Tuesday, August 3, 2010

214 / Peaking Out

Pretty easy to get the "peak oil" message: it's all downhill from here, for a civilization built on the extraction of fossil hydrocarbons. Even if there weren't something called global warming.

By the way, one natural human reaction to incipient scarcity is to celebrate new discoveries of the imperiled product. We often see stories like this in the media. New discoveries of untapped oil reserves are often reported in a celebratory tone of voice.

When I read stories like that I think, "stop celebrating!" There is something called global warming, and it is not happy news when we find, and are able to exploit, more oil. Just the opposite! We have a real "peak oil" problem, but even if we didn't; even if it were true that we haven't yet reached the "peak," we've got to get ourselves away from the combustion of hydrocarbons. The future of our civilization depends on it. Maybe the future of life on the planet depends on it, too. Maybe "Earth abides." Maybe not. If we keep ignoring our dependence on the world of Nature, we won't; that's for sure.

Nothing could be a better reflection of the utter dependence of our human world (our human created civilization) on the world of Nature than the "peak oil" phenomenon.

We are "peaking out," and if we don't start taking our situation seriously, we will soon be "over and out." Not a happy ending for the message we are transmitting to posterity.

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