Blind Spot is a documentary that shows the impact of our current addiction to fossil fuels. World peak oil will create the world's most devastating economic disaster ever if we let it. Climate change threatens all life on the planet and increasing economic upheaval. Together we must see that now is the time to make the changes necessary to ensure our collective survival.
We are coming to that critical point where we must change in order to survive. And yet, we find change hard and even harder to believe it is necessary. What causes this blind spot?
"The world is saying you can either fix it or I can fix it, and if I fix it your not going to like it because I am going throw everything away and that means most of you." Cheap abundant fossil fuels are about to peak which means we are heading for economic disaster. A new way of living is required and we don't collectively see the obvious crisis looming larger every day.
Think about all the ways fossil fuels are used. Cars, boats, trains, growing food and everything else.
Richard Heinberg makes clear how critical the issue of peak oil is. He explains that it has allowed us to grow far beyond the carrying capacity of the earth. Just a hundred years ago things were limited by muscle power largely. Now virtually all work is done by fossil fuels. We think it is normal that we can live using a fuel as powerful as oil. We've only known a world like this. And yet oil is peaking and will run out.
Lester Brown. Oil is the world's lifeline of the world sustaining everything. The problem is the reserves are shrinking. Declining world production means a world that is very different. The world must change with declining oil production. Everything must change. The world will be massively defined by the period before peak oil and after peak oil.
Peak oil will happen. It has been known for a long time. Like all oil fields, the same process occurs. The production increases until a peak and then reduces at the same rate. Everything will change as the world peak oil point is reach.
Take agriculture. It currently uses fossil fuels extensively. Farmers use it everywhere for tractor fuel, fertilizers and pesticides. Also, as biofuels compete the price of food will increase. A two pronged effect will drive food prices up.
William R. Catton explains why we don't think about this as seriously as we need to in order to deal with this defining issue of this century. Routine behaviour is one part of the problem. The other issue is the expansion has become the standard we've become used to and everything is measured against this. We've failed to measured this against the real ecological limits. Economics does not include the true costs and thus we are not informed of the insanity of our continuous growth.
The end of cheap oil makes clear that energy is the key to human history. Fossil fuels are the essence of the industrial revolution. Since they are finite we've got a critical problem. We've overshot the carrying capacity on a finite resource.
This is the most serious problem to face the human race since we've evolved. Think about that.
People are good at dealing with crisis. We find it hard to prevent them. Peak oil has likely recently been reached. We will transition to renewables. What we ought to do to lessen the massive potential impacts. Waiting til the middle of the crisis is not a good way to make the switch to renewables. We are now in a race against time.
People are in general innumerate. Albert Bartlett explains that we have a problem understanding what the implications of declining oil and therefore increasing oil prices. We are seeing just the start of this now. And yet this is the start of the beginning of a general trend of increasing rates of rise. What causes civilizations to fail, throughout history, one of the main reasons, is food and resources. Today our entire food and resource distribution system is based on oil. What happens as we go over the peak, and head toward decline in oil. We currently use fossil fuels to create food in agriculture, so here again, as we pass peak things become life threatening.
Increasing complexity of society is another facet of societies. Joseph Tainter explains that we've now created the most complexity in history. In the past complexity was not sustainable with the solar energy. Only in recent times has fossil fuels allowed us to create such an massively complex society that will not work as is once fossil fuels decline as they must as a non-renewable resource. Ancient societies like the Roman Empire, the status quo took a lot of resources simply to maintain what they've got. Thus it was very costly just the maintain what is developed. Now we face this on the most massive scale ever.
We've been advertised into becoming the world's biggest consumers. Advertising drives us to consume and convince us that this is normal. The United States is the main consumer in the world. The entire world relies on the US to consume. In fact countries like China need to lend the US money so they can keep spending and consuming.
You've got entire generations that have youth brain washed by TV to believe that everything that defines you is consumption. Think about it. If media tries to run shows the explain the problems, will they make money selling advertising. No. They sell consumption.
Oil and car companies have bought the political agenda through lobbies to ensure that the environmental consequences are not dealt with. The oil and car companies have lied about the consequences of the use of their products. They are killing us and we should be preventing their use. Why aren't we?
We can now organize the use of resources, for such a long time, overcoming so many challenges, that we think there is nothing that we can't overcome. Turning around this era of progress based on oil is hard for people to comprehend. Why can the existing model of progress continue...because it is based on a finite resource that is now destroying our economy and our environment. How do you know what you know. It is based on what your culture teaches. Reality is that our culture now contradicts the truth the science shows us regarding the limited resources we have and the damage the use of oil causes.>
It should have been obvious that oil was a limited resource. The large quantities available until recently have made us think it will always be this way. But it will not. Oil is now on the decline and that means our oil economy will decline unless we switch to a renewable resource like solar energy in all the miraculous forms available.
The fossil fuel industry has funded the disinformation campaign. However, the other issue is we don't want to hear about these problems so we are happy to be lied to according to Bill Mckibben. We've become highly individualized in massive houses. We are all isolated which means we don't talk to each other about our problems. The greater society that isn't servicing our needs but we think we are the only ones having these problems.
Max Fradd Wolff explains that real wages have had three decades of declining real wages. Inflation is part of the cause of this. In a recession wages may push wages down. Oil shocks create this problem. Cheap imported goods and debt have allowed things to continue until now, much of this supported by cheap oil. If things double in price, then people could not afford things in places like Walmart which is the distribution centre for the products of China.
Economic systems are like life systems in reality. And yet we do not reflect this in our economic systems today. We don't account for the every increasing use of resources without paying for the unprocessed waste in pollution that is killing us. We've developed a culture that makes think we can always get more. We can't. The world is finite.
We live in a finite world. We must design our life systems and economics to conform with this natural reality. It is our only hope for survival.
James Hansen says that if we continue now along the path of 3 degree increase in average temperature, we will see positive feedbacks, including the melting of the ice shelves, that will cause a catastrophic rise in water levels. Do we want to preserve a planet that we inherited from our ancestors? Then we need to switch to clean renewable energy.
It is so hard to change because habit is a strong characteristic of being human. We don't react if the impact is not immediate.
We are now walking into the gas chamber of climate change disaster, because we make believe that the tragedy we know is coming can't possibly be about to affect us through each day where things seem okay. They are not okay. We know that we are heading towards a warmer planet that will destroy us unless we switch to a sustainable way of living on renewable resources that don't pollute.
You can't live on a planet and kill it at the same time. That is suicide.
The change we must make are fundamental change in our cultures. Economic stories must that we believe currently must be discarded. Reality is the currently economics today is about the rich exploiting the poor while destroying the earth. We must change this system and culture.
Nobody is driving our current economic train. Things are even more chaotic than that. Deregulation and market economies have created the ultimate out of control system with no direction.
Will we ever run out of the coal or oil? Most people have faith that someone intelligent is looking after our limited resources. We should not have this faith in our current leadership. What should our future be to live within our limited resources and to create a good life for all.
William R. Catton explains how the great depression provides a great example of what happens when you overshoot your resources.
Oil and auto companies have tried to confuse us about the harm that driving our cars causes. People lose lung function when they live near a freeway. Every year 100,000 people die prematurely from air pollution in the United States. Driving our cars with fossil fuels causes this tragedy.
Peak world oil will impact economic systems massively within just one year. The problem is it then accelerates after that year in economic impacts. And yet, our systems that are built on fossil fuels may take much longer than that to change. We must plan to move away now in order to prevent the spiralling economic devastation that could occur.
We only have one planet and yet we are consuming at the level of three planets. We must start the transition now.
Clearly the only prudent thing to do is plan the transition now. Limit population growth through education and economic equality. Switch to renewable energy. Make the switch to a complete use of re-using and recycling all of our non-renewable resources. We can do it.
The deeper causes of the crises we are in were created by the hierarchical systems that developed five thousand years ago. Corporate and state power now maintain this with violence and control over resources.
Will we transition to clean energy, to ways of doing things that will prevent us from reaching the tipping point? Just 200 years ago our impacts were minimal. Now, our impacts are massive and our non-renewable resources a starting to peak. The industrial revolution driven by oil is reaching the peak, and the path down the other side of this mountain now critically determining our future. We have a race against time to make the switch to 100% renewable energy in the next ten to twenty years which it has been proven we can do (see Scientific American). In this ecological overshoot that we are in, we are also now linked through resource exchange, and must work globally together to resolve these problems starting today.
See Hope for a Change: Renewable Energy to learn how it is possible for us to move quickly to 100% renewable energy very quickly. Join the solar revolution now.