Collapse Defined

So far in my young blog I’ve made a few assertions: collapse is imminent, collapse is cyclical, collapse is repetitive, and collapse can be fun. All I have left to do is explain what I mean by “collapse”.

A basic understanding of Hubbert’s Theory of Peak Oil is essential. Please take the time to acquaint yourself with this concept before reading further posts. It is also essential to understand that Peak Oil is not the prime cause of collapse but rather it exacerbates every other cause. In the military, this effect is called a “force multiplier”. Peak Oil will so severely handicap us that attempts to deal with climate change, hunger, disease, reduced agricultural yields, etc. will be reduced to virtual ineffectiveness. Without plentiful cheap oil, modern society will stop moving. Our society is like a shark, it has to keep moving (and growing) to stay alive. Sure, $5 a gallon gas is going to suck but it will seem cheap after the price hits $8.

As a species, we adapt pretty quickly. This will always be one of our better qualities. Gas is now about twice as expensive as it was ten years ago but it is still relatively cheap after you adjust for inflation. In coming years, Peak Oil will double that price quicker and more often until, eventually, availability suffers too. At what point do we stop driving entirely and switch to bikes and horses? I don’t know but I can imagine a not-too-distant day when you will be issued a ration card that limits your gas purchase to a certain number of gallons that you can buy only on certain days. I think gas will cost between $10 and $20 a gallon by that point.

Keep in mind that everything we eat, drink, wear, or use in our modern life of convenience either contains a byproduct of petroleum or depends on petroleum for its production, transportation, and consumption. Everything.

Here are some things I will not be discussing about collapse:
– A political solution. There is none. Washington is broke and dysfunctional and will, like the rest of us, be reduced to the role of an impotent onlooker.
– A specific timeline. I cannot predict a date for the collapse because the collapse has already begun. All we can debate now is the speed at which the collapse occurs and whether certain factors will accelerate it.
– A means of avoiding it. Avoidance is an unhealthy psychological mechanism. I know because I’ve battled it my entire life. When faced with something unpleasant, the best course of action is always to face it and get it over with.

We must all accept that collapse is here, it is inevitable, and it must be dealt with. Smile! Be happy. The things you will lose in the collapse are the things you never needed anyways. Likewise, the things you gain are the things you never knew were in you. We might be surprised at how meaningful, pleasant, and worth living our lives will become after all the static and stress of oil-fueled modern society is stripped away.


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