The Scribe's Pen

RSS

Posts tagged with "peak oil"

The ultimate crisis

At present there exists such a radical disconnect between the reality of climate change and resource scarcity, and the responsiveness of human social systems to adapt to these crises. We are in the midst of the sixth mass-extinction, yet most of us live our lives and envision a future that is fundamentally incongruent with the tangible realities of our present climatic instability, the certain future of a warmer and less hospitable Earth, and the inevitable collapse of social systems that are dependent on finite and overused resources.

The enormity of this crisis requires an immediate and fundamental shift in our way of life. This means that every social system must become responsive to our survival needs. Our relationships with other humans and the non-human majority of the planet (plants, animals, fungi, etc.) must be reconfigured along lines that maximizes the survival potential of our species and the many others upon which we are co-dependent. Our food systems must be localized and sustainable beyond fossil-fuel based inputs and GMOs. Our health care systems should be horizontally distributed, sustainable, and holistic. Our housing has to be reconfigured in ways that situates human habitats proximate to the locus of economic activity—food sources, water sources, work, school, transportation, and so on. We need to examine the inherent perils of unsustainable, conspicuous consumption and embrace the value and beauty inherent in durability, as opposed to the trendy; the beauty of sufficiency in contrast to excess; and the necessity of slow and small, in contrast to fast and sprawling. We need to think about how education can serve the needs to disseminating practical skills, beyond simply preparing people to pursue employment in the fantasy-based infinite-growth economy. Ultimately we must prepare young people to understand, prepare for, and survive on the future Earth that they will have to live on. Lastly, we need to reconfigure our cultural practices and institutions in ways that makes human welfare a central feature, and negates the dehumanizing values of exploitation, oppression, intolerance, and violence.

We have to redefine our notions of consciousness, growth, opportunity, markets, and profit. We have to reclaim or reconstruct cultural systems that enable for us to live harmoniously with the Earth and its other denizens, human and non-human. We have to decouple ourselves from the opiate of denial and embrace our capacity as a society, and as a species to transform reality so as to ensure the survival of our species. This is our greatest calling.

I wonder if there are any studies that look at the impact of environmental disaster and rising energy costs on highly unequal cities in North America. I’m trying to understand what happens in post-industrial communities, with increasingly rigid social strata, and failing institutions.

Apr 3

I fear that there are many people who, due to a variety of factors, are ill-equipped to forthrightly participate in a discussion about the implications of climate change and peak energy on the long-term viability of human societies as presently constituted.