The Long Emergency

There was a recent article in Rolling Stone (via pk at Puddingbowl) about imminent consequences of passing Peak Oil — that is, the point where the oil we can get from the world’s reserves starts diminishing, until eventually it’s all gone. The author has a blog too.

This has been the “preying on my mind and threatening to depress the hell out of me” thing of the moment.

I dunno. We lived through the Cold Wr without reducing the world to radioactive slag. We managed to fix our software to the point that the Y2K problem passed us by with barely a blip. Maybe we’ll get through this all OK too, if it happens. And maybe the changes that do happen won’t all be bad ones.

Wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if America wasn’t Super-Global-Corporate-Military-King-Of-The-Walmart-Universe anymore, if we had to be just another nation in the world, getting by as best we could.

It’s just that if civilization as we know it does collapse over the next few years, well… that is so far from being something I could conceivably do a damn thing about, worrying about it isn’t gonna do much except make me miserable right now (as opposed to when civilization as we know it collapses).

Right?

UPDATE: One of the few days I go the whole day without checking BoingBoing, and it turns out they have a lengthy and several-times-updated article on Peak Oil, which contains a lot of different points of view on Peak Oil, its date, and its possible consequences.

4 thoughts on “The Long Emergency”

  1. On a large scale I think I agree with you, but there probably are things we can do to start preparing for and adjusting to the reduced oil supplies. Reducing our ecological footprints, and working to improve public transport is a good step. Buying secondhand vehicles and other hydrocarbon-consuming goods. Maybe even electric vehicles (sure, most electricity is produced using fossil fuels, but as a coder I think abstracting our usage is likely a good thing). All

    Small steps, but I think there’s a chance that enough such moves could tip the balance between cataclysm and big adjustment.

  2. Another thought on petrol:
    Diminishing use will have profound effects on the middle east. Without the constant infusion of vast sums of cash, I firmly believe that any threats from extremists (real or other) will diminish. They the USA can treat them as we do Sudan or Rwanda… that’ll be great, won’t it?

  3. I think that, overall, this is good news. Twenty or thirty years from now, you’ll see my barrelling down the highway in my gigantic 1972 Plymouth, which will be running on NUCLEAR POWER!!!! Woo hoo!

    You know as well as I do, Ed m’boy, that this scenario is gonna rock! Why? Because every time I get in my car, I can say, “Atomic Batteries to Power…Turbines to speed…”

    In fact, I’m gonna airbrush a big graphic of an atom on the hood when that day comes. (I’ll put the Batman symbol on the trunk)

    Damn. The future’s so bright, I gotta wear a rad suit. :)

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