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a friend of mine once expressed the unpleasant political reality like this: you ask an affluent First World inhabitant to get real and decide which is more important, driving their car or feeding their kids. they blink a couple of times and (most of them) say staunchly: Feed the kids, forget the goddamn car.
but if you ask them which is more important, driving their car or feeding someone else's kids -- especially someone else who is poor and/or darker-skinned and/or speaks a different language and/or lives more than 30 miles away -- then you are likely to get a different and depressing answer. and when I think about oil prices and the end of the cheap energy regime, this is what depresses me.
it's not so much that I think "we are all doomed and the human story is over" as that I think very large numbers of us may be doomed unless we learn to think and act in a very different way --r and we have a long record of learning disabilities and truancy in this area...
The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
That's why I think we're screwed. In terms of absolute resources, we're not inevitably screwed. Re-adjustment would be painful, but not impossible. With proper planning a soft landing could even be engineered.
But the social problem is a much more pressing issue. Right now, too many people don't believe there's a problem, and don't want to believe there's a problem. They believe that in spite of occasional alarmist reports things will carry on more or less as they have done - because that's what things do. They have no experience of rationing or serious scarcity, so they can't imagine that rationing or serious scarcity could ever happen or ever affect them personally.
As other people have said, it won't be till gas is $5 and upwards a gallon in the US and the waves are lapping around their beach front homes and the shops are increasingly empty of even the basics that they will start to realise that the world has changed.
It may already be too late by then. And they may simply decide to turn feral and turn on each other.
So without some kind of unprecedented seismic change in awareness, I think the screwed part is looking more and more unavoidable at this point.
Just thinking personally, I would go out and install a large windmill in my back garden tomorrow if I could. It probably wouldn't cover more than about a third of my current energy budget, but it would be better than nothing.
But can I? If I do I will be ordered to take it down because of heritage planning considerations, and if I don't comply it will be dismantled by force with a hefty fine.
When that changes there may be some evidence of intelligent strategy from government. In the meantime - unfortunately not.
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