Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Once more, with feeling!

I often feel like a nut. You know, like the kooky guy with the rainbow hair and the "John 3:16" sign who shows up at every sporting event on the planet. Or the guy at the bus stop downtown with "The End is Near" painted on a sandwich board. Or the folks that built reinforced underground shelters and stocked endless supplies for Y2K. I feel like I've snapped and become one of "those" people.

There's mounting evidence that the flow of oil is going to start to slow down very soon. The second and third largest oil fields in the world (Burgan in Kuwait and Catarell in Mexico) have already gone into sharp decline, and the largest, Ghawar in Saudi Arabia is delivering ten barrels of water for every barrel of oil, which means it's probably about to take a nosedive as well. After those three, there's nothing even close in size. As evidenced by previous peaks in individual oil fields and individual nations, after you peak, decline is esseitially permanenet, and possibly fast. And you can't tell for sure that it's happened until it's in the rearview mirror.

What's worse is that OPEC countries have apparently been cooking their books since the 1970's, greatly overstating their reserves for economic advantage. Things that used to cause price ripples now cause major waves. We're at an all time high, and there aren't even any supply disruptions right now. It appears there's just no spare capacity any more.

And there's more at stake than petroleum. Currently, all oil transactions between any two countries must be done in US dollars. There's a move afoot within OPEC to change that to Euros. What's that mean? In short, the value of the dollar would plummet. Remember how the US did away with the gold standard back in the early 1970's?

Why we don't hear more about all this, I have no idea. ABC Australia did a piece on it, but it doesn't turn up in mainstream media very often.

I've linked to this before, but I'll recommend it again: A History of Oil. It's a brilliant bit about some of this by comedian Robert Newman.

I can see silver linings with the best of them. But this whole thing scares me more than global warming, bird flu, terrorists, war, tsunamis, and clowns, combined.

I've always, always been an optimist. And I still try. But some days it's very hard to shake the fey mood. Today, I'm afflicted with Cassandra Syndrome. It feels like the best we can do is go off the cliff at 45 miles per hour instead of 70. I feel like alternatives don't have time to ramp up, and the planet has more people than it can feed without huge petroleum inputs.

I feel like that kid in "The Sixth Sense".

Why us? Why now? Just lucky I guess. Somebody's generation had to live through the fall of the Roman Empire, the Great Depression, the Spanish Flu, the Black Plague... I think this problem was inevitable. If oil is cheap, somebody's going to use it. I just read that in some cases, cotton is grown in the US, shipped to China to be spun, shipped back to the US to be dyed, shipped back to China to be made into clothing, and shipped back to the US to be sold. Why? Because it's cheaper than other methods.

"Action is the antidote." Yes, to some extent. Which is why we are feverishly doing so much. And why I'm seriously considering ways to take a big hit and cash out my 401k retirement savings. And why I created this web site.

I'll keep trying, keep doing. I'll keep putting one foot in front of the other. Tomorrow, motivation will be up again. Maybe even later today. But how to kick this habit? How do you quit oil? I have no idea. I'm a junkie, just like a few billion other people...

Hi, my name is Edson, and I'm addicted to oil.

7 Comments:

At 7/26/2006 7:36 AM, Blogger madcapmum said...

Not being a tv watcher or sports-go-er, I've never seen that guy with the rainbow hair. There was someone driving through the prairies with a van tattooed all over with scripture verses and religious admonitions, though. I managed to catch sight of that.

I'm an optomist too, kind of a cynical optomistic realist. I'm optomistic that there are sensible folk in the world (like yerself) who are at least walking away from Oil City, even if they haven't yet reached the city limits. And what can you do about people who clap their hands over their ears when Noah shouts?

 
At 7/26/2006 7:37 AM, Blogger madcapmum said...

Oh, and I went over to your other website and found a few new books to look into. Thanks for the referrals!

 
At 7/26/2006 10:27 AM, Blogger Deb said...

I've had that same feeling lately, like the writing is clearly on the wall, but everyone has their heads stuck in the sand (or somewhere else) and refuses to believe that life as we know it will end shortly.

By the way...so you're Edson! Thanks so much for the speedy gmail invite; and here I thought it was Google's textbots or something. Sorry, I didn't make the connection right away!

I need to spend some more time browsing your blog; I've been somewhat obsessed with peak oil and life after the crash lately and you've got some good info.

 
At 7/26/2006 12:18 PM, Blogger the Contrary Goddess said...

I call myself an eschatological idiot when I get started.

I called a local call in radio show one day, ostensibly to talk about why I didn't support government schooling, and went from "schools are just prisons" to peak oil to raw milk being illegal to the famines that I fully believe are coming. I believed what I was saying, and was saying it in as measured a way as I could manage, but I could also hear myself as other people must, a raving lunatic.

Oh well. One of my favorite quotes is, if you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning.

 
At 7/26/2006 2:46 PM, Blogger Suzer said...

Scares you more than clowns? That is pretty terrifying.I must say you do a pretty good job of scaring me too, but you've scared me into taking a more active role in conserving energy. Thank you for indirectly talking me into getting a new car. (Wink)

 
At 7/26/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger e4 said...

I think this is one of those problems where, the closer you look at it, the more obsessed and/or frightened you become. Just like clowns.

At a certain point, it might be counter-productive, and I'm wondering if I'm teetering on that brink.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

And thanks to Beo and Madcap for serenipitously posting much more encouraging posts the same day as this.

Onward, ho!

 
At 8/13/2010 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why now? Why us? Because we're the generation that saw Israel become a nation. Don't you know that Israel is to blame for everything? ;)

-a

 

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