Re: Life after the oil crash

From: <>
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 07:57:24 EDT

Bob wrote:

>Glenn, thank you for passing judgment on me.  I needed to be told how hypocritical I am.
No less you than I.  We are all involved in this. I surely do my share of requiring oil (maybe more than my share given all the traveling I do).  We all use energy like it is going out of style. I for one have no guilt over it.  The energy we have allows us to live long lives, do things we couldn't otherwise do.  Given that saving 1 billion barrels of energy will only move peak oil back by 1 week in time, it almost seems hopeless to even bother trying to conserve. Today we use 30 billion barrels and if we were to cut our use in half we might move peak oil back by 3 months to one year.  
Consider this:
"The oil consumed directly and indirectly by the average American is  equivalent  to the
work output of 135 slaves, unfed, unclothed, unhoused, and paid $2 a day
between them." Richard Miller, "Time to Debunk,"  Oil and Gas Journal, 
Jan. 12, 2004, p. 12 
The alternative is to go back to the life our forebears lead, eating rotten meat (that is why pepper was such a prized commodity), and dying young. One of the Goths who beseiged Rome in the 4th century demanded more weight in pepper than he did in gold. Pepper made rotten meat taste better.
I for one think my profession has benefitted humanity more than just about any other profession. We have more trees today in North America than we had when Columbus came because we quit burning them (yes, those ecologically sensitive Native Americans were really busy stripping North America of its forests). My sad realization 5 years ago was that it would not be enough, that soon we would come to the end of the ride and high energy use might have been a technological trap. 5% of all humans who have ever lived (from 50 kyr ago) are alive today! That is what energy has done for us.
We are all on a train ride--the entire society is on this train. No one knows how to stop the train which goes faster and faster each year but everyone can see what will happen in the end. If the train keeps going faster and faster, it will eventually derail.  Jumping off the train means experiencing lots of pain (no medicines, inadequate housing, poor sanitation, no potable water, high infant mortality etc).  Being on the train has benefited millions of humans who now can drink fresh water because of energy, live in airconditioned comfort (I remember as a child not having airconditioning and being miserable in the summer at night).  But,on this train are many who think the train is the problem but they don't want to leave the comfort of the train.  I am one of those.
The ultimate winners in this game of ultimate survival may be the Amazonian tribes who never came into the 21th century and who still live off the land in squallor. No one will send a nuke their direction as the rest of the world fights over the last scraps of oil.

Received on Sat Oct 29 08:00:05 2005

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