We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spread Reckoning: U.S. Suburbs Face Twin Perils of Climate Change and Peak Oil [Excerpt]

Click here to access article by Maggie Koerth-Baker from Scientific American. 

This excellent article is an excerpt from a book by this name and author. It explores the impacts that the "twin perils of climate change and peak oil" can be expected to have on US citizens in the decades ahead. There is really nothing new here except that it is being published in a very respectable mainstream science publication that should get better circulation in other mainstream media outlets than is usually the case. However, it was inevitable that the ruling One Percent would have to "fess up" to these twin perils eventually; and now with fuel prices climbing and extreme weather happening, it seems that denial is no longer possible. 

The positives of this excerpt is that it is written in a very understandable style by using practical, concrete illustrations that anyone could understand. It tries not to be alarmist, but still gets the facts across. 
There are lots of reasons to care about energy, and lots of reasons to want to change the way we make and use energy in this country. For me, though, it boils down to a concern about climate change and about energy diversity. Those are the big reasons I think we need to seriously alter the way we make and use energy. Why do I think that? In a nutshell: that's what the majority of scientific studies tell me. When many different, unconnected scientists come to the same conclusions, after decades' worth of research, I listen. You should, too.
But while trying not to be alarmist, I think the author errors a bit on the side of optimism. By claiming that peak oil is 30 years off is, I think, a bit disingenuous and doesn't even correspond well with the information provided. It's clear to me that peak oil is 30 years off IF the economy can afford very expensive oil while handling all the economic devastation caused by extreme weather events--to say nothing about the money that will be needed to invest in new sustainable fuel alternatives and infrastructures, and to say nothing about the expense of funding never ending wars to gain control of sources of fossil fuels.

What is glaringly ignored is the fact that capitalism requires growth (the 800 pound gorilla in the room) and ignoring this fact will prevent any real solutions as it has since the 1970s when we first had good data about this dilemma. By continuing to ignore this root cause, we will be driven to extinction. We of the 99 Percent have a choice: continue to tolerate a system that feeds the addictions of the One Percent to power and profit or choose life by changing the system!