Interested and concerned about the potential reality of Hubbert’s Peak Oil Theory, I decided to read Richard Heinberg’s, The Party’s Over (see ‘checked out’). He has a mesmerizing way of connecting the dots from defining what energy is and how we’ve acquired, enslaved, and consumed it to how it has drastically altered everything we know throughout time. We are all aware of the widespread use of petroleum to power our vehicles and houses, though you may not be aware of the fact that petroleum is used in the production of just about every product known to man: computers, nylon, plastics, toiletries. More important is the use of petroleum in agriculture. This starts with the tractors that plow the fields, then proceeds to fertilizers and pesticides. Because traditional farming strips nitrogen out of the soil faster than it can be replenished, it needs to be amended. This is accomplished by applying inorganic nitrogen that is produced using natural gas. Our food is then harvested and shipped all over the world, again using some means of transportation that probably runs on petroleum. At one time, farming was quite efficient with a 1:28 ratio of energy input to food output. Now, with the increased use of pesticides and fertilizers that ratio has been reduced to 1:2. Not a very good return for the investment.
Wait, I really didn’t want to summarize the book. I wanted to talk about what really perplexes me about this topic.
Being curious and striving to be objective I decided to research opposing views. Could it be possible that someone doesn’t believe what I’m reading in this book. Sure enough, I found many websites declaring Peak Oil to be a myth. In fact, they (some scientists) claim that oil is in fact abiotic and a renewable resource, which became known during the exploration of Eugene Island. These websites also claim that the myth is perpetuated by the Elitists for the benefit of large oil companies and great expense to all the rest of us out here who believe we can roll back the tide with our little solar water heaters installed on our roofs. I became obssessed like any normal person would with trying to figure out what is the truth. One thing is certain, we won’t know we’ve reached peak oil production until after it happens.
Oh, back to why I’m perplexed…
It really doesn’t matter if Peak Oil is a myth or not. What matters is that we are constantly being played. When are we (us regular folks) going to put an end to the manipulation? Why do we continue to allow these organizations (like our government) and corporations to hold us under a barrel and force feed us whatever they see fit to instil fear and complacency? Why don’t we have better options? Better energy options, better housing options, better travel options. Better options are slowly surfacing thanks to pioneering individuals that aren’t afraid to try and/or have enough capital to experiment. We all need to think more like pioneers and stop waiting for our local, state and federal government to tell us what to do. Myself included and I don’t doubt that this is an easier task said than done.