Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
Page added on February 4, 2017
A First-person-view of the Nomadic State-of-Being 1. THE STAGE FULL OF ANONYMOUS MATERIAL I was born a year before the UN commissioned report Our Common Future more or less defined the term sustainable development 1. There have been scientists ever since the 19th century who have warned about the green house effect caused by extensive burning of fossil-fuels but it took until the 1990s before mathematical climate models were able to create scientific proofs which could show that these rapid changes in the atmosphere are actually a consequence of a human activity. The new goal sustainability was a reaction to this emerging consciousness of our collective responsibility over the biosphere which is greatly being influenced by the idea of progress which again is powered by burning the hydrocarbon corpse juice. 2 The forward-looking pathway this report lays has two main goals: wealth redistribution prioritizing the needs of the global poor and awareness of limited material resources of our planet which should be sustained in a way which would give the future generations an opportunity to fulfill their necessary needs. Energy is everywhere and it transforms everything 3. Our immediate surroundings – the stage – is for the most part constructed within the last 150 years with energy released from high-quality fossil-fuels. Today the tellurian lubricant (oil) underlies every narration on Earth 4. If we read recent history from this perspective many things, acts and ideologies are seen from a slightly different perspective. One could say that urbanization, the rise of youth culture, sexual liberation, idea of infinite growth and individualism are all born from this sudden ecstatic burst of excess energy: a liberation from physical labour which is suddenly done for us by fossil-fuels. Georges Bataille describes this ecstatic sensibility of exergy: the Sun gives constantly and never receives in return. Human life on top of the biospheric food chain is not a battle of scarce resources but an orgy of infinite energy. 5 This excess energy certainly has made human life in the downstream at the end of the pipeline – more beautiful, exciting and fulfilling in many ways, but at the same time it has disconnected our emotions, habits and thoughts from the processes that sustain our existence on this planet 6. Action of oil directs human life into disruptive lifestyles which disconnect us from our tellurian roots and renders materials around us anonymous and complex. It is almost impossible to know where man-made things commodities, images, infrastructure etc. come from: how, where and under which conditions they are made or where they end up after we dispose them. What for example plastic essentially even is? 1. also known as the Brundtland Report. It placed environmental issues firmly on the political agenda; it aimed to discuss the environment and development as one single issue. 2. Sustainability is actually extremely ambitious goal. It is a simple empirical fact that there has never existed a modern industrial society that has been ecologically sustainable. All known examples of industrial societies have relied on non-sustainable use of (mostly non- renewable) natural resources (timber, coal, natural gas, oil, minerals). In contrast, the anthropological literature contains descriptions of human societies that have been ecologically sustainable for decades and centuries. Typically, these ecologically sustainable forms of life are what Western science calls indigenous or, even, more traditionally, primitive, actively evading hierarchies, especially states. (Tere Vadén, Next Nature and the curse of oil, 3. From The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 (ExxonMobil, 2014, exxonmobil.com/en/energy/energy-outlook) 4. I m following the ideas of Reza Negarestani in his theory-fiction book Cyclonopedia. The horror journey to the Underworld begins with petroleum basins and the rotting Sun, continuing along the tentacled pipelines of oil, and at last unfolding in the desert, where monotheism meets the Earth s tarry dreams of insurrection against the Sun. 5. In Bataille s idea of general economy the excess energy must either be spent luxuriously and knowingly without gain in the arts, in non-procreative sexuality, in spectacles and sumptuous monuments, or it is obliviously destined to an outrageous and catastrophic outpouring, in the contemporary age most often in war, or in former ages as destructive and ruinous acts of giving or sacrifice, but always in a manner that threatens the prevailing system.