"In anticipation of your wanting elaboration on my predictions of petrocollapse and a positive recovery for a sustainable culture, let me summarize:
Rather than just a geological phenomenon, peak oil and its effects can turn out to be a function of the oil market acting as its own executioner. As alternatives to petroleum do not quite exist -- on the scale and cheapness necessary to allow the growth economy to perpetuate -- there will be nowhere for "petrosociety" to go but down and out. Reasons for the likelihood of rapid collapse include hoarding of fuel which will create artificial shortage. Businesses and people already hurting from post-hurricane petroleum prices and from the anticipated much higher-to-come oil prices, will not be able to stay on the road and on the job. As Congressman Roscoe Bartlett quoted me at the House of Representatives in May, "the trucks will not be rolling into Safeway and Walmart." As he added, "the veneer of civilization is very thin."
The U.S. government and other leading institutions are not willing or able to provide leadership, as evidenced by the lack of any learning from the hurricane's effects on society and energy. Just as the warning on Katrina was not heeded, the warning from Katrina's and Rita's effects was not heeded. These hurricanes may be the straw that broke the camel's back. Now the Energy Secretary is warning of high prices and shortages. We may be being prepared for rationing, and military management -- or the attempt -- of the nation under emergency conditions, although rejected by governers a few days ago. But the government will not be able to manage long without energy, especially when the population is no longer busy using energy as before. Congressman Bartlett told me last month that police and firemen are known through studies to abandon attempts at public order when the conditions of a given situation are past a certain point.
Although there will be insufficient food and therefore massive upheaval culminating in die-off, there will be plentiful land and housing. A new society will come together on a local-ecosystem basis. Cooperation and sharing will be necessary for survival, to make urban and suburban land productive and to assure water is as clean as possible. Petrocollapse along with climate distortion shall be such an historic learning experience that a completely different approach to human relations and economics will be adopted. There will be a perhaps universal rejection of the ways and values of petroleum society, and those who do not adapt will fail in contrast to strong, tribal communities. A lifestyle of separteness or non-community behavior, so rife in today's dominant, mainstream culture, would be seen as threatening the common good and a throwback to history BP: Before Petrocollapse. The bright side is that we will be taking care of the Earth in order to survive. This is how it always was, and appreciation of the long-term for the common good will return as a basic cultural value."
Friday, October 07, 2005
Petrocollapse for change of culture-Jan Lundberg