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Page added on March 29, 2009

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Why doomer porn is good for you

Spend an afternoon reading peak oil doomer
sites on the Internet and you may alternate between the desire to reach
for a kitchen knife and end it all and the inclination to dismiss the
information on the sites as complete bunk. Hence the often voiced
criticism of this approach to the peak oil issue: It creates a mental
paralysis in some readers who conclude that nothing can be done and
causes many others to reject peak oil as the invention of unbalanced
survivalists living on the fringe of society.

There is certainly something to this criticism even if the
caricature of the doomers is overblown. Most of the doomers I know live
in city neighborhoods, hold regular jobs and involve themselves in
their communities like so many of us. In this piece I’m going to take
the contrarian side and suggest that so-called "doomer porn," that is,
extreme Mad Max-style scenarios concerning the human destiny, serves important purposes.

If peak oil preparation is about anything, it is about scenario
planning. Since no one knows the future, we can only imagine possible
outcomes. Planning for a single possible outcome is not planning at
all. Experience tells us that almost nothing ever goes according to
plan. This is even more true when our plan is based on the trajectory
of all of human civilization. So the wise course is to imagine many
scenarios that seem to be within the realm of possibility and maybe a
few that don’t. In doing so we can evaluate the consequences of those
possible outcomes and judge whether their severity warrants some
preparation.

Let me explain. If I believe my actions could at worst result in a
hangnail for me, I might dismiss this concern as something not worth
worrying about. But if I risk losing an arm, I’m going to be far more
attentive. I may decide that what I’m about to do isn’t worth the risk
or that I need to take special precautions if I choose to proceed.
Energy Bulletin



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