30 May 2012 Skud   » (Master)

Technology without fossil fuel

Okay, I polled the twitters and enough people said that musing about worldbuilding was more interesting than it was masturbatory. So, in that case:

Assume that I desire a world different from ours in tech, but quite advanced in its own way. Does it make sense for this world to not have fossil fuels, and thus not have (or have a very different, less dirty) industrial revolution? Could it get to a point where it has, let’s say, widespread electric (or similar) power, intensive agriculture, and advanced medical technology (or at least around our level)? What differences would be implied for their culture? What sort of lifestyle would they have?

Example: lack of fossil fuels implies fewer/different plastics, and thus not having cheap synthetic fabrics. Clothing would be less disposable, people would own less of it, and it would be made/repaired with greater care.

For extra credit: does the scenario change if a) their environment is physically/geographically constrained so as to limit growth, and/or b) the society did not develop independently, but was seeded by another high tech one (e.g. us) so that they started out already having reasonably good non-fossil-fuel energy sources.

Syndicated 2012-05-30 22:01:41 from Infotropism

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