Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Keeping our feet on the ground

"For there is a sense in which the absence of oil only has one real effect. It will give back to us a proper sense of our creaturely limitation, as little embodied animals who can only walk a few kilometres a day. Our spatial limitations have always been what give us a sense of a ‘place’, or neighbourhood, in which we live. Oil has temporarily tricked us, making these constraints hidden in plain sight, deluding us into thinking that we can soar unencumbered like the angels just because someone can fly us to Phuket or because we can drive interstate. The absence of oil will only throw us back onto what was always the case, and what still remains the case for the majority of the world’s population: we are a people who dwell in neighbourhoods, villages and towns, making the best of interdependency with others in the same place. We cannot abstract away our createdness forever."

- Andrew Cameron, "The peak oil society".

Oil lets us fly. Good theology keeps our feet on the ground. More generally, the very spectacular success of our present industrial system has enabled the illusion of autonomy and independence. That this system is facing a series of dire threats from its own runaway achievements is an excellent chance to rediscover the goodness of our interdependence.

Dave recently reminded me of this piece by Andrew Cameron, written back in 2007 (I mentioned it back here). It is almost certainly the best thing I've read about peak oil, and indeed by extension probably the best short piece responding to all the various challenges we face. Read it.