Sunday, October 3, 2004

The Party's Over

I read a book this past week entitled: The Party's Over. this book is a well-researched treatise on the world's dependence on fossil fuels and the likely effect of a very near term change: reaching Peak Production. This book says that petroleum engineers, oil companies and governments all predicted that this event will take place sometime between 2006 and 2012. The next 25-50 years will be unlike any we have ever known.

This isn't a book about running out of oil, it's a book about the economic, political and social changes that will come about after reaching peak production. It's premise: once we can no longer produce more, an economy and society based upon consumption can no longer grow. The decline can be disasterous or it can be somewhat managed, but regardless, we will see a dramatic change. The drama begins after the peak happens. An important conclusion in this book is that the sooner that we can acknowledge that the reason the change is happening, the easier the transition will be. The longer we stay in denial about the state of affairs, the more likely famine, war, environmental degradation and all sorts of human and ecological misery.

The frightening thing is this: those close to the industry now say we reached peak production this year. Think about it. At some level, we all know this is true. China and India are rapidly growing, and the Hummers and SUVs fill the roads in the United States, while our young men and women fight in the sands of Iraq to keep the oil flowing. Even with the oil from Russia's untapped fields, we will never again see a day when we can produce more of it than the day before.

In a sense, the book is right: the party's over. And yet, this is an amazing time to be alive. I predict that our deepest changes must and will be spiritual. From spirit, our creativity will flow. We can act out of love or fear. We must decide.