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View Diary: Whiny Frog or Boiling Frog - Why don't you care about energy? (406 comments)

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  •  You just gave the reason why nobody listens (none)
    You've been talking about this for 20 yrs -- and the oil's not gone yet.

    That's the problem.

    I've been hearing about it too, for years, and years, and years.

    Didn't this happen before, with whaling? Whale oil was used for everything, whalebone was used, etc. Fewer and fewer whales, prices going up... and then they found substitutes that were as good, if not better (and cheaper) than whale oil/bone.

    Did it happen all at once? No. But it DID happen. Oil won't run out all at once either.

    Cars can run on alternate fuels, electric power can be generated by nuclear plants, windmills, solar cells, a number of ways that don't use oil or gas. Homes can have solar cells for some electricity, and can use electricity for heating instead of oil/gas.

    And those of you who quote the grasshopper/ant fable -- well, not everybody is 20, or even 30. Lots of us have worked and scrimped all our lives, and would like to enjoy ourselves (and yes, indulge ourselves) at least a little before we die.

    •  suggested reading (4.00)
      The Long Emergency, by James Howard Kunstler. Subtitle: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century.

      He pretty well demolishes the argument that something will magically appear to take the place of oil, which was, he said, a once and only once event.

      And it's not just that oil will run out, but that our entire social, economic, political structures are predicated on cheap fossil fuel.

      Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war. -- Donald Rumsfeld

      by Mnemosyne on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 06:57:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think something will 'magically' appear (none)
        but to assume that nothing will appear at all, that nothing will change, is counter to everything in human history.

        People adapt. That's what they're best at, it's the reason we're still here as a species.

        Will it change society? Definitely, every major shift does. Will some countries manage better than others? Again, of course, that's the way it always is.

        But to assume that everything will just collapse tomorrow (or next year, or in 20 yrs) isn't realistic.

        People should change their behavior, I agree. But many won't, especially older people who (again) have been scrimping their entire lives and would like to reap the benefits of that before they die.

        Change is an incremental thing. The children of today will be way more open to lifestyle changes than their parents, and their children will be even more so. Children today take computers, email, online learning, etc. for granted, so a switch to a telecommuting job, or a virtual environment for their workplace, won't be a stretch for them -- and more importantly, it won't be a stretch for their bosses.

    •  Whale oil (none)
      It's happened a lot of times over human history.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  I think there will be a lot of growing pains in adopting new energy technologies... but it will happen.  Petrochemical companies will reinvent themselves as energy companies.  Don't think that a lot haven't already considered this and have plans within plans for when that day arrives in order to still stay competitive in the market.  People are thinking more about sustainability, including the military (I was just at an installation strategic 30-yr planning workshop where goal setting was focused on making the installation sustinable... triple bottom line, community, environment and economy).  I see a lot of people in the government setting who understand this concept, and are prepared to put pressure on the commercial sector to achieve many of these changes.  People are thinking about these things, have been for some time.  And when necessity begins to demand it, the transition to a new system will begin.

      And yes, IAAESAE.... I am an environmental scientist and engineer.  But I'm a slimy contractor working for the government, so my views probably don't matter.    

      •  I'm not an environmental scientist (none)
        but I feel the same way.

        If anybody knows, even if they won't admit it, that oil is a finite resource, it's the oil companies. I have no doubt that they are watching the research and science, and may already have some things in the pipeline. But they're not ready yet (or we're not ready yet).

        Will they grab all the profits they can? Of course.   I think the spike in gas after Katrina (and the just as fast drop in prices) were a way to test the waters, and it didn't work.

        We didn't get into this state overnight, we're not going to get out of it overnight.

        Look at cars today -- they last longer, pollute less, run cleaner, and get better mileage than they did 30 yrs ago. They haven't improved in a bit, but they will, now that hybrids are selling faster than they can make them.

        I can see biodiesel being part of the solution, because it's easy, uses the same infrastructure, doesn't require huge changes in the vehicle or the driving skill.

        Things have changed a lot in the last 20 yrs, even more in the last 30 yrs. They'll change more still in the next 20-30 yrs.

        •  Exactly (none)
          So many people are talking/asking about biodiesel now who didn't even know what the hell it was a year ago.  Do I see biodiesel as an endstate?  No... but I can definitely see it being a tool in that transition to another more sustainable state.  Change will happen.  I believe we should be forward-thinking about long-term environmental sustainability, but being overly alarmist can be counterproductive.  We as a society are increasingly acknowledging that we will be having a problem on our hands, and this social knowledge that things must change will aid in acceptance of whatever new technologies replace our current petrochemical dependence.  And of course the companies will want to be right on top when this change occurs.  They will be fighting to be the most innovative, most sustainable, etc.  They know oil is ending... and they are not hiding under their beds about it... they are developing strategies for becoming the market leaders of the Next Big Energy Thing.

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