The Three “L”s of Peak Oil

July 28, 2008 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

Living With Less

The energy crisis is hastening its speed in whipping America into shape. Regardless of who or what is to blame for our present energy and economic woes, the media is now being forced to report on the repercussions of bad government decisions and rampant consumerism. And from the looks of things, Americans had better quickly embrace the three “L”s of peak oil: Learning To Live With Less.

This doesn’t necessary mean less of ‘things’. It could mean less quality of produce as we learn about waste and food storage from our gardening experiences. It can mean less car transportation. Less, less, less.

At the same time, however, it means more. More riding your bike, walking, and carpooling. More meeting your neighbors. More time in the garden and not in front of the TV or computer. But to get back to my point, let’s connect a few recent dots:

Vulnerable populations are being squeezed out of existence. My neighbor receives food from “Loaves & Fishes” and she reports over 300 elderly in the area rely on them – but their volunteers have had to stop due to fuel prices.

Homeowners experiencing foreclosure are gutting their own houses to sell everything from copper pipes to whatever they can salvage.

Fuel theft is now a booming business. NOTE* If you are buying gasoline from the Black Market, you are only encouraging thieves to steal more gas from other drivers and you are hurting yourself and others.

Oh, and watch out for foofie going missing as well.

As we predicted in our groundbreaking report: “Descending Peak Oil: Navigating The Transition From Oil and Natural Gas”, America is witnessing behaviors that define peak oil’s arrival. In terms of the social fabric and economic victims, here is what we wrote would happen:

Vulnerable and marginalized populations will grow and will be the first and hardest hit by peak oil. The impacts of increasing oil and natural gas costs are felt first and deepest among vulnerable and marginalized populations. Rising oil and natural gas prices increase the cost of transportation, housing, food, and other goods and services. The sharp rise in gasoline prices in 2005 provided direct evidence of the effects of increasing fuel costs as people shifted their budgets from food to fuel.

As a consequence of this, demands on food banks increased dramatically. In addition, the disabled, elderly, and people with the least economic resources are more likely to depend on public transportation. Increasing fuel costs and decreased social program funding may price even public transportation out of reach, or decrease special public transportation options. This can dramatically impact mobility and may lead to loss of jobs for some and further isolation for others.

Vulnerable and marginalized populations are already among the most at-risk members of society. They are least likely to have information or understanding about peak oil or to see it as a pressing issue. This population has the fewest resources to meet increased costs stemming from peak oil. Their housing and vehicles are often the least efficient, and they have little control over housing improvements or access to programs that would help.

In addition, these populations are the least likely to have the resources needed to protect their rights. Many are already vulnerable to being displaced by growth and development. Lack of integration or isolation of people and populations within Portland places them on the outside of both communication and information networks, as well as having fewer resources to adapt to changing circumstances. These are groups who are also frequently not represented in policy and planning discussions.”

So obviously we have a lot of work to do. I have a feeling we will be hearing stories out of Texas soon as gas thieves get blown away by gun owners with RVs. That means, unless we want to disintegrate into social chaos, Americans are going to have to embrace the three “L”s: Learning To Live With Less.

Now is the time to find the hero within each of ourselves and get to work to fix this place, but in the meantime – we must learn how to be more humble. It sucks “losing” things like loved friends and family – and lifestyles as people have known them have been a comfortable “friend”. Our ability to live as wastefully as we have in America, however, is changing whether we want it to or not.

The best prescription I can think of at the moment is to busy yourself over the next few weeks reading three books guaranteed to arm you with the knowledge you need from this point forward:

Food Not Lawns

Alcohol Can Be A Gas

So Easy To Preserve

Entry filed under: Activism, David Blume, Economic Collapse, Energy Crash, Personal Preparation, Solutions, Sustainability, Trends, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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