Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When the oil runs out . . .

Americans, either in extreme denial or just plain ignorance about the effects of the “Great American Dream” lifestyle on global environments and economies, continue their profligate ways as if the good times could roll on forever. Few of them think about the consequences of global warming-induced climate changes, or how deeply the coming oil shortages will impact their lives.

What can I—or anyone else—say or do to get their attention? Probably nothing! Can anyone make them understand that the threat is real, that it’s serious, and that failure to plan now will only exacerbate the problems later on? Probably not!

Few people realize that society in 2050 will more closely resemble that which existed in 1850 than it will society as it existed in 1950. I’ve seen many good reasons why this should be so, and no credible evidence that it should be otherwise.

Have you ever wondered what the world will be like after the oil runs out? Have you ever stopped to consider just how much every aspect of your life depends on oil? Without oil, will you still be able to get to and from work? Can your job exist without oil?

Everything near and dear to the American way of life depends, directly or indirectly, on oil. When the oil disappears, so too will the comfort and ease and all the things in your life that an abundance of oil made possible.

Are you capable of growing your own food? You’ll have to, you know, unless you can coerce a generous neighbor into growing it for you. Without oil, Big Agriculture won’t be able to grow or harvest crops, or ship produce to processors or markets. There’ll be no way to transport manufactured goods, in the quantities we’ve needed and come to rely on, over long distances.

Without oil, the global economy will collapse, as will stock markets, real estate values and banks. Many governments, too, will fail, and life in civilized countries will seem a little less civilized.

In a future that’s closer than anyone thinks, self-sufficiency and sustainability are the keys to survival. Are you prepared to survive? Or do you even care?