The uprising(s) in the Middle East and the conflict in Wisconsin really have me thinking hard about whether the root of these local events is in peak oil, global warming, population politics?
I don’t think we have hit Peak Rock, but I think we have hit Peak Oil. NPG (Negative Population Growth) has a piece by Lindsay Grant that opens with the following:
For years, it has been puzzling to see commentators debating whether peak oil is a future possibility, when the U.S. Energy Information Administration (DOE/EIA) data showed world crude oil production peaking in 2005. The puzzle is the product of denial. Most people in the oil business dont want to face peakoil. However, the issue was muddied last year when the EIA itself suggested that 2008 production might surpass 2005 by a tiny margin.1
The EIA has revised its estimates, and it now establishes 2005 as the peak year above 2008 by the tiniest of margins. The preliminary figure for 2009 is 2% below 2005, which is a more significant figure.
The uprisings demonstrate one important thing to keep in mind about human geopolitical dynamics – the unpredictable nature of the popular uprising. Why do these things happen when they do? I think the answer is that nobody knows. The popular zeitgeist in any particular locale is just too complicated to understand. There are the demographic measures – the shoe thrower index – can give some background, but I expect that all of these measurement tools will have little predictive value in a time frame meaningful to policy planners and bloggers.
But I will tell you that I am frankly worried about the future for my children and grandchildren. I don’t know when an uprising, an earthquake, an economic collapse, rapidly rising commodity prices will upset their world, but I think the relative stability that I have experienced in my lifetime will not be available to the coming generations.
Peak oil and global warming are sides of a coin. The facts that our species discovered the utility of petro-carbon fuels, has experienced a population boom driven by petro-carbon fuels, has blown through so much of the planetary supply and driven the planetary climate out of a stable state through burning these fuels – all of this is connected. It’s connected to the uprisings in the Middle East and it’s connected to the class war happening here in the US, front line: Wisconsin.
We (the human species) have/had some choices. We can look forward, change our ways and ourselves in some kind of amazing cultural evolution to recognize the need to establish steady state economies, population control, justice systems that would do away with the need for war, for coercion, a real turn to a rule of law or we can march into the future of a changing planet with the tools of the last war(s) and fight a series of resource wars around the globe (and work on population control the old fashioned way – with child soldiers armed with weaponry “Made in the USA.” Does it make you proud? It doesn’t do much for me. (I will concede that our competition made a better weapon for child soldiers with the AK 47, but let’s not quibble).
That’s what I am thinking. The uprisings, the oppression and class war of Scott Walker (child soldier for the Koch brothers) and his ilk are resource wars. Witness the talk by the WI state official about the rightness of using live ammunition against people protesting the loss of collective bargaining rights. Holy Smoke! People with no sense of history can sure get themselves on the wrong side of the history story.
Sitting, chatting, listening to Kucinich (a guy who has consistently been able to see the tragedy, waste and foolishness of war) on President’s Day was encouraging in some ways. He was preaching to the choir, but the choir needed a little encouragement and time together to raise our hearts for the work ahead. One question that was sent forward to Dennis, was how do we change these people? These people who think wars make sense and unions do not? How do find common cause with folks who would do us harm with such gusto and so little hesitation?
It’s a good question and Dennis brought the answer we all knew was coming. We change them by being the change. We change ourselves. Change is coming.
Go get’m. Love your enemies. Boy, that’s an old challenge… and the order of the day.