Tuesday, February 22

On Any Given Tuesday

Okay, so I get that the day after a holiday our office would be busy. We basically do double duty on those days. I understand. What I'm not so sure about is why there were MORE cars on the road today than a regular Monday or Tuesday. Don’t the same number of people have to be at work on any given Tuesday, I mean, generally? So where did all the cars come from? And where did all the bikes go? I didn’t see a single other cyclist out today.

Oh, wait, maybe the cyclists drove today! Nah, couldn’t be that. The difference between additional cars today and the total number of cyclists on any given day is much greater and offers no explanation for the disparity.

It's a mystery to which I will offer no hypothesis. Instead, let me offer my views on the book The Party's Over by Richard Heinberg which I finished on my lunch today: read it.

If you aren’t scared to pieces and depressed beyond repair after reading it, you may have a chance in the coming calamity. It plays on my long standing post-apocalyptic fantasies. But it also helps me to better understand why I've always had this sense of dread about our modern socio-economic arrangements. I think the best message to take away from the book is this:

Our cultural obsession with good news, promises, and hope is humanly understandable, but there comes a time when the best thing to do is accept that a bad situation has developed and find intelligent ways to manage it.

Now is that time. Do you see what's happening in the Middle East? Gas prices might do more than "go up." Gas may become scarce. I was born at the end of the oil embargo of the '70s, and I'm a child of the build up that led to it. While I didn’t personally experience those times, I did watch that Cheech and Chong movie that portrayed the events of 1973-4 and I am certain if you light up a doobie in a gas soaked Thunderbird you will meet with much more dire results than did those Beaners. No seriously, rationing of gasoline may become a reality. $5.00++ prices could become the norm. Food prices will shoot up, consumption will go down, the economy could tank even further.

Regardless of whether there are five or fifty more years of petroleum supply still in the ground, the problems of supply lines, political access to oil and the extreme delicacy of our fossil fuel dependent infrastructure could lead us quickly into ruin.

Heinberg also states:

Human beings have always had problems: competition for scarce resources, natural disasters, diseases, accidents, and so on. It is the SCALE of the problem that besets us now that is unique.

The scale of our dependency is going to be the real crux of the matter. We haul too much (ourselves included) too far, too often.

I highly recommend reading The Party's Over. IN a sense it better summarizes the Peak Oil dilemma than other more focused pieces do. For me it would be a tossup between The Party's Over or The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler if I were going to recommend only one book on the subject.

Ride a bike!

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