I’m starting to understand the many peak-oil deniers out there. It’s tough to wrap our hummingbird-sized intellects around these pterodactyl-sized numbers. Our ability to power down with all the peace and tranquility of Buddhist monks seems a little far-fetched (we are, as pointed out by Nietzsche, “all too human”). It’s easier to deny the impending collapse of empire than to deal with facts. On the other hand, as Matt Savinar points out, you’d better “Deal With Reality or Reality Will Deal With You.”
Yep, there are two sides to the peak-oil story. The side we go up (which ended a couple years ago), and the side we go down. We’re on the downhill side of world oil supply, and the slope’s about to get a helluva lot more slippery.
Now that oil is on the verge of the magical $100/barrel mark, the laughter is starting to die down. Seems the readers of my dire writings — which merely echo the thoughts of people far more intelligent than me — are starting to think the Empire might fall, after all.
The good news: We’ve passed the world oil peak, and the U.S. economy will implode within a
decade, probably less. This will give myriad cultures and species a fighting chance to survive a
few more years. It might even allow a few individuals of our own species to squeeze through the
bottleneck of runaway greenhouse, and therefore prevent the extinction of humanity.
The bad news: I don’t think so. I suspect we’ve passed the global-change tipping point, and we’ll
be extinct at our own hand by the end of this century.
There’s damn little high fructose corn syrup in your future, and quite a few hard times.
Regardless where you choose to spend your post-carbon years, a few things are necessary: water, food, shelter, and community. Piecing together an existence that supplies each of these elements will not be easy, but I think creative people will be able construct a life worth living. A few people will even thrive, helped along by the knowledge that the collapse of American Empire is wonderful news for the many species and cultures with which we share the planet.
It’s been quite a ride, but the party’s about over. We rush headlong off the world oil-supply cliff next year, and the subsequent series of recessions and runaway inflation will spell the end of the Empire. Not to mention safety, security, and civilization.