Tuesday, July 12

Tuesday Propaganda: Peak Oil Revisited

For those of you that have missed my conspiracy theory doom and gloom, this post is just for you. I've shied away from peak oil for a bit. You can't immerse yourself too deeply for too long without suffering adverse effects. I took a hiatus from wrestling philosophically with the imminent post-carbon apocalypse.

And then silly me...I was drawn in to an article yesterday and it brought me screeching to a halt at the feet of the statue of prophecy. As I was reading the article the TV was blatting on about the debt ceiling standoff. These jokers in congress need a reality check upside the head. I'm just sayin'...

The republicans don't really have a problem with government spending. They have a problem with democrat spending. And the democrats need to plug the bleeding holes in their hearts and start passing out the ramen noodles. Time to tighten our belts folks!

I have evidence that oil is in decline. I have it in my hand right now. It's a twice repaired pair of plastic sunglasses. A few weeks ago I had a pair of sunglasses that I had been wearing since at least back in the fall. The rubberized ear pieces had slipped off the thinner and harder arms but I kept wearing them. When my lovely wife (who returns home with my master race children tonight!) asked if I needed her to pick up anything for our trip to Kentucky about a month and a half ago I asked her to pick me up a new pair of sunglasses.

Now, I'm satisfied with cheap sunglasses. Always have been. Why spend a lot of money on something I'm going to trash anyway, right? But as hard as I am on sunglasses (amongst other things) I can usually get six months out of a pair at the very least.

So Mandy got me a new pair and I wore them on our week long trip. They lasted about three weeks total before the plastic frames started to splinter and crumble. They didn't break because I sat on them or dropped them. The lenses weren't scratched so bad I couldn't see through them (which is when I usually replace sunglasses) and otherwise they looked pristine.

The day I was buying supplies for my Guanella tour I picked up a replacement pair for my three week old replacements. I rationalized that I would take extra care and choose a sturdy looking pair that would hold up longer. I knew I could have super-glued the first replacement pair, but that they'd probably just break at another point.

I bough them on Thursday. On Sunday as I was riding home I went to put the second replacement pair on as I passed out of the shadows of the deep canyon around Georgetown into the sun along Alvarado Road. The frame broke.

That afternoon I went back to the store to exchange them. I replaced the second replacement pair with a seemingly sturdier pair that also featured arms that bent outward. To me this seemed to be just what I needed, to reduce the pressure on the frame as the sunglasses are put on and taken off. I had put them on less than a dozen times when that frame broke.

I've worn glasses for 30 years. I've never had so much trouble with the quality of the plastic frames as I have in the past month with FOUR DIFFERENT PAIR of sunglasses.

I have no chemical evidence, but it seems to me that the quality of plastic in the various models of sunglasses I've bought has seriously declined. The price hasn't gone up but the quality has tanked for sure.

It seems like such a little thing, but I just can't get past the tingling of my spider sense that the crumbling of the sunglasses is an omen, a sign of things to come. First your sunglasses, then your world.

As I rode my bike in to work this morning I felt the weight of Peak Oil again. I pondered the effects of excessive fuel costs and drastic shortages of cheap and easy to get to fossil fuels. The most basic issue will be a lack of clean and accessible water as water treatment plants struggle to stay online. Electricity, utilities, food supplies, medical care, civil services, stability and security...all those things will become threatened as fuel costs rise, unemployment continues to rise and as political turmoil brings about never before seen changes in our society. I can smell the changes coming like rain that is getting ready to fall. The air is charged with the weight of precipitous change.

I get so tired of hearing the pundits and plebes go on about "returning to growth" as if the only indicator of a healthy economy is growth. We don't need growth. We need sustainable activity. Organisms typically reach a mature (sustainable) size and then maintain equilibrium until they begin to age and decay. At best as an economic organism we should be shooting for equilibrium, not continued growth. Growth without limits is cancer.

My entire lief I've been a fan of post-apocalyptic science fiction. Much of the genre in the 1980s focused on nuclear catastrophe and Cold War annihilation. When I read about the accounts of life in Japan after Fukushima I can't help but thinking we're essentially living in one of those '80s nuclear nightmare situations. Blade Runner not so far fetched?

I am beginning to believe in climate change, but I am still very skeptical that it is human induced. Climate cycles. That is a known fact. The Earth has gone through cooling and warming trends since the beginning of time. How arrogant are we to claim to have influence over the cycles of the tides and the rains? I've said it before, I'm a climate change agnostic. I'll believe it when I see it for myself. In my near 40 years of existence I've seen changes in the weather patterns in the places where I've lived. It's obvious that winter doesn't mean the same thing it used to along the 38th parallel in North America.

Resilience does not come in an instant. I think we've waited to long to grab the brake. This runaway train is headed for the collapsed bridge. About all we can do now is brace for impact and be prepared for whatever happens in the aftermath.

All because of a pair of cheap sunglasses...

No comments:

Post a Comment