed land in order to grow food instead of chasing it. that simple act created capital, and all that we are is derived from that.
to hold/acquire capital requires energy in various forms, (tools, weapons etc)and as energy cannot be created, it has to be changed from one form to another.
this cannot be done in any meaningful sense without application of heat.
heat means you have to burn combustible material — -ie trees/charcoal, which went on for 000s of years. There was no alternative.Then a means was found to make iron using coal (coke), because they were literally running out of trees.. That kicked off the industrial revolution (Darby 1709), by tapping into what was effectively fossilised sunlight (100 m year old trees basically). That built the infrastructure we enjoy today. all the goods we consume and the wages we earn are a product of heat input somewhere along the line.
we have never had any other heat source, other than maybe nuclear, and that requires a colossal input of hydrocarbon too. Sources of electricity require a hydrocarbon base of some kind.
agreed — -the Romans built excellent roads — -by hand, for feet and carts.
if there’s an altermative method of making a 6 lane highway without hydrocarbon based heat input, i would seriously like to hear about it.