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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Looming Energy Crisis

A sobering article from Rolling Stone summarizes the impending doom related to the "peak oil" crisis.

It has been very hard for Americans -- lost in dark raptures of nonstop infotainment, recreational shopping and compulsive motoring -- to make sense of the gathering forces that will fundamentally alter the terms of everyday life in our technological society. Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America is still sleepwalking into the future. I call this coming time the Long Emergency.

Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.

The few Americans who are even aware that there is a gathering global-energy predicament usually misunderstand the core of the argument. That argument states that we don't have to run out of oil to start having severe problems with industrial civilization and its dependent systems. We only have to slip over the all-time production peak and begin a slide down the arc of steady depletion.

As I read the article I can't help but think the following:

1. It really is sad that a music rag has more salient reporting and critical thinking than most of our prominent news sources.

2. The pending energy crisis parallels the biblical story of Noah's ark. While Noah went about building his arc to escape the flood, the people of the day went about business as usual despite numerous warnings.

3. What do I need to do today to start preparing?

4. Maybe returning to a simpler way of life, much like colonial times won't be so bad after all.

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