Saturday, May 13 2006
For me, certain forms of "bad news" are actually good news. Bad things happening to the United States military in Iraq, though horrible for the unfortunate people involved, are probably good things for the world and for our country, because (in aggregate) they might lead to more deliberation the next time a world leader has the idea of invading a country and being greeted as a liberator. (I don't know why I actually think this; it seems world leaders, at least of the George W. Bush school, have to relearn the lessons of history for themselves, and we're forced to audit those classes along with them, even if we've already passed with an A+.)
There are, however, certain forms of news that are just so bad that even I think they're bad, and I'd love to be proven wrong in my fears about them. For example, it would be great to learn that post-Enlightenment society isn't going to be completely destroyed by its squandering of fossil fuels, that we'll find a way to live sustainably with the benefits of all the knowledge gained during our period of overshoot. I don't think it would be good for our planet if fossil fuels should prove inexhaustible (as certain websites maintain), but I'd like to be proven wrong about the pathetic potential renewable resources have for supporting a modestly-industrialized global civilization, one where a few people know what terms like HTML and 802.11g mean. I don't really care if Moore's Law fizzles out (Hasn't it already? Are today's computers any better than they were in 2002?), but I think the internet is a great gift of our fossil-fuel-based society, and I'd be pleased to hear of a mechanism allowing it to survive the coming deindustrialization.
With these things in mind, I've been reading sites purporting to debunk Peak Oil doomsayers. But I'm not finding much to allay my fears. Most of Peak Oil debunkers show themselves to be crippled thinkers early in their rants, often using words like "Zionist" and "Conspiracy" in their titles and then going on to claim that either oil has inexhaustible abiotic origins or that the amount left in the Earth is being grossly underreported. Then there are the examples of oil company propaganda such as this PDF from Exxon-Mobil, which claim that it took "since the dawn of human history" to use our first trillion barrels of oil and that as many as 3 trillion remain, as if it will take three additional "human histories" to use it all. The fact, of course, is that at our present rate of consumption we'll burn through the next trillion in 30 years, yet consumption is growing and (for the survival of global economies) must grow. The upshot of all this is that I remain a Peak Oil pessimist. But at least I found this along the way.
This evening there was little party at the Woodstock residence of our photogenic vegan Buddhist friends in celebration of two different birthdays. It was your typical wine-and-fake-cheese affair, and (as always) someone brought a cute animal saved from a factory farm. In this case it took the form of a tiny five pound piglet, a runt who would have starved had animal rights terrorists not entered the picture. No terrorism had actually been necessary in this case and the NSA came up empty handed on their wiretaps; the farmer had gladly handed over the piglet when the terrorists expressed interest in its life.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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