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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The whole world is Tekel - Peak oil has officially hit

At least the cheap, conventional stuff. From now on, it gets ugly.

Chris Martenson says it well (as usual):

From now on, we'll probably keep going through more cycles of economic decline as energy prices rise (and our mountains of debt weigh us down (see my link to Chris Martenson's site).  There will be mini-recoveries, but the long term trend will be downward.  John Michael Greer gives me some comfort in The Long Descent.  His view is that civilizations tend to take as long to decline as they took to arise, dropping a generally stair step manner.  He believes that our children's lives will be poorer and probably shorter than ours.  But it will probably be a few generations until are cities are mysterious ruins to those that remain.

My biggest concern is how bad the population declines will be.  We don't realize how dependent the most productive farmers in the world are on fossil fuels.  Some of them come in the form of natural gas (which looks better with shale gas, but there are risks there as well) and coal via electricity, but the need for diesel alone is crucial.  Add the stresses from climate change (drought, flooding, increased evaporation/heat, etc.) and those in the margins will have their life expectancies shortened first.  For instance, as food prices rise, poorer nations will be priced out of the market first.  So there will be more famines, but we won't see them for what they are.  We're used to famines.  Will we even notice?  And at what point do they realize that their children are doomed to starve?  Will wars ensue?  Terrorism increase?

I'd love to see us tackle something like Transition Towns, but I'm afraid that too few will.  We're too swamped with our daily lives.  I'd love to try starting one, but I can't with my current family situation.  I'm hoping to when the children are older, but I have to ask myself if this isn't a shot across the bow, warning me that time is out.  I felt when we moved in 2005 that we should rent instead of buy, that things were bound for a crash but I didn't follow my better discernment.  Am I repeating that pattern?  I'd love to get a few acres near my in-laws and start a farm.  I grew up on one, I know a fair amount about raising animals.  Low-input (e.g. organic) gardening is a bit more out of my realm, but I'd like to learn.

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells his audience not to worry, God provides even for birds and flowers.  But with record bird populations facing threats of decline, and flowers facing droughts, how much comfort can I draw from that?  I feel that God will always be present and work with us in any situation, drought, famine, disease, homelessness or death, but just the same there will be misery.  Comfort when your child dies still leaves you with a dead child.

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