Hate mail is just part of the reason I submit the occasional commentary. It reminds me that, lacking the ability to love the future yet unable to change it, at least we can despise the messenger.
Few people appreciate the message emanating from a prophet of doom.
By 2015, demand for crude oil is projected to exceed 100 million barrels per day. Supply will be about the same it was in 1995, slightly more than 50 million barrels per day. If that smells like the collapse of our oil-based Empire, your nose is working fine. My nose is working fine, too.
But my neck is killing me. Friends and colleagues claim the cumulative weight of peak oil and runaway greenhouse are wearing me down, causing my head to tilt on its axis. Who am I to argue? Itâ€™s a better explanation than my doctorâ€™s come up with.
The voices of most elected officials and a majority of the mainstream media are conspicuously absent from the discussion of peak oil, which is arguably the most important issue the country has ever faced.
Call me crazy — and believe me, you wouldnâ€™t be the first — but I think we should deal with important problems instead of sticking our heads in the sand. Yet every time I mention a problem we face, hate mail overflows out my email in-box. As hard as it is to believe, society doesnâ€™t appreciate social critics or social criticism.
Roscoe Bartlett, perhaps the most neo-conservative member of the United States House of Representatives, says the magnitude of the peak oil problem requires a â€œman on the moonâ€ solution. Never mind the far more appropriate analogy — a large civilization on Pluto — at least Bartlett is trying to deal with reality. Iâ€™ll bet he gets some hate mail, too.
In a few short years, the United States will have virtually no access to oil and its derivatives, which include coal, natural gas, uranium, solar panels, and wind turbines. The last time that happened in this country, fewer than 30 million people populated the United States; about 10 percent of them were slaves. Life expectancy was 46 years; if you were black, you could expect to live to the ripe old age of 23. Surface water was abundant and clean enough to drink.
The Greatest Depression is coming your way. The task ahead is a daunting one for American society and every person comprising it. Tremendous courage, creativity, and compassion will be needed to get us through the next two decades without an enormous loss of human life.
Itâ€™s time to start the discussion about meeting the enormous challenges ahead. Please forward your constructive ideas to journalists, politicians, and your circle of family and friends. The hate mail you can send to me.