We hear a lot about global warming lately and the resulting doomsday scenario in which the human race will face dislocation, famine, disease and possibly extinction. The projected timeframe for this catastrophe is within 50 to 100 years. But there is a much more dire emergency facing us that barely anyone in the mainstream media or politics is discussing…Peak Oil. This is the phenomenon originally known as Hubbert’s Peak after Geophysicist Dr. M. King Hubbert. His prediction in 1956 that U.S.oil production would peak in about 1970 and decline thereafter was scoffed at then, but his analysis has since proved to be remarkably accurate.
Most scientists agree that the world reached its peak in oil discovery and recovery between 2003 and 2005 and we are now in decline. As demand rises (with developing countries requiring more oil) and production falls, the prices will rise dramatically, creating economic collapse on a scale never before experienced.
The middle class will essentially disappear overnight. No one except the very wealthy will be able to afford to travel either by car or plane. Food, which relies heavily on petroleum for its production as well as distribution will become so scarce and expensive, many will face starvation. Those of us who currently enjoy the “extras” such as cellphone and internet service, cable tv, entertainment and dining at restaurants, will have to give all of that up just to pay for rent and food. And forget medical care altogether. The cost of producing and distributing medications will render them unattainable to all but the top one percent of our population. This situation will result in a downward spiraling economy. Hundreds of thousands of businesses will go under and millions will be out of work. With our current population there won’t be enough for all, so crime will increase. Anyone who has prepared by storing food and goods will be a target for those willing to use violence to take it. Imagine the social and political collapse this will create. It’s going to be ugly! And when do most experts expect this economic collapse due to scarce expensive oil to occur? Within five to twenty years!
Global warming is not our biggest problem, peak oil is. What are we doing about it? For the most part, nothing. Although there are some people and communities who are making efforts to deal with a Post-Oil society. Carbondale Economic Localization is one such group of people. They have been taking inventory of what resources we have here in the Roaring Fork Valley and what we need to obtain to be able to survive the coming crisis. The main emphasis is on local food production. From CEL’s recently researched projections, it’s become clear that the current population of the Valley cannot be sustained on what we now produce or even what could ideally be produced given the limited viable ag land we have available. Some of us are going to have to leave. But this problem will take care of itself. When prices start rising and jobs disappear, there will be a mass exodus.
Perhaps our saving grace is our isolation. No one is going to migrate to this land of harsh climate and limited opportunities for a better chance at survival. In the wake of the great national emergency we will essentially be forgotten and neglected, left to fend for ourselves. Are we ready? How about you? Do you know how to grow your own food, hunt, make your own clothing, shelter, and most important…can you make a fire with nothing but sticks? If not, you’d better start learning now. After all of the food and Bic lighters have been looted from City Market, we’re going to be on our own.
Doomsday is literally at our doorstep.