Thursday, October 09, 2008

post-oil


(the rules of the internet say "give credit where credit is due": this picture is from this website)

I will admit it, this essay is a bit alarmist and paranoid but I love alarmist paranoia. I love post-Apocalypse fiction, so why wouldn't I absolutely adore post-Apocalypse non-fiction!? This was a suggested read from an ACTUAL librarian. I believe this is from a speech by James Kunstler given in 2005. Kunstler gives us an idea of what the United States of America will look like when (there is no "if" in his scenario) we run out of oil. He talks about the end of corporations and cities, the revitalization of small communities, living locally, and relying on ourselves when the central government is no longer able to exist in its current powerful state. Per usual, I recommend reading the entire piece here it really is a fantastic read in every sense of the word.

Here is a sample :

"Downscaling America doesn't mean we become a lesser people. It means that the scale at which we conduct the work of American daily life will have to be adjusted to fit the requirements of a post-globalist, post-cheap-oil age.


We are going to have to live a lot more locally and a lot more intensively on that local level. Industrial agriculture, as represented by the Archer Daniels Midland / soda pop and cheez doodle model of doing things, will not survive the end of the cheap oil economy. The implication of this is enormous. Successful human ecologies in the near future will have to be supported by intensively farmed agricultural hinterlands. Places that can't do this will fail. Say goodbye to Phoenix and Las Vegas.

I'm not optimistic about most of our big cities. They are going to have to contract severely. They achieved their current scale during the most exuberant years of the cheap oil fiesta, and they will have enormous problems remaining viable afterward.  Any mega-structure, whether it is a skyscraper or a landscraper - buildings that depend on huge amounts of natural gas and electricity - may not be usable a decade or two in the future.

What goes for the scale of places will be equally true for the scale of social organization. All large-scale enterprises, including many types of corporations and governments will function very poorly in the post-cheap oil world. Do not make assumptions based on things like national chain retail continuing to exist as it has."

2 comments:

Alison Wonderland said...

Is it weird that although I am a city girl in all senses of the word, I love the idea of this, that the whole country is just a series of small towns? In reality I'm sure I wouldn't really love it but the idyllic scene in my head just won't die.

Dottie said...

I'm all for it! :D