Monday, November 12, 2007

The Big 3 E's: Energy, Economy, Environment

Although I would like to believe that we can invent ourselves out of the coming limits to economic growth due to energy depletion, I'm afraid believing that would have me operating under the same delusion as the compulsive gambler who continues to bet on the "come" that has long since gone. The gambler's addiction to the thrill and to the elegant lifestyle temporarily brought him by his prior winning streak keep him searching for some reality base for his continued attachment to speculative investing in his illusion, but the money is running out along with his credibility.

As much as I hate to give up my own use of a positive frame when I'm feeling pessimistic about things not looking so good, I'm afraid I'm going to have to bite the bullet on this one. The combination of peak oil (depletion of cheap, efficient energy ), progressive climate change, and refusal of political-economic leaders and the general public to accept the limits to economic and population growth in a closed ecological system like that of the earth is creating a "perfect storm". We are past the point of no return in having any opportunity to make corrections (any effort in that direction is like "changing the chairs on the deck of the Titanic"). The outcome of the energy/climate crisis is fairly unpredictable when there is no cooperative vision or joining of forces and ideals to weigh in as support for a positive future.

The current population numbers can't be supported without a cheap and effective source of energy like we have had with oil for the last century and, at present, there is no such source. We're going to be scraping for energy and water, and it will only be worse if we continue to breed bad relations and create enemies with other nations. Barring a global or national cooperative effort for gearing down our current rate of consumption and educating the public about the critical necessity of wisely using our remaining resources--for sustaining life, for survival, then I think the course we must take is to organize on local and regional levels to prepare for the worst.

Apparently more people and groups than I realized are beginning to do this--to form "intentional" communities with that intention--survival and preservation of knowledge/culture accumulated in this most recent experience of human being. Suggestions are being made that we need to start educating people on a local basis about civics, constitutional law, good governance, gardening, cloth making, etc.--we may have to start over! Or, at least, to develop a very new lifestyle and social structure. I am ready and I believe the time is right to move in this direction. I believe this effort needs wise leadership and I believe it is up to our generation to implement this grassroots movement--we have the power of numbers, the power of money, and the obligation to pay back what we have taken. (Well the largest proportion of us baby-boomers are in that position, anyway.)

I'm glad to see Mayor White supporting the predictions of the peak oil scientists by forming an office of sustainability and declaring Houston will build only green. It's a good start when public officials are making statements that acknowledge what is coming. Also some people from the oil industry and the U of H Future Studies program (at a conference on peak oil in Houston a few weeks ago) are speaking out--their statements ring clear and true. "Here it is for what it's worth", is how they offer it.

I am also glad to see someone like Al Gore who is a known public figure taking on a role of leadership in acknowledging the climate change factor and urging the public and the powers that be to heed the warnings and begin to act now according to critical reasoning rather than compulsive mass delusion. Otherwise, there will be no reasoning, no organizational infrastructure when reality dawns, there will only be panic and strife/violent competition for the "remains of the day".

The books I have been reading are Heinberg's "The Party's Over", "Powerdown" (and he has a new one coming out); Bill McKibbons "Deep Economy and "Blessed Unrest", Meadows, Meadows, & Randers' "The Limits to Growth: 30 Year Update", Gore's "Assault on Reason", Eisler's "The Wealth of Nations", Lietaer's "The Future of Money", Aburdeen's "The Rise of Conscious Capitalism". Also Lakoff's works from the Rockridge Institute.

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