Commenter Windy had this to say about my post on We’re Doing Nothing About Peak Oil:
“One of the problems with addressing peak oil is there is no alternative and unless the laws of physics change there won’t be one. All of the so-called alternative energy sources and alternative transportation designs are thinly disguised frauds intended to harvest subsidies from a clueless federal government. If oil doubles then food prices will double. When oil is gone then 2/3rds of the food will go with it. The world population is on the verge of 7 billion and it is likely that in a world without oil we couldn’t support even 1/3rd that. So when you talk about preparing for peak oil you either have to talk in doublespeak or speak the truth and scare the bejesus out of everyone. There is no alternative to cheap energy, there never will be at least not an alternative that will support billons and allow for democracies to exist. You are literally talking about the end of the world as we know it. The good news is it won’t happen suddenly (unless Russia and China see an opportunity) and it won’t happen soon. It will happen gradually and you still have a few years to eat drink and be merry.”
I suppose if one’s goal is business as usual there is no alternative. But that’s the whole point of the Transition Movement: we need to get ready for something different. There are alternatives to cheap energy: scaling down, scaling back, living closer to work, working at home, developing local sources of food, getting by with less, driving less, car pooling, using public transportation, rebuilding the train network, higher mileage standards, ridding junk food from the diet, behaving sustainably. Peak oil doesn’t mean no oil. Peak oil means a declining supply of oil.
And, yes, we are talking about the end of the world as we know it. Will it necessarily be worse? I don’t think so. We had great cities and great civilizations before the age of cheap oil. The end of cheap oil will mean lots of good things. For example, it could mean the end of corporate dominance of our food supply. We finally got a chance to view Food Inc. the documentary film which demonstrates how completely our food supply is controlled by a small handful of companies, companies who could give a rat’s ass about health, environment or their workers. There is a lot of focus in the film about the meat industry which essentially provides death and extermination camps for animals, fed on the wrong diet and genetically engineered to provide the tastiest parts of meat. Food Inc. ends with an optimistic beat but I found the film overwhelmingly depressing. We are so screwed when it comes to our food supply. Corporate greed and malfeasance have reached the point where one looks forward to “the end of the world as we know it.”
The fix is in on the Federal level. There’s no one who will take a principled leadership position.
In his weekly essay Jim Kunstler writes: “What continues to amaze me is that there is no corresponding rise of an intelligent opposition. How did it come to be in our time that Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Stanford and all the other incubators of supposed statesmanship have produced no figures of conviction and good intentions to demonstrate what it means to be resolute amid this grand failure of will? How have we managed to turn out two generations of lackeys, toadies, stooges, and flunkies from these citadels of power? If there are some competent, resolute adults waiting backstage — undistracted by phantoms related to Darwin’s theories or birth control or religious doctrine of one kind or another — they better enter the scene soon, or the fate of this country will be left in the hands of malicious, dogmatic, nincompoops beating their drums for Jesus, war, and the death of the planet.”
One of Kunstler’s commenters Zen17 had a nice answer: “Those men and women you are looking for are out in their gardens growing their own food, practicing their Tai Chi and learning skills that are going to be of use in the world to come. Trying to hold together a whale of a government, poisoned by Corexit is not their priority now. The system is broken. The only help coming is what we can do ourselves. Detox your body from all the chemicals in the food and meds. Train your body to be fit and healthy. Unplug from all the frivolous distractions and calm your mind. then…..be ready to adapt to Change.”
An important essay by Chris Hedges that was posted on Truthdig last week argues that corporate control of our lives is so complete that, “Investing emotional and intellectual energy in electoral politics is a waste of time.” His solution: “We must build a new political and economic consciousness centered on the tangible issues of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and radical environmental reform.” His rant is worth a read.
There are alternatives to our current predicament. They are personal and local. That’s why it’s important to make some decisions on what we want the future to look like on Lummi Island. To do that we need to make an accurate assessment of what we are going to face. That’s what this blog is about.