Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I've Been Warned... Again

I received an email from BFF today, which had the title of this post as a subject line. Well, actually it was, "You've Been Warned... Again." It contained a link to this video. BFF has for years preached the impending end of oil.

At about 4 minutes into this, Matt Simmons says this in response to a question about what will happen first in the next 6 months and then in the next 6-10 years:

"I think unfortunately, the probable scenario is that we're going to basically keep dropping our inventories and feeling good about it hoping that basically that will bring around a price collapse, assuming that might be actually demand declining when it's not, and then we're going to have a shortage. And if we have a shortage, we'll have a run on the bank so fast your eyes will spin, this is basically where everyone tops off their tank. And we haven't run out of oil, but we could literally run out of usable diesel and gasoline, and then we have the great American disaster, because within a week we don't have food."

BFF followed the link with his own exhortation:

"I've said stuff about Peak Oil in the past. Now we've finally hit mainstream media and attention. If you haven't taken steps yet. You better get with it. I'm not talking Y2K where nobody knew what's going to happen. But a predictable decline in resources, especially oil which affects supplies delivery and the supplies themselves. Our culture and lifestyle is where you need to imagine radical change in appearance and operation in our lifetime. More difficult for your kids. The unknowns are how fast or slow a decline. But where we are going, or the eventual outcome is clear. Not trying to scare anyone, just make it in your long term plans how you and your family will get by. We've been spoiled for a really long time. The party's about over. You are not going to be able to depend on the usual outlets nor continuous supplies. There's no one to blame. And you're on your own. The gov't won't be able to keep it all afloat or working (think Katrina). You'll have to depend on yourself and whatever you can create yourself or with your neighbors, networks, and local communities. This ain't gonna happen over night, but neither will what you need to create and who you need to connect with."

I lapsed into a horrible doomsday fantasy that BFF periodically inspires in me about the Collapse of the System that will come with the inevitable End of Oil. The fantasy's all about how we have done nothing to prepare for it, live in nothing like a village, have no renewable agricultural or water resources at hand, and how we and our beautiful baby boy will all die in the rioting, the looting, the starvation, the disease.

I don't think BFF is crazy. Well, he is in some ways, but I believe in the inevitability of the end of the finite resource petroleum. I believe that it is more central to our way of life than we'd like to admit, and that with the industrialization of China and the ever-increasing rate of growth of the global population, we will consume it faster and faster and faster. I don't know that new systems to replace the ones so dependent on oil will be in place soon enough to avoid catastrophe. I hope so. I hope that the economic pinch of high gas prices will make people think more and more about it. But mostly, I just don't know that I can or want to change my lifestyle to become independent of petroleum, even when the prize is saving myself and my family.

But then the boy and I played with an empty box, chased a kitty around, and joked together about burps and toots. I think I'm able now to go back to pretending that all will be well, that the myriad solutions will arise and put themselves in place before that Great American Disaster breaks upon our small, happy suburban shores.


anniemcq said...

So now is really, truly NOT a good time to read "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

Wow. This is really depressing.

I, Rodius said...

Sounds like a good book, though. Sorry to depress. Let's go back to happy thoughts. Yay, toddlers! Yay, taking off the training wheels! It'll all be fine, you'll see.

anniemcq said...

Don't be sorry. You didn't depress me - I was there already. But I'm climbing out, peak fuel or no.

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