PowerSwitch Main Page
PowerSwitch
The UK's Peak Oil Discussion Forum & Community
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Can't continue, Won't continue

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> Living in the Future
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
PowerSwitchJames



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 929
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 10:51 pm    Post subject: Can't continue, Won't continue Reply with quote

Last week I played a larger than usual part in the consumption of global oil reserves. The company I work for required me to deliver four computers from London to Manchester. This was a 500mile round-trip in a rented Vauxhall Omega Estate and involved the consumption of 70 litres of oil (by the car, not me). In doing so I was helping the company expand so that they in turn could help other companies expand through the recruitment of sales people who will encourage others to consume more, faster, sooner. They, maybe, do not realise their part in the chain of events that is seeing us approaching an oil crisis that will in turn ignite an economic crisis that will see many of these sales people lose their jobs. With their jobs will go their generally fast living, high consuming, far travelling lifestyles. Many are reliant on these sales people to create business that will pay for other types of employment, such as my line of work. These are the kind of thoughts that your well-read ?Peaker? cannot avoid now as they look around their every day life.

However, the trip was very much a revelation in other ways. Generally my life exists within a five-mile radius of my home. My work, shopping and other interests are pretty local, and as I do not own a car, the real levels of transport in this country are not an every day sight for me. The trip to Manchester was a startling reminder that the sheer immensity of the levels of product haulage on Britain?s roads is absolutely shocking. When you see just how dependent the every day activity of this country is on oil, embodied in the form of transport as much as anything else, it is frightening. This is an incredibly fragile system but one that has become absolutely vital for the provision of our daily food requirements.

Transport is dependent on oil and unless there is a miracle in increasing levels of clean electricity creation and storage, and then integrating that into transport, we will be stuck with it until it goes. There is no doubt this transport system of moving food hundreds of miles around by vehicles that add to climate change will go after a period of decline of extreme sensitive to oil shocks. Can this country, and the world for that matter, stop for a moment and think about this? We are like a consumer who is taking on suffocating levels of debt to live the life of royalty but not worrying about it because they are sure they?ll win the lottery one day and that 1 in 14million event will save them. When they don?t win they realise they have wasted all their resources on transitory luxuries rather than investing in a way of living that is truly sustainable. With UK personal debt at around the ?1trillion mark, the attitude of the every day UK citizen seems to characterise this on the individual scale.

If we can see that reliance on a fragile distribution network can?t continue (and in this case there is nothing but slim hope to suggest it can) and that continuing to pursue that vision may harm the development of a more beneficial long term system, then it is safe to say it shouldn?t continue, at the very least not to the extent it is now. Nor should the assumption that we can continue this way be allowed to persist. Do people really think that in two hundred years there will be trucks roaring across the country delivering cheese and onion sandwiches? Just because oil has enabled transport to make what was once global, local, it does not mean it should be encouraged.

Supermarkets, local councils, individual consumers, farmers - they all have a part to play in developing the growth, production, storage and distribution of local food, locally, based on a sustainable model. In addition there needs to be increased education about what we eat, where it comes from and why it is important to buy local (and organic). Just because we can buy Asparagus from Peru does not mean we should. It strikes as being nothing short of unthinking gluttony that we should be using a resource as valuable as oil on that. Is that really the best way to make use of an energy source that is 150 million years in the making?

If we are going to create a survival parachute that will mitigate the worst of global oil decline, acts of such unfettered selfishness will need to be eliminated. Although global oil production will decline, thoughtless greed - a greed unaware even of it?s own nature - will not.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
RevdTess



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2951
Location: Newquay

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautifully written, and I agree wholeheartedly with all of it of course.

So much of corporate society is directed towards preventing us from discovering the sort of information that might lead us to reduced energy use. Knowing where and how products were produced is considered a restraint of trade - God forbid we should know how many miles our food travelled to our plate! We're only supposed to choose what to consume based on quality or price (by which we mean brand or price), and obviously consuming nothing is a crime against one's country.

Still, if you don't consume the nut cutlets from Canada, they'll just drop the price (less demand, more supply) until someone else buys it, and the only result is that you miss out on the bounty and someone else uses your share.

I'd like to think that we could at least educate ourselves about sustainable living and perhaps carry some of that wisdom forward into the post-fossil-fuel era, but I fear it wont be this generation or the next that listens. Like locusts we will consume everything until it's gone, and then turn on each other in violence.

"Blind Faith It'll be okay
Everybody tells you so
Don't look it'll go away
Everybody tells you so"
-- Blind Faith, The Levellers

I feel so helpless about the situation I have become almost hysterically glad that the end is coming. I know it'll be terrible beyond imagining, but I find it hard to care. I just want to see humanity humbled and sanity return. If that could happen without a descent into anarchy and conflict I'd be delighted, but I see no capability for that in this society. Sad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
isenhand



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1296
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<In doing so I was helping the company expand so that they in turn could help other companies expand through the recruitment of sales people who will encourage others to consume more, faster, sooner.>>

<<We are like a consumer who is taking on suffocating levels of debt to live the life of royalty>>

This is really going beyond peak oil and gets to the heart of the problem! The socioeconomic system that we have is based on infinite growth, which of cause is a physical impossibility. Sooner or later it will fail. It?s not a case of if, just when. But in the mean time, we try to maintain it and our way of life by borrowing from the future but people are too short sighted to see where that leads.

But then what is the alternative? Would it be a good idea to aim for a sustainable system that maintains as high as possible standard of living for as long as possible? On that balances supply with demand and technology with ecology? One that is not driven by profit?

Very Happy
_________________
The only future we have is the one we make!

Technocracy:
http://en.technocracynet.eu

http://www.lulu.com/technocracy

http://www.technocracy.tk/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
fishertrop



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 859
Location: Sheffield

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what a really well written post James, A+

I used to have a job where I drove all over the country, at the time I was the same as teh rest of the Uk - "massive consumption is good, more is better".

I started to realise EXACTLY the things you write about. In my BMW gettiing 18mpg up and down the motorway initally moaning that the trucks made things go slow ..... but then starting to realise WHY things were the way they were.

I knew nothing of PO at the time, but over some years I realised virtually everything you are saying - about the society, the systems, the fundamentals, the way people use debt to live the good life today without any care about the price to pay tomorrow.

Considering I was the same as the rest of the Uk are now, I have no idea how I managed to see through the malise that we live in but over several years I totaly changed my views of the world and changed my life accordingly.

I found out about PO a long way into this process, but it really joined all the remaining dots up for me about where we are heading.

I strongly belive that the majority will not "wake up" without a crisis - it would almost be worth the gov precipitating some crisis just to shock people out of their sleep-walking.......

I totaly agree that everyone has a part to play - we might be close-to-powerless but we should try and change our lives anyway.

And I totaly agree that we need a new social/economic system for the future.


Last edited by fishertrop on Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:32 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DamianB
Site Admin


Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 553
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent piece James - have you considered adapting it for a PR to publicise PS?
_________________
"If the complexity of our economies is impossible to sustain [with likely future oil supply], our best hope is to start to dismantle them before they collapse." George Monbiot
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
GD



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1099
Location: Devon

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good stuff James. I have to wonder if you went up the M6? The thing that gets me every time I go on that road is that it's like a convoy - a freight train of lorries. I never noticed when I was still average Joe, since my dose of red pill it scares me, almost, to see how entrenched this unsustainable practice is...

(I'm not so familiar with the east side of the country, but I imagine that between London and Leeds is just as bad, if not worse.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
PowerSwitchJames



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 929
Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it was the M6 - incredible amounts of traffic.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
PowerSwitchJames



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 929
Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DamianB wrote:
An excellent piece James - have you considered adapting it for a PR to publicise PS?


Good idea. I'll get on to that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> Living in the Future All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group