I thought that an interesting part of this chapter to discuss was the energy intake discussion for plants and humans. So we know that the energy producing pathways in plants and humans are somewhat spontaneous processes overall, once all the various components of those pathways have been accounted for (i.e. breakdown of food for energy, to then create more ATP helping to create an ordered system, and then a final release of energy through various function), but what is interesting to note is what the systems take from and give back to the surrounding system. That is, as the chapter states, is that they consume order, and not energy, which I find to be a bit of a knockback to my understanding of a systems functioning. By my understanding of this quote, I believe that through the conservation of energy through the systems, what happens is that equal energy is taken in and released, but that the energy is of a different quality (that is a different level of order), and since we're consuming order, that means we release disorded energy back to our surroundings.
What is most interesting about all this is how the organisms take in a high-quality form of energy (sunlight for plants, food for animals) and can use this energy to build up a low-quality form of matter (water, CO2 etc) into high ordered material. Again, this obviously involves an input of energy such as ATP to allow for this reaction to occur, but I still find it amazing how these organisms have their way of making non-spontaneous reactions happen.
The other important point that should be made is in relation to the understanding that the entropy of the universe is always increasing, which can be illustrated through the plant and animal systems. Though both systems take in both high- and low-quality energy, they also both are left at the end of the cycle no more high or low in their quality of matter, and all they will have released back to the surrounding system is low-quality energy (disordered energy) which backs up the theory of ever-increasing disorder (note to mention that when the systems die they only degrade, releasing disorded energy).
I would like to see what others say on this topic, and to see if they may have some more insight to provide.