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Page added on March 28, 2013

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Peak Oil: Madness


An observation worth noting … and pondering, from William James more than a century ago:

The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present, and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose.

We’re spending countless hundreds of billions of dollars each year to extract every last drop of oil from deep below the oceans, or from shale formations trapped thousands of feet below us, or disguised as some reasonable approximation of conventional crude oil buried amid tar sands in western Canada, or hidden below the formidable Arctic landscape (among other endeavors).

We do so for a simple reason: that’s pretty much all that’s left to us now.

Our wisest strategy?

When does the madness begin to register with industry—and government officials too steeped in ignorance, self-preservation, and denial to understand what’s at stake?

Nothing changes about simple facts: fossil fuels or their presumed replacements/substitutes are finite resources. The more we extract, the less we have … not exactly astrophysics or NASA-level math. The resources left to us are more difficult and expensive to produce now for any number of reasons. Their quality is inferior to the conventional crude oil supply we’ve relied upon more more than 150 years now—in ever-increasing amounts and for ever-increasing needs.

And so the headlong rush to squeeze out whatever is left dominates our planning, policies, and activities. If we aren’t taking significant and immediate steps to drastically reduce what we consume, engage in meaningful dialogue to plan for a different energy future, and stop allowing a select group of spokespeople to mislead, shade truths, or raise irrelevancies, we’re in for one hell of a ride right up to the point we smash headfirst into the realities of geology’s and technology’s and economics’ limitations.

That won’t be nearly as much fun as it seems.

Peak Oil Matters

2 Comments on "Peak Oil: Madness"

  1. J-Gav on Thu, 28th Mar 2013 1:32 pm 

    In his book, Overshoot, William Catton called it “stealing from the future.” When that future becomes ‘now,’ will be one of the all-time great ‘Duh!’moments in history.

  2. Dmyers on Fri, 29th Mar 2013 1:23 am 

    I agree with the duh statement by J-Gav, not, himself, a duhher. What a huge duh in unison that promises to be.

    Unfortunately, many will continue to say and think duh, until eaten by a zombie.

    In my opinion, you can’t diss an article that quotes William James.

    What we see here as madness is, in fact, its opposite, normality. Sure, you could say, duh, that’s the point. Although I am fine with that description of things, it is, nonetheless, statistically impossible.

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