Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Your Money or Your Life

Thanks to the Energy Bulletin, here is a bit of a piece from Guy McPherson's Nature Bats Last blog. I've edited it a lot because the piece is actually a pretty long speech. It's worth a full read though.

"They say the truth will set you free. The truth does not set you free, it just pisses you off. At least, that's my experience. (clip)

Oil supply -- at the level of the field, county, state, country, or world -- follows a bell-shaped curve; the top of the curve is called "Peak Oil," or "Hubbert's Peak." We passed Hubbert's Peak for world oil supply and began easing down the other side about two years ago.

We'll fall off the oil-supply cliff next year.

Because this country mainlines cheap oil, it is easy to envision the complete collapse of the U.S. economy within a decade. The Great Depression will seem like the good old days when unemployment approaches 100% and inflation is running at 1000% per year.

Obviously, this is a very good thing … for the world's cultures and species, other than our own.

After all, in the name of economic growth we have ripped minerals from the Earth, often bringing down mountains in the process; we have harvested nearly all the old-growth timber on the continent, replacing thousand-year-old giants with neatly ordered plantations of tiny trees.

We have hunted species to the point of extinction; we have driven livestock across every almost acre of the continent, baring hillsides and engendering massive erosion.

We have plowed large landscapes, transforming fertile soil into sterile, lifeless dirt; we have burned ecosystems and, perhaps more importantly, we have extinguished naturally occurring fires.

We have spewed pollution and dumped garbage, thereby dirtying our air, fouling our water, and contributing greatly to the warming of the planet.

We have paved thousands of acres to facilitate our movement and, in the process, have disrupted the movements of thousands of species.

As I wrote in one of my recent books, the problem is not that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions -- it's that the road to Hell is paved.

We have, to the maximum possible extent allowed by our intellect and never-ending desire, consumed the planet and therefore traded in tomorrow for today. And we keep making these choices, every day, choosing dams over salmon, oil over whales, cars over polar bears, death over life.

And when I say we keep making these choices, I do not mean you and me -- we have essentially nothing to do with it -- I mean the politicians and CEOs who run this country. They are killing the planet and, when they notice the screams, they turn up the volume on Fox News.

Meanwhile, most Americans took the blue pill without really thinking about the consequences. (clip)

When I tell people about Peak Oil, the immediate response is something like, "C'mon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is setting records; the economy looks great."


Never mind the asset bubble built by shaky investments. Never mind the manipulation of the money supply by the Federal Reserve Bank since the Fed's monetary policy was removed from public view by Ben Bernanke. (clip)

..what about runaway greenhouse? Runaway greenhouse simply means that positive feedbacks are overwhelming Earth's climate system and we cannot stop the warming of planet Earth. Had we passed the oil peak a decade earlier, we would have been forced to reduce CO2 emissions and therefore prevent the frying of the planet.

But Peak Oil came too late to save us. (clip)

Therefore, I am forced to conclude that: 5,000 generations into the human experience, with the end of humanity in clear view, our shared goal must be …
for the common good.

And I further conclude that: As friends, we reveal our differences, we appreciate our differences, and then we set them aside …
for the common good.

With hope shining like a beacon, we struggle together …
for the common good.

We have in our hands the destiny of our planet... more

Towards the end of the speech the author lays out 10 steps that mark the agenda that lays ahead. And he concludes with this:

Can we get from here to there? We have the best excuse in the world to not act. The momentum of civilization is powerful. Resisting those in power will almost certainly lead to imprisonment, torture, perhaps even death. Those are pretty good excuses to forego action.

So the question becomes, in the words of author and activist Derrick Jensen: "Would you rather have the best excuse in the world, or would you rather have a world?"

It reminds me of the Jack Benny skit, when the robber comes up to him and says "Your money or your life!"

Benny puts his hand to his chin, and pauses, then says,

"I'm thinking."

"There is no torrent like greed." The Buddha


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very scary because it's very true.

12:39 PM  

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