Monday, June 30, 2008

We are just starting phase two

Stages of Oil Depletion Grief

1. Denial. "Peak oil? Baloney! There's lots of oil left. No worries, mate."

2. Anger. "It's the damn ________'s (oil companies, governments, OPEC, etc.) fault that oil prices are going up. They're gouging us. The bastards!"

3. Bargaining. "But what about new oil discovery technologies? What about biofuels? I can keep my SUV, right? Someone, or some new discovery will save us ...right?"

4. Depression. "Damn... no renewable energy source is as energy dense as oil, or quickly scalable... Holy crap. We are _________ (in for a rough ride, doomed, etc.)"

5. Acceptance. "Ok, even if we are in for a rough ride, what I can do? What can I ask my government representatives to do? How can I make a difference? How can I prepare? How can we support research into potential technological breakthroughs?"
From here (H/T Sam). If you're still at stage 1 – or 0 (ignorance) – then check out the whole page, which is a good introduction to peak oil and why it worries lots of intelligent people.


Megan said...

I watched the film Amazing Grace recently (I know, I'm really behind). It struck me, and another person watching with me, that the arguments used for continuing slavery (which really most did see wasn't a good practice) were very similar to those used today for continuing to be reliant on oil. Short term focus, over biting the bullet, taking the pain now so that things will be a lot batter for all concerned in the long term.

byron smith said...

Yes, I too was struck by how contemporary those arguments were - from memory, they were basically economic prosperity and national security, weren't they? Or perhaps it was even economic prosperity for the sake of national security ("if we don't make enough money, France will win the war").

Anonymous said...

Interesting that he quotes Ray Kurzweil and talks about the 2 competing exponential races... there's a lot to agree with in that analogy. (But SCIAM recently dropped some news to Ray in their podcast I always catch... "Ray, you're going to die!"

Hi Byron,
the Aussie peakniks seem to basically agree with your list and only think Acceptance will kick in when we're firmly in the Greater Depression.

From my review of "Australia Pumping Empty". (I'm not a great writer... the pressure showing this to such elevated friends! This was very quick for an email.)


It's like End of Suburbia, but Australian.

It's replete with Australian authorities such as Queensland's Andrew McNamara discussing Australian politics, it mentions the Queensland Oil Vulnerability Taskforce, and interviews Australian energy experts, farmers, and our own fossil fuel expert Ian Dunlop.

It's full of Australian shots of Australians driving in Australian suburbia.

It's short for us lazy Australians, running at only 45 minutes.

And the best bit? The end clearly states that peak oil is just the canary in the coal mine, and that we are also facing the end of 'rare earth's' (the rare metals), water and even arable land! In other words, it concludes by mentioning population, which is a rare feat in Australian documentaries.

My only criticisms are aesthetic. As a designer I found some of the heading fonts (in text bubbles) looked a bit like a "Powerpoint" presentation, and some of the 'alarm' sound effects were a bit melodramatic. I would have included more graphics illustrating how we know we are at peak oil, and included the famous Chevron statements, the David Strachan world map graphics, and maybe a short piece on the 'paper barrels' of OPEC's imagination, and the insulting fact that they just will not allow independent audits. I personally would have loved to see them include the 4 Corners footage of the head of ABARE making a goose of himself in front of the Federal oil taskforce. Aussies always want to know who to blame, and if anyone cops the blame it has got to be him.

However the overall the message was clear, the experts interviewed were by and large engaging and entertaining, and it would make a superb peak oil and population introduction for the Australian audience. For example, while I've written about the need for local farming, actually seeing the footage of a north Brisbane suburban community farm impacted me more than I would have anticipated — simply because this time it was in a setting I can relate to.

"Australia Pumping Empty" is a fairly clear presentation. They argue that there are alternative ways to live without oil, but that the crisis will only become that much worse the longer we put off making the changes. They then convincingly argue that due to the nature of modern politics there is NO WAY we will prepare in time. The deadline was 20 years ago and we are still in denial. We should write about our concerns, we should prepare to live differently, we should do all we can yet still there will probably be no change until the situation is so bad that Australians will be demanding it. Then, and only then, will Australians be ready to hear the awe-inspiring news: we are at the final oil crisis with no plan... and need one quickly. Only then will the REAL discussion begin.

As long as my few aesthetic preferences are noted, I heartily recommend it.